Making friendships is difficult at any age, but even more so when you’re an adult. If you are struggling to make meaningful connections with friends, don’t worry! Most experience this same difficulty, even before the pandemic. Adulthood introduces many difficulties and complications. Maybe you moved across the country for a job or grad school, now living in a city where you don’t know anyone. Maybe you lost touch with high school or college friends. Maybe adult responsibilities (job, school, cleaning, exercising, cooking meals—the day-to-day needs) fill up your day and you struggle to find time for friendships. We’ve put together some fun ways to make adult friends and expand your social circle. Making friendships is a numbers game. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to find friends who match some of your interests and values. Instead of saying “I should,” repeat to yourself “I can” and try a few of these methods to make new and lasting friendships!
7 Ways to Make Friendships as an Adult
Join a new activity group.
Look for local groups or clubs or form your own! Join a cooking class to meet others who enjoy your hobby. Participate in a bi-weekly book club. Attend a weekly fitness class and get there early to join in some pre-workout conversations. When you’ve identified one or two members who could be friend material, invite them out for coffee or lunch afterward and exchange numbers to meet up in the future. If you have a dog, visit the local dog park once a week and strike up a conversation with fellow dog lovers. You can also arrange doggy playdates, where the humans can bond too! Try a few activities and see where you can find friends. Not every group will yield friendships, but don’t give up! Keep trying new things until you find friends you click with.
Try an app to make friends.
Use apps like Bumble BFF, Meetup, Nextdoor, Peanut (an app for moms to make friends), Meet My Dog, or even TikTok. Start conversations online and then plan a meet-up in person. The best part about an app? You can strike up lots of conversations online, without the awkward in-person interaction, and see who you connect with the best. Even a broad social app like TikTok can be a platform for great friendships—but you have to take the lead first! Try posting a dance challenge, asking anyone on the app to dance battle you via video. See who responds and start a conversation in the app to begin a new friendship.
Look for connections you already have.
Sometimes friends are right in front of you! Do you find you always have great conversations with your hairstylist, manicurist, or fitness trainer? Maybe they’re just being nice…or maybe they really like you. Invite them for a friend date like coffee or cocktails at the end of your session. You’ll never know unless you initiate an invitation. And keep in mind: great friends can be of any age.
Volunteer and meet new people.
Volunteering is amazing by itself, because you are giving back. It’s also a great way to meet new people and make friends along the way! Try volunteering at a charity, a library, a nonprofit serving free meals, a school, a nursing home or a hospice care location. You’ll meet other adult volunteers in your work, where you can strike up conversations. You’ll also meet residents, at a nursing home for example, who may likewise be looking for friends.
Host a bring-a-friend party.
Throw a small house party where you ask each guest to bring another friend. In adulthood, it’s common for friends to have different social circles. Some of your friends will have made other friends from work, activities, or their neighborhood. By encouraging your friends to bring one of theirs as a plus one, you will expand your social circle and meet some great people!
Attend interactive events.
Find local events where you can meet and interact with new people. Visit a brewery for trivia night. Attend a charcuterie-making class at a local shop. Join a community pilates class outside. Sign up for a cocktail-making class at a restaurant. These one-off activities offer, at the very least, interesting conversations, and ideally new friends!
Boost your own self-esteem and confidence.
Last, and perhaps most importantly, it’s crucial to boost your own confidence to make friends. Do things that make yourself happier and healthier, whether it’s exercise, eating healthy, getting more sleep, or enjoying a hot bath every week. Confidence shows up in the way you walk, talk, and interact with others. When you are more confident, you will attract people to you. Make time for yourself first, and then grow your social circle.