Making friends doesn’t come as naturally once you reach adulthood. A significant part of how you make friends when you are younger is through the education system but once you hit 18 or 21, finding new ways to make friends can become difficult.
You’re not alone. 45% of adults are reported to find it difficult to make new friends. Balancing work and play becomes more of a challenge, with many fitting into routines that won’t even match the routines of our co-workers. It is important to understand the shift between friendship group dynamics as a teenager and as an adult. Not everyone is available for regular or last minute meet ups like they used to be. They need to plan when to book days off from work for example, so making plans with existing friends might need more planning than you might be used to.
There’s an app for this exact problem! No no, not a dating app. Well…while Bumble can be used for dating, there is a side of Bumble that is curated to help you make friends no matter where you might be. Bumble BFF is a simple way of creating meaningful friendships with the swipe of a screen. Bumble is also an excellent tool for those who struggle with leaving the house. And it’s not the only one. Apps like Peanut connect women who are going through similar situations, whether that be pregnancy, motherhood, all the way to menopause. Jodel focuses on local communities, sharing events within your area to connect to those around you.
Events within the local community set up by local groups are more common than you might think, whether through apps or a flyer pinned to the board in a cafe. Local hiking groups have taken to social media to organise hiking groups every few months, posting on social media when they are planning their next hike. There might be a yoga class at the gym down the road or an art class at a local art gallery.
Volunteering for a charity on your day off can help you meet new people. Taking a shift in a charity shop or helping with the clean-up of your local area can help you form connections with others. You could fill the day with small talk, letting it grow into a long lasting friendship.
Social media can help introverted adults expand their friend group since there’s a phone screen and usually miles between you and the other person. But sometimes this wall can create issues. It can become harder to physically meet up with friends that are hundreds of miles away. Social media is a wonderful tool for meeting new people with similar interests to you. You can like or comment on someone’s post you enjoy, maybe they’ve posted about the latest film that you have also seen. If they engage with your comment next, maybe a line of communication could be opened? But don’t force it. They might not be looking for a new friend.
There’s an online book club for every genre out there, niche or popular. Many are online now as well, using Discord and Geneva servers to connect readers across the globe. There are also Discord servers for people who enjoy the same games, who are all working on a novel, for specific fans of a show or movie. You name it. Usually these groups are advertised on other social media such as Twitter and it might take a while to find the right group for you.
Quality not quantity. Growing up in school based environments, it was common for others to judge you based on how many friends you had rather than the friendships themselves. Having a select few friends that feel like family is all you truly need. A few close connections easily outweigh hundreds of friends that are difficult to talk to. Maybe one of your current friends has a group of friends outside your circle you could ask to be introduced to. A lot of friend groups are part of other groups than the one you interact with. You might not be friends with your friend’s friend but they might know someone you’d get along with. You just need to be brave and ask them.
Sometimes the issue isn’t meeting new people but maintaining contact with them after the initial meeting. Plants need regular watering to flourish; people need regular contact for relationships to grow. Even if you are busy during the week with work, dropping a message during the evening or sending them a meme you think they’d find funny can help keep the connection going. You could also set up specific days where you meet up if you know your schedules might clash.
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