How to Make Friends as an Adult

As I sit down to write this, I find myself maybe just as equally perplexed by this subject. I mean, exactly how does one make friends as an adult? So, as I put pen to paper (and fingers to keyboard) it is my hope that some of the knowledge that I found successful in my life will ring true for you ultimately leading you to finding new people in your local area and making the jump to friendship.

First, place yourself in a good frame of mind for connecting with new people. Understand that you are not alone in this adventure.

It is a human thing to feel that we do not belong. I want to shatter the thought of no one else can be in the same boat as me. I’m here to remind you (trust me, it’s more like reinforcing) that all of us are trying to understand how to make friends as an adult. Heck, I’m also reminding myself, especially on the hard days. So if everyone feels this, then you already have a point of connection with others! People want to meet people; they simply want to meet people who make their day better not worse.

It is in my experience that connection between people happens due to a shared state of mind and interest. Understand that you are truly not alone in this endeavor and that the best people are almost always interested in meeting someone who is new, compelling, and willing to connect. If you have a hard time believing this, trust me, and give this step guide a read anyways. You will be pleasantly surprised.

You will have to be an interrupter. Understand the value that you provide for other and bring that forward whenever you meet someone new.

You are already an interesting human. I am sure that, if you sit down and think for a moment, you will realize that you have topics and ideas that you hold a lot of passion in your heart. So, what’s the next step. You will have to interrupt peoples’ days. I wrote a blog about this earlier this year called Intrusiveness? How you can meet new people everyday. (Interruptions can be something as simple as a compliment, a smile, or an invitation extended for a chat.) Read it, this will help! Let’s say you successfully interrupt someones day; now it is your mission to make their day better.

One of my best personal interruption techniques is to sit down next to someone and say something along the lines of, “Hi, I need a break from “x”. Mind a quick conversation?” Say that with a smile thrown in and you will be ridiculously charming in addition to respectful to other people’s time. They will give you a yes or a no (usually it’s a yes), and you can react accordingly. If they do say no, really don’t worry about it too much. It’s not you, they are probably simply too busy or not in a good frame of mind for connecting today.

Here’s a great freaking idea: Join a group that meets regularly and is based a personal passion of yours.

This is the absolute best and quickest way to make new friends with the added plus of pursuing a passion of yours. You will definitely have a topic to talk about, and, since you are doing something you love, you will be in a more confident state of mind. I personally love partner dancing (right now my big crush is on West Coast Swing). I hit up a social dance usually 1-3 times a week, and many of my best friends (which I met at social dances) share this passion with me.

So, how do you find these groups? By any means possible. Check your local Meetups, Google search the crap out of your passion looking for groups, find Facebook Groups, ask friends, ask strangers, get determined and find a group. The key is to not remain on the internet, but to rather use it as a tool to get off the internet and into the world around you connecting with new people.

Be open to new connections. You can find a new friend just about anywhere as long as you are open to the idea of meeting people anywhere.

This will take a bit of personal work, but a sure fire way of building new friendships is by having a Resting Prince/Princess Face. (Basically being incredibly approachable.) My advice, remove all obstacles that prevent connection and be patient. For example, I sometimes go to bars, turn my phone off, and simply drink a beer or two and wait. Every time I’ve done this, someone will eventually want to talk with you.

You see, the thing is, most of us forget that there is this strange social norm of not wanting to seem weird when you approach a stranger. By that nature we can live possible interactions in our own minds without every connecting. We don’t want that. But, remember, we are not alone. Maybe, just maybe, everyone else is feeling the same way. So, that’s where the patients comes into play. Additionally be open to connecting with anyone, even if it is just for a few minutes. That way you get to meet a lot more people and be picky about who you want to spend time with. The more people you meet, the more choice you have in who you get to hang out with. It is, as with most things socially related in life, a numbers game.

When you meet someone new, seek to get to know them, not to be labeled as their friend. One is an action, the other is a form of possession.

Here’s the tricky part, making friends, in my experience, comes down to seeking to get to know people and being interested. A lot of people make the mistake of trying to be interesting and forget about being interested. Pursuing your passions in life will by exposure make you interesting to others. Trust in that and when you meet someone be interested! Ask them questions about themselves, learn more about their humor, their life, their story, and, when they ask, share yours in return.

The beauty of this method is, over time, you will become friends if it is meant to be. A great friendship cannot be forced into existence. It’s all about action and not about labels. The label of ‘friend’ comes after the action of getting to know someone. Lastly, and I feel like this goes without saying, but… you will have to meet up again, and again, and again. Time to hangout!

Final thought: Be bold, start today.

You can plan and search and plan and search and run a thousand conversations in your head and never make a single new friend. So, here’s a secret: You already have all the skills necessary to make friends; the only thing that is holding you back is fear of rejection and the idea of being outside of your comfort zone. I will assure you almost all interactions start off on a weird foot. Yup, it’s going to be weird and awkward, maybe even uncomfortable, but that lasts only a minute or two. Then it is easy sailing. A couple minutes of awkward for a possible lifetime of friendship. When you think about it like that, introducing yourself doesn’t sound so crazy. It may always be uncomfortable to approach new person, but realize that you are not alone.  So, don’t over plan; take action and do.

Austin Hunt

Meet the Author:
Austin Hunt

Austin is the lead writer and creator of Points of Connection. He's been studying dating, relationships, and how to build authentic intimacy for over 9 years now. You can find him sipping away at a cup of coffee at a local shop making friends with the stranger next to him.