The key to making friends as an adult is finding people you can be around on a regular basis. That really was what made it so easy in school, even more than being an extrovert vs. an introvert. Being around people will inevitably lead most people to make new friends. As an adult out of school, though, where can we find people to be around regularly?
Put yourself out there. Literally.
One of the best ways to meet new people and potential friends is to literally meet them…in person. Forming a connection is much easier when it’s in person, especially in places where you’re likely to run into the same people often.
Events (post COVID)
Events are a great way to meet like-minded people if you’re ready to strike up conversations with strangers. Whether you go to a book signing, a convention, a concert, or anything that draws a crowd really, events like this are a bit harder with COVID-19, of course, but they’re still possible… If socially distanced.
Making friends at an event is kind of hard for introverts, I’ll admit, but I know plenty of stories where someone just hit it off with a group they met at some sort of event, and they became good friends!
Volunteering is a double whammy. Not only can you use this opportunity to make new friends in your community, but you can also do something good to help people too. I used to volunteer at a hospital when I was younger, and I made friends with many other younger volunteers.
The bonus of meeting people through volunteering is that you know they live in your area, which makes it easier to meet up outside of volunteering.
Making real friends at work isn’t always an option. Sometimes you don’t work with anyone close enough to your age to consider a true friend, or maybe you feel uncomfortable getting that close to your coworkers. Still, the people you work with are going to be the ones you spend the most time with, whether you like it or not.
A job also gets a lot easier when you genuinely like and can be friends with your coworkers. Anyone who has had a job for more than two days can tell you that coworkers can make or break a job. It’s nice to be able to vent about frustrating things that happen to someone who knows exactly what you’re talking about too.
Take a class
This one is just taking a page out of school’s book. Sign up for a class at your local community center or something similar. You can learn something new and bond with other people also interested in learning the same thing.
During or after the class, you can invite someone over to talk about what you learned or practice your skills. It can be a lot of fun to talk about what’s happening in class. Small classes can also become fairly tight-knit in the right circumstances, so maybe you’ll be able to have a whole big group of new friends.
Use the internet!
I always advise caution online, don’t give out too much information, and be careful about trusting anyone too quickly, but you can make some amazing friends with the power of the internet. Some of my best friends were people I met online first (and then later in person, I promise no one tried to stab or kidnap me).
Book clubs are a great way to meet people and analyze complex topics! If you’re lucky, there might be some in your local area (maybe try looking at the library for signs about them?), but if you strike out there, you can always turn to the internet.
There are several websites related to books and book clubs, so you shouldn’t have any trouble at all finding a group who likes to read the same kinds of books you do. (Did you know we even have our own book club too?)
If you have any sort of hobby or special interest, poke around for online communities. Pretty much any hobby, skill, or game will have large groups online you can join. These groups can be great because you’ll know that ahead of time, they are full of people with similar interests.
These groups can come in the form of Facebook groups, discord groups, gaming groups (like in-game guilds, for example), and so many more. They usually aren’t that hard to find with the help of a keyword or two and Google.
Whether you like making crafts, playing games, catching fish, running marathons, or writing short stories, there is an online group for you. Once you find a new group, you’ll be able to talk about your shared interest and exchange tips and tricks too.
If you’re interested in a more traditional sort of thing, you can also try the smartphone app, Slowly. Slowly you can choose specific interests and likes, and you’ll be linked with other people all over the world to talk to them about it.
The interesting thing with Slowly is that each reply you send will take about one day to arrive and the same thing with responses from others too. It’s kind of like simulating a real pen pal experience by stretching out the time between responses.
How did you meet your best friend?