I know the trend is to keep your circle small. I saw all the crappy memes and I get it. You cannot have 20 best friends. Even after calling on all the extrovert gods, it’s too much. Most people are lucky to have just a few super great, longtime friends. I can tell you I have three people who I would consider a personal best and one of them is my sister. It’s a serious title and it takes years + shared struggles + loyalty for me to call anyone a bestie. This post is not about manufacturing friendships at the platinum level of bestie, it’s about making some good friends as an adult at …gold and silver levels…I guess. *Shrug* You know what I mean.
Why do we need them? For some of us it’s moving to a new city and for others, it’s needing friends to start with. Personally, I wanted to expand my circle to include some people that shared some of the things I have come to love as an adult that maybe my long time friends had very little interest in. I wanted to know other bloggers, writers, people in politics, marketers, and creatives. It was an effort to diversify.
With some intention, I set out to make a few new friends. It was not easy. When we were younger, we were thrown together as roommates, classmates, and teammates. It was basically the arranged marriage of friendship. We made friends out of access but as an adult, you do not have time for situational friendships that dissolve into drama. We know who we are and the kinds of people we want in our lives. But we have limited social opportunity to make it happen … and work does not count. Work “friends” are tricky. It’s like being in the mob to me… you are friends until its time for someone to get whacked (let go)…then it’s all weird. I can go on about this but let’s save that for another time. But other than that, how does one make friends as an adult.
Be a friend. I can see you rolling your eyes but I am serious. To get friends you have to BE A FRIEND. I am sure right now there are people you have been “meaning to get together with” for the last year but you never make the time. If you want to create some connections as an adult you have to do it the adult way… put it on the google calendar and don’t adjust it. Long gone are the days of infinite time and space for folks – we gotta make the time and value it. A hard lesson for me to learn was that these relationships require just as much work as romantic relationships. Make it important to you.
Join some professional or social clubs. Join…but like… talk to people when you are there. I have to say it. I have been to places where people come all the time and don’t talk to anyone. You do not have to be a social butterfly, people like me will do the work for you. Make eye contact and say hello – that is all the invitation an extrovert needs to step right in. If you have a good conversation a couple times plan to meet up outside the organization for a drink or whatever.
Get involved in the community/volunteer. Nothing brings people together like a shared sense of discomfort. Have you ever been in a public place and something odd happened then people around you are all suddenly hit with the urge to talk to each other about it? I know. It’s natural. Getting involved in the local community is a great way to contribute to society first but also step outside your comfort zone and meet other people doing the same. Feed the homeless, solicit donations, canvas neighborhoods… all things that are needed and all things that are generally uncomfortable for lots of people. When you are out…say hello and be friendly.
Reach out to friends on social media. You have 1,000 Facebook friends of which, 12 like all your posts. Those 12 are a great place to start doing some “Friend dating”. If you have noticed someone and you are constantly on the same wavelength but maybe you have not talked since high school, ask them out. Girl dates are a thing. And it’s literally like regular dating but you go dutch and all the romance is complimenting each other’s braid out. I would say it’s better.
Ask for a Friend Referral. I know this sounds super cheesy but if you have moved to another part of the country or another country you gotta do it. Ask your friends/social network if they can “refer a friend”. It’s as simple as ” Hey [Insert social network], I am moving to Guam, do you know anyone there? I am looking to make some friends” …copy and paste it if you want. And… You’re Welcome.
Making friends seems a lot harder than it is – the truth is we forget that all relationships are work. It’s not going to fall in your lap and you should not want it too. I learned this lesson with some of my best friends. You get busy and naturally, start to those connections. Before you know it years have passed and you find yourself friendless. Be intentional and take it seriously. If friends are the family you choose, you want to make some good choices. Try a few of these tips and let us know how it works out in the comments below.