Growing up as kids, most of us had school, sports, and extracurricular activities to help fill our days, making it easier to socialize and make new friends. However, as we get older, some may find it a bit more difficult, as life changes can impact our ability and opportunities to meet new people. College and careers often take us far from where we were raised, and old friends can also drift apart as everyone settles into marriages and start having children.
Simply put, adults have busy schedules, which sometimes can get in the way of having a social life. This can pose a challenge when it comes to maintaining existing friendships or even knowing how to go about building new ones, not to mention it can be especially hard if you are an introvert. But clearly, human beings are social creatures that need to be part of a network of interpersonal relationships in order to thrive, so what are some effective ways of making friends as an adult?
To start, it is important to understand that forging new friendships has in fact little to do with how old you are. Instead, it has more to do with one’s life situation and how motivated you are to change it. Social skills are like muscles which need to be trained regularly or they will atrophy, and only you can create the opportunities to get where you want to be, which could mean finding people who share or have similar interests as you or going to places where others are also actively looking to make new friends.
In many cases, this could be as straightforward as putting yourself in a situation where that can happen. Taking a class or joining a club is a great way to connect with like-minded people who enjoy the same things you do, and engaging in an activity based on a shared interest can go a long way in alleviating any anxiety or awkwardness.
There are also no rules against reconnecting with old friends. In fact, rekindling an existing friendship that has fallen by the wayside can be just as rewarding as building a new one, and probably less stressful as well. After all, the foundations are already in place, and in today’s digital age, reaching out is as simple as a text message or a click of a social media button.
In the end, staying positive and being confident are the most important things to remember when it comes to building and maintaining friendships. As adults, we may have to work a little harder at it which can feel daunting at times, but rest assured you are not alone. While everyone’s situation is different, as a general rule, the way we look at the world can affect our whole life. Like tends to attract like, which means if you go into a social scenario with fear and negativity, you’re probably not going to get very far. But if, on the other hand, you focus on creating a happy and welcoming attitude around you, then you’re far more likely to find others with whom you can make a meaningful connection.
So, try taking the initiative by introducing yourself to new people, or reach out to friends you haven’t heard from in years. And most importantly, don’t forget to follow up. Maintaining friendships requires effort, and valuing those you care about will also make you into a person worth valuing. Chances are, the people you’re trying to connect with are also looking to make a new friend too, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and explore new environments and opportunities.