Somehow, you are an adult and your friends are either all spread out or you all grew apart. You never quite found that friend group where you are, or maybe you have one but it isn’t one where you feel that you belong or fit in.
You want to have that friends group that you can tell anything to, go grab dinner or brunch with, and spend time together. You want friends who listen and are there for you, not just this intense feeling of loneliness.
But how do you make friends now as an adult and out of school? Below are five great ways to meet friends and begin to develop that friend group you always wanted.
1: Do You Have Anxiety About Making Friends?
Do you have any anxiety about making friends? Is there a part of you that really struggles with stepping outside of your comfort zone, talking to strangers, or doing group meetups where you don’t know anyone?
For some people, being at home during COVID-19 made them too comfortable and able to backslide on any progress they had on making friends or being social. Now it feels harder to go out and be social.
For others, it led to developing social anxiety from not having used their skills.
First step to making friends is to acknowlege any anxiety you may have, and what situations cause it. Once you know those, talk to a socially adept friend who can help walk you through what to do in situations, such as how to make small talk, how to meet a new group, or who could role-play these situations with you. If you don’t have a socially adept friend, check out our article on social anxiety and how to work through it. If you are looking to help someone with social anxiety without becoming a caregiver or codependent, click here.
2: To Find Friends, Think Of Your Hobbies
It can be helpful to sit down and make a list of what you are interested in. This could be hiking, photography, food, documentaries, etc. In the days of the internet, there are tons of ways to meet people with similar interests in your area. At this point, say yes to everything that is safe and healthy. If someone invites you to a cooking class–say yes even if cooking isn’t your favoirte. If someone invites you to a local fair–say yes. The more you get out, the more you are open to new friendships.
To Meet Friends In Your Area You Could:
Join local Facebook groups and finding out when they will meet
Join BumbleBFF and check out friends interests on there
Check out your local newspaper
Check your local government or community sites
Ask your friends what they do for finding friends locally
Look up local civic organizatins
Find volunteering opportunities near you
Check out local events
3: Be Consistent In Your Search For Friends
When you are really struggling with finding friends, don’t give up after just one exercise class or just one attempt. Perhaps, you felt anxious in that first class and no one really talked to you. That happens. Each time you do somethin, the less anxious you will be and the more people will open up and want you to be a part of their group.
When you are searching for friends, be consistent in trying activities or groups a few times before calling it quits. Don’t attempt one activity and assume all must be bad, there’s something out there for veryone.
4: Does Online Work As Well As In-Person For Friends
There can be several pros and cons to having online friends. Pros are that friend is available more as you can both be in your home, it is cheaper as you don’t have to pay for gas or go out to eat, and it can be easier to get to know someone online than in person. You can also find more friends who are interested in your specific hobbies or interests.
However, having an online friend is not a perfect system. With online friends, it can be easy come, easy go even more so than with real-life friends. They can block you, get mad at something you say and not hash it out with you, or ghost you which can leave lasting scars.
It is best to have a mixture of both online and in-person friends when you can. Real-life friends can provide you with social connections, and events out in the community, and enrich your life in different ways.
5: Reconnect With Old Friends
If all else fails, think about how you can reconnect with your old friends. This could be starting a Zoom monthly for everyone, reaching out with a card, meme, or friendly text, or just giving your friend a call. Reconnecting with old friends is a great way to have friends, even if they are far away, and to still get an outlet. This can also be a chance to reflect on old relationships, what worked, what you liked about a person or didn’t, and how you want your friendships to look now.
Friends are out there and it isn’t as impossible to make friends in your 30s as it seems, it must may take a little more effort on your part.
For help with social anxiety, reach out to email@example.com to see if therapy could be a good fit for you.
If you are looking for anxiety therapy or therapy for depression, Mary Willoughby Romm is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia who provides online therapy for Willow Tree Healing Center. She enjoys transforming the lives of women, college students, kids,tweens/teens, and families through providing communication strategies, coping skills that work, allowing a safe space to be heard, and actively working towards helping you with your challenges. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (ages 2-7) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,counsels substance abuse in teens and adults, and practices Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.