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How to make new friends as an adult: 18 tips from readers

How to make new friends as an adult

Traveling in Portugal with Whit and V! I became friends with Whitney through Instagram (after my friend Lauren said, “you have to meet Whitney! You’ll love her!) and then was introduced to V through Whitney!

Part two of my “how to make friends as an adult” series. (If you’re a mom, read the first post about how to make mom friends over here. There is definitely some overlap between the two categories, but some differences as well!)

No matter how outgoing (or not!) you are, making friends as an adult is HARD! I often hear this echoed over and over again as we are all inevitably “growing up” together. (We’re still growing up, right? 😂)

As we end up in new life stages than our existing friends, change jobs, or maybe even move across the country (or the world!)–our friend groups start becoming more fluid. How does a person make a new friend as a thirty-something? I asked you all on Instagram, and here’s what you told me!

Rest assured, I can tell you from experience (and everyone else’s who weighed in on this topic) that *your people* are out there–you just have to be willing to take some initiative and know where to look!

Here are the most popular tips you shared. (With plenty of commentary from me, of course. 😉)

How to make friends as an adult:

Proactively seek out friends of friends:

Far and away the easiest way to make friends? Make friends with your friend’s friends! Why? Because there’s a high likelihood that your friend’s friends share many of the same qualities as your existing friend does (how many times can I say “friend” in one paragraph?) If you love that person, you will probably love other people who have a lot of common with them, too! Truly, this is the #1 way I’ve met the majority of my post-college friends.

Network through Instagram:

Speaking of friends of friends, Instagram is a great way to connect with people who you sort of know and have a lot in common with (or maybe those you don’t actually know, but want to!) Follow them, keep up with what they’re doing, comment on their posts, and it’s easy to establish a rapport and then meet up for drinks, coffee, etc! This is another way I’ve developed many adult friendships. (I suppose you could say a combination of this and point #1!)

Facebook groups:

Speaking of Meta, Facebook groups are a really great place to find community that you can then take in-person!

For example, if you type in “Chicago” on Facebook and click the “groups” tab, there are so many groups to join! Maybe you love hiking and want to meet up with others to go hiking, or you’re a runner and you want to meet up with other women to run with, maybe you’re a mom who is a lawyer and you’re looking to make friends with other moms who are lawyers–Facebook is full of other people with very similar interests (often very niche ones!) who are looking to meet friends!

Another popular place to find your people? Your favorite blogger Facebook groups! (I swear this isn’t a plug, I don’t have a Facebook group!) But many of you have told me you’ve found your friends by posting in your favorite local blogger groups and asking if anyone wanted to meet up! (Many have mentioned Liz’s and Grace’s specifically!) The reason this works is that readers of a specific blog already have so much in common because of shared interests–it makes sense that friendships would easily form there!

Attend local events regularly:

A quick google search like “city + what to do this weekend” will likely lead you to lots of opportunities! For example, do you love vintage? Find a local flea market and hang out there for the day! Put yourself out there and strike up lots of conversations with others there!

Do you love shopping? Attend a local boutique’s shopping event and stay awhile. Do you have a dog? There are always dog meetups/events going on! Big into yoga? There are ALWAYS lots of cool yoga events going on in the city!

Travel with a group:

I might be biased, but so many women have found their people by attending Atlas Adventures trips! (I have co-hosted trips with Whitney and V twice now and I have seen it with my own eyes. Travel brings people together in a way that is so unique–it’s a little bit magic. ♥️) Of course, travel isn’t attainable for everyone, but if you do have it in your budget, I can’t recommend an Atlas Adventures trip enough. (I know there are other companies out there that cater toward group travel for women, I just don’t have experience with them personally–definitely worth doing some research though!)

Join a popular gym and go consistently at the same times:

A lot of readers recommended this one! People have had great luck with places like Equinox, or even Class Pass. The point is to pick something that people of your age group use often. A few readers in Chicago also said they’ve met lot’s of friends at places like East Bank Club, Soho House, or Midtown Athletic club–which are more than just gyms–they’re lifestyle destinations!

Ask a coworker for drinks or coffee:

Take your friendship with a coworker offline! So many people mentioned meeting their best friends through work! This doesn’t just go for your direct coworkers, but you could organize an unofficial happy hour for others in different departments, maybe other contacts you work with closely but don’t know that well, etc.

Attend industry events:

Similar to the above, stay up to date with LinkedIn and start attending different events in your industry!

Join an intramural league:

Another popular reader suggestion, join an intramural league! If you’re saying, “I don’t have a group of people to join with”–don’t worry, that’s the point! A lot of people sign up as individuals and get assigned to a team! (Often there are whole teams made up of individuals!) Kickball and Volleyball are the most popular. A quick google search will send you to the right place to sign up. There are always post-game happy hours involved at the end too. Which is a really easy way to get to know new people.

Download Bumble BFF:

It’s normal to meet your spouse online these days, so why not your new best friend!? Many of you have had good luck with BumbleBFF! I think this takes the pressure off of “making the first move” with a potential friend, because everyone you get “matched” with is obviously looking for friendship, too!

Get into a new hobby:

Not just great for your mental health, but finding a new hobby is also a really great way to meet new people! Again, my blog started as a hobby, and I made SO many new friends I never would’ve met otherwise. (Some of them are friends for life!)

Start by picking out something that is of interest to you–maybe you’ve always wanted to try boxing, learn an instrument, take a crack at standup comedy, or learn a new language–sign up for classes! I guarantee you’ll make some friends, and you might even find a new passion while you’re at it.

Find local meetups:

Several readers said that Meetup.com is a great resource (they have meet-ups for SO may different kinds of interests and activities!) Speaking of that new hobby we just talked about–I bet you can find a meetup group for that, too!

Hang out at alumni bars or “team” bars

I had never thought of this one and thought it was so genius when one reader, Stacia, suggested it. Look up alumni bars from your alma mater in your area. Then make a habit of going there to watch games! You’ll meet so many alumni from your school. Chances are you’ll likely have lot’s of mutual friends in common, too! This also applies to other “team” bars–for example, say you’re from St. Louis but live in Chicago–google “Cardinals bar Chicago” and you’ll find several threads with suggestions!

Volunteer

So many of you messaged me on Instagram and said that you met all your friends through local volunteer organizations like Junior League, Junior Council, or Chicago Young Professionals! Any group that a lot of people your age are involved in is a great place to start. A lot of other organizations will also a have a junior or young professionals board you can join as well, so start with a cause that you are passionate about and go from there!

Get a dog

This was one I wasn’t expecting, haha! Many of you said that getting a dog makes it easy to make friends–everyone stops to talk to you and pet your dog, and you make a lot of friends at the park! (Disclaimer; I would also like to put the reminder here that getting a dog is a lot of work and making friends shouldn’t be the sole motivation for getting one!)

Start saying “yes”

It’s really easy to make excuses, right? You’re exhausted and don’t want to go to happy hour. A gym membership is expensive–but when you’re trying to make new friends, ALWAYS say yes! You never know who you’re going to meet! Making friends often takes more work than you realize–so keep at it, don’t give up!

Genuinely be open to meeting other people

It’s hard to make friends as an adult, but if you have closed-off energy, you aren’t approachable! Therefore, you aren’t going to attract new friends like someone who has an easy-going, “I’m excited to meet new people” attitude. If you see any opportunity as one to make a new friend, you’ll find yourself making a lot more of them!

Make the first move

One reader told me that making friends is an adult is a lot like dating. Actually it is dating. Friend dating! You have to be willing to put yourself out there if you’re going to see results. If it doesn’t work out–oh well! They just weren’t your people, and that’s okay! Expect to strike out more times than you hit the lottery! You’ve got this.

I hope this was helpful! If you’re a mom looking to make mom friends, you may also like my post on how to make mom friends!