Making friends as an adult is hard and scary. I think we can all relate to the difficulty of making new friends when all your friends moved away after college or when you moved to a whole new city by yourself and have to start over. As a kid or a student, you always had something to fall back on whether it be you being forced into groups in school, for clubs/after school activities, or your parents were friends. But once you are an adult, people aren't thrown together as much anymore and it's less common to be friends with workmates outside of work maybe due to age or lifestyle differences.
So how does one make friends as an adult then? I have actually googled this very topic shortly after college for my own personal knowledge and I didn't find too many resources. I have also heard a lot of people in different cities and all in the 20-35 age range and even heard friends and acquaintances complaining about how hard it is to make friends as an adult. Well, my friends, and we are friends by the way, I said it, so it makes it so; let me share with you my tips that make making friends a lot easier.
Websites and Apps
It may be the Millenial in me, but these may be some of the best ways to make friends in my opinion especially if you are or can be a bit of an introvert (hi, it's me the introverted extrovert, it's a thing I promise).
- Bumble BFF
Bumble BFF is one of my faves for meeting females individually. If you've ever used any dating apps then I am sure you have heard of Bumble. Bumble is a female owned dating application, which is even more reason to check them out, but one of the cool features they have is Bumble BFF.
Bumble BFF works similarly to the dating apps you're used to, you have a profile with some photos and a bio and you swipe left on people you don't think you'd match with and right for people you think you'd jive with. If they also swipe right on you, then you get a match and either of you have 24 hours to start a conversation or the match expires. However, in this case you are doing it for female friends!
This website is great for meeting people who like the same things as you and great for co-ed friendships. For example, in my last two cities I was able to find a meetup group that was based around playing indoor volleyball. There's a group for everything, photography, gaming, board games, adventures, travel, and many more. Everyone can find a group and do those things they enjoy while meeting new people.
My biggest suggestion would be to just go talk to people. I know this sounds like the scariest thing in the world, trust me, I used to think that very same thing. Let me let you in on a little secret, everyone wants to make friends and I have never had someone not want to talk to me when I started a conversation, nor have I ever turned someone away who was trying to converse with me (unless they were a creeper).
Generally at events or the bar is where people go to meet people, so it's the best place to walk up to someone and get to chatting or make yourself look available and open to chatting if you're too nervous to initiate.
Sometimes I'll even go sit at the bar by myself and work on some coding or just chat with the bartender, I either get to really conversing with the bartender or someone tends to come up or scoot down and try chatting with me.
Not quite as easy as the ways mentioned above, mostly because there's that element of keeping things professional and having work/life balance. It can be done if you go about it the right way though, I am proof because I have a lot a of friends from previous jobs, one of them being one of the woman I recently went to Portugal with, which you may have seen all over my Instagram feed, sorry not sorry.
You want to tread carefully with work people in my experience because you don't wan them to feel forced to say yes, you don't want them to try to use information against you (sadly this is a legitimate concern), and you want to make sure that the relationship can survive outside of work.
The way to do this is to mostly just strike up casual "water-cooler" or more realistically "coffee bar" conversation. Have those casual and possibly awkward get to know you conversations then subtly drop little nuggets of information that you wouldn't tell your boss or random strangers into those conversations and see how they handle that information. Make sure it's small nuggets of information at first, then slowly build.
Once you've learned that you can trust them, then just build the relationship from there. Invite them along to some event or thing you casually mention, so it's not weird and they have an out. Then voila, before they know it, you're friends!
Another thing I did back in Michigan that wasn't solely for meeting friends, but had that side benefit was volunteer and join an organization. The organization I joined was the Junior League, they should have them all over the country in different cities, I know Ann Arbor, MI has one and Raleigh does as well. You do not have to join the Junior League, that was just the one I picked. Joining an organization or volunteer groups has the obvious benefits of helping people and making your community a better place, but it is also a great way to meet new people and network!