Does anyone else here think it’s a bit nuts-o how it can feel so much harder to make friends as we get older? Making friends as an adult can be super duper tricky!
Remember when we were younger and were fearless, cute little chitlins. We didn’t often stress about HOW to make friends. We could just walk up to the girl in the purple dress playing with the leggos and say “Hey! I like leggos too!! Can I play?” BOOM. We never had to deal with feeling awkward, questioning ourselves or fearing rejection.
Ah, the simple days.
Nonetheless, making friends as an adult is a whole different beast. When we were younger we were surrounded by people that were the same age with relatively similar interests for about 15 years. Then we went to college where EVERYONE is looking for a new BFF, which makes it way easier to connect with people.
You graduate and suddenly, everything has changed. Before you know it, your social network has dispersed and been dismantled. Your best friend lives across the country, one friend is busy with grad school, one’s already living with a boyfriend, one just doesn’t seem to make the time for you, some you just grow apart from.. and UGHHHH, friendless reality sets in.
Welp my dear, I’d say it’s about time that you learn how to make friends again.
Sorry to break it to ya, but these wonderful friends are not likely to magically fall on your lap.
I don’t think you’ll find them while you binge Netflix on the couch, either.
True, meaningful friendships take time, love, attention and energy. Let’s make friends!
Here are some surefire ways to starting building meaningful, fruitful, long lasting friendships that you’ve been longing for:
Think of things you’d want to do WITH your friends, and then go do them on your own (for now). Start participating in the things that bring you joy, the things you’d want to do with other people NOW because guess what? You’ll probably meet lots of other people there that ALSO really enjoy doing that same thing — common interests are a huge plus when looking for likeminded people to add to your social circle.
Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Seriously. Why is it that when we get older we start to feel a bit weird introducing ourselves and putting ourselves out there? (Hint: shame, guilt, self doubt, cough cough) Be the first person to say hello IRL. Friend them on Facebook. Introduce yourself. Get comfortable being uncomfortable in this beginning phase if need be! If you don’t know what to say, try asking a few gentle questions. People really enjoy talking about themselves and it will also help you gauge if this person feels like a good fit!
Give yourself a pep talk before starting a conversation with a potential friend. I know this sounds cheesy, but it’s helpful! Starting conversations with someone new can feel scary. During your pep talk consider this, how do you want to show up today? Make a conscious effort in how you’re going to present yourself in this social situation. –and I’m not saying to put on a facade and pretend you’re someone different. Not at all gf! BUT you can make a decision that you’re going to show up as your most confident (not cocky) self, most genuine self, maybe you want to show up as light hearted and calm or maybe you want to be excited and energetic. How do you want to show up today?
Put your phone away, LOL. If you saw someone sitting in a room with their eyes glued to their phone, would you interrupt? If you were having coffee with someone and they had their phone on the table, would you feel important to them? PROBS NOT. We’ve gone to a extreme in normalizing our cell phone usage. Having them out can really send the message that you have other more important things going on, or that this person doesn’t have your full attention. It’s a gentle ping at the heart strings that can easily allow someone to put up a wall. People are interesting! Be present. Be all there.
Stay consistent and be patient. I’m not going to tell you some BS and get your hopes up that things are going to fall into place the first time you try to meet someone new. Wouldn’t that be sweet?! Chances are it’s going to take a while so I’m going to encourage you to be consistent. Show up for that same yoga class every week. Grab coffee and chill at the same coffee shop. Go try that hiking group more than once. Show up for book club for a whole month in a row. If you don’t find a connection that first time around, that is OKAY! You never know who might show up next week or the next meeting. Relationships that are meaningful and add value to our lives take time to build. It takes time to develop trust and rhythms with new people. Hang in there!
Check back in every once in a while! We want to make sure that these new friendships that were putting time and effort into are worth our energy, right? Once you’ve been at it for a while, you’ll learn to decipher what kinds of people you want to be surrounded by. You’ll learn how to assess for quality and re-adjust accordingly. If you’re not meeting the people you want to be meeting, try switching things up. Maybe go back to the drawing board about where you think your future awesome, amazing friends are chilling out.
So, let’s get to it and make friends again! Have fun with it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Let me know if you were able to implement these by reaching out here!!