12 simple ways to make friends as an adult
The quality of a person’s friendships can make or break their life, adding to feelings of happiness and providing health benefits. But once you’re an adult, it can be hard to make friends. Here’s some tips that show you how.
Push yourself to get out there
Adult lives are full of obligations, ranging from work to taking care of children or elderly parents. It’s ever so easy to put yourself on the back burner, letting go of the desire to enjoy life, have fun or get involved in anything – other than watching Netflix. While this is totally understandable, it’s not in your own best interests to do so. Study after study extols the virtues of friendship on health, and even on life expectancy, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. It is important to motivate yourself to get out there, without feeling guilty about the time you’re taking away from your other obligations. Learning how to make friends as an adult can be a daunting task, but it’s definitely necessary.
Chat up other parents
If you care for small children, you probably stand in a lot of movie lines, go to a lot of parks and eat way too much pizza. “After school and college, adults have to be more intentional about making friends. If you’re a parent or grandparent, you can often quickly connect around various children’s activities,” suggests psychologist Helen Odessky, author of Stop Anxiety From Stopping You. Parents can be as cliquish as kids, but don’t be intimidated by the mums and dads you see, chatting each other up in the schoolyard or park. Your common frame of reference is your children, so use that as a conversation starter when making friends as an adult. You can ask for opinions about the homework assignment, school dress code (or lack thereof), or any other child-related topic you can think of.
The worst that will happen is you’ll have a one-time conversation with someone and call it a day. The best-case scenario is that you’ll enjoy each other’s company and seek each other out until eventually a friendship blossoms. You can use the same strategy in children’s museums, waiting for the bus, or in child-friendly cafés.