Do you feel lonely, left out? Maybe it seems like everyone else has their tribe but you? You are far from alone. In fact, 60% of Americans report feeling lonely. People think making friends as adults is easy. After all, you’re surrounded by people every day, whether it’s at work, at the gym, or in your neighborhood. However, the truth is that making friends can be incredibly challenging, especially as you get older and social circles become more established. People already have their crew. The good news is that it’s never too late to start making new connections. Below are some helpful tips for women in their 30s and 40s who are looking to make new friends.
Where To Start
Some people have no idea how to make friends as adults. That’s not a problem! We cover some basics here. The big things to remember are:
- Take your time. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find an instant BFF
- Friendships are reciprocal. A red flag is if you always have to initiate meetups or if you are constantly doing for others and it is never returned.
- True friendships are based on authenticity. If you can’t be you, then it will never be a true friendship.
If you just read the above and your first thought is that your friendships are all about the other person, it may be time to cut ties. You can read more about that here.
Places to Make Friends as Adults
Join a Club or Group
One of the best ways to meet new people is to join a club or group that aligns with your interests. Whether you’re into hiking, reading, or cooking, there’s sure to be a group out there for you. Meet Up is a great site to explore or check out your local paper. Joining a club or group allows you to meet people who you already have something in common with, which makes the process of making friends much easier. Plus, you’ll have a built-in activity to do together, which can help ease any social anxiety you might have.
Attend Networking Events
Networking events aren’t just for business professionals. They’re a great way to meet new people and make connections. Even if you don’t have a specific career goal in mind, attending networking events can be a valuable experience because you never know who you might meet. Plus, many networking events are focused on specific industries or interests, so you’re likely to meet people who are passionate about the same things you are.
Photo from: https://nappy.co/photo/811 Retrieved 8/14/2023
Volunteering is not only a great way to give back to your community, but it’s also a fantastic way to meet new people. When you volunteer, you’ll be working alongside other like-minded individuals who are passionate about the same causes as you. Whether you’re volunteering at a homeless shelter, animal shelter, or community garden, you’ll have the opportunity to form meaningful connections with people who share your values.
Start a Conversation
Sometimes, making new friends is as simple as starting a conversation. If you’re at a social event or even just waiting in line at the grocery store, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone nearby. You never know where a friendly conversation might lead, and at the very least, you’ll have made a connection with another human being.
Be Open and Authentic
Finally, the key to making new friends as an adult is to be open and authentic. Don’t be afraid to show your true self and share your interests, experiences, and values with others. When you’re open and authentic, you’ll attract other people who are looking for genuine connections. Remember, making friends is just as much about being a good listener as it is about being a good conversationalist.
Making friends as an adult can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By joining a club or group, attending networking events, volunteering, starting conversations, and being open and authentic, you can form meaningful connections with people who share your interests, values, and experiences. Remember, friendship is a two-way street, so be sure to invest time and effort into the relationships you form. With a little bit of effort and a willingness to put yourself out there, you’ll be surprised at how many amazing people you can meet and how many meaningful friendships you can form.
About the author: Sharon P. Fisher, MS, PMHNP-BC is the founder of a boutique women’s mental health practice in Towson, MD, Nurtured Well.