Remember how back in the day it was so easy to make friends? Why is making friends as an adult so hard? I distinctly remember the first time I “tried” to make a friend back when I was in 3rd grade. There was a girl in my class who was super cool. She wore Limited Too clothes and accessorized and read the Babysitter’s Club. In my circa 1993 mind, she was the bees knees. (For the record, we still keep up with each other on Facebook and she’s still super cool). So one day I walked in to the classroom, went over to her, and just started talking like I had known her forever. That was it. We were friends. Looking back now, there’s no way I could do that. Just go up to some random person and strike up a conversation? They’ll think I’m crazy. So what happened?
I think difficulty in making friends as an adult really comes down to difficulty meeting new people in general. We get so stuck in our own worlds and we’re all sorts of busy, so we don’t take the time to meet the people around us and make an effort to get to know them. Plus, we’re not going to be friends with everyone we meet. That’s OK!
We also seem to create rules for ourselves… that no one else knows about or necessarily follows. “It’s too soon to text her.” Really? Why? “I should keep that to myself. She might think I’m weird.” Well, if she does, do you really want to be friends with her?
School made for built in friends when we were kids because we had something in common – a class we took, a club we were a part of, or a sport we played. For those of us who went to college, it was a bit more difficult at that point because the class sizes were larger and there were all sorts of majors in gen ed classes, but that’s where clubs, sports, and Greek life came into play.
I’ve found myself lately wanting to grow new friendships with people. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I have a son and most of my friends don’t have children yet, so it’s nice to have people around who can commiserate. But it’s also just nice to meet new people. So I’ve been trying a few things to make friends as an adult. I know it won’t be an overnight process, but I’m noticing some positive results so I thought I’d share what I’m doing in case you find yourself feeling the same way.
- I’m venturing out. Just getting out of the house and doing something helps me feel like I can meet new people.
- I’m reconnecting with old friends. I’ve reached out to a few people who I was closer to earlier in my life and still keep up with on Facebook. It doesn’t take much effort to plan something to get together and catch up.
- I’m taking Graham to kids activities. Story time has been a great way for Graham and me to meet other moms and their kids. This is perfect because it’s got the common interest built in. Once we became regulars at the library and saw the same faces week after week, I gradually started up conversations and I’m happy to say I’ve got a new friend out of it! Woohoo!
- I’m volunteering. Our church has a regular volunteer day twice a year and that’s helpful, but I can also look for other opportunities to meet people who also want to help in the community.
The bottom line is that we’re never going to make new friends if we don’t put ourselves out there and, as introverted as I can often be, even I have made new friends by giving that a shot. I hope you’ll be successful with it too!
If you’re in Orlando and looking for a fun way to spend time with some new friends, try the Orlando Park Crawl! In OKC? No problem! The OKC Selfie Scavenger Hunt is a great group activity!
27 thoughts on “Making Friends as an Adult: Why is it so difficult?”
Sometimes it’s really about us going out and taking a step to meet new people. I know I am terrible at this. But I know these days with technology we have also grown to meet online friends which are great and I have loved making new friends all over but we still need friends that are within our community for that close interaction.
Good on you for being the one to take the step and reach out to others.
That’s so true, Jo-Anne! It’s easy to not have to put ourselves out there with the Internet.
I needed this. I am terrible at making new friends as an adult. I’m not an introvert, bit more of a homebody. My finace is my best friend and I don’t often do much without him, so I have struggled to make friends. But I miss having girl friends. I’m going to start taking my little one to reading time this summer.
That’s the way I’ve made a great friend and I’m sure your little one will have a great time in the process. Win-win!
This is such a true post! When I moved to a new city, finding new friends wasn’t as easy as it used to be as a kid (or even in college). You really have to work hard to meet new people, but in the end it’s totally worth it!
Absolutely! The payoff is always great!
I just moved to a new town and this is my struggling! It feels so weird being that lady that’s looking for friends! Lol why can’t I be 5 again?
I felt the same way when we moved to Cincinnati for two years! It was so tough meeting people outside of work!
Great post! I need to do more to make new friends – I barely know anyone in this area and all my friends are back in my hometown, minus children. I have started taking my son to playgroups but still finding it that little bit difficult to get a friendship outside of playgroup. I need to follow you and make a bit extra effort! 🙂
Baby steps 😉
Love these recommendations! I’ve realized, too, that we just have to come out of our shell more and we’ll meet more people. 🙂
I 100% agree with all of this! Making friends as an adult is so much more challenging than it should be. I too have been trying to get out and about too in order to try and meet new people.
With a little effort you’ll definitely be rewarded. 🙂 Good luck!
It is harder for me to make friends as an adult because I do not trust people as easily and I do not want to get sucked up in the drama that people have. As an adult you are over those types of things.
Ugh, the drama. So true!
I actually found a best friend as an adult. You just get focused on your own thing and sometimes thinks like relationships get put on the back burner. True friends are a gift.
beth kelley recently posted…6 Fashion Tricks To Hide Your Belly
That’s awesome, Beth! There’s totally hope for meaningful friendships after school if we’re willing to put in the effort!
I struggle with this as well. I’ve found my church to be extremely helpful when it comes to making new friends.
Definitely! It helps finding people you have something automatically in common with.
It’s hard to make new friends because we no longer have a common denominator at least not until we have children in the same class etc. When we were in school, we could always use that as our excuse for conversation. I think we just have to push ourselves more as adults without common factors.
Interesting article … I do find it difficult to make friends as an adult. I had a lot of work friends, but now I’m staying home and it’s not the same. I do think you are right about putting yourself out there. I need to do this more!
I agree! It’s so hard when you don’t have that built-in “grown up” conversation every day.
These are great tips! it’s hard to venture out your personal bubble. Meeting people can be fun! I have been trying to get to know some of my neighbors better.
Jasmine Hewitt recently posted…Potty Training From a First-Timer
Yes! We’ve made an effort to get to know our neighbors too and they’re such nice people!
It’s been quite hard for me to make friends since I graduated and had my son. But we’ve recently started going to church and I’m trying to make friends with some of my son’s classmate’s moms.
Jennifer Corter recently posted…Fly For MPS!
This is me – I’m 33 and pretty much a loner as I’ve found making friends to be extremely difficult. A lot of people my ages have kids – I don’t as I can’t have kids and because of that no one want to hang around with me. I’m really shy and I found the older you get the more you see how selfish people really are – they don’t give a bleep about you – just them. //mini rant there. xx
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I definitely understand your frustration, Anna. It can be so tough when you’re not at the same point in life as many peers. Hopefully you’ll be able to find some friends by volunteering or getting connected through a common interest. I’ve found that lots of alumni associations exist and are great ways to get connected! Best of luck to you!