The quality of a person’s friendships can make or break their life, adding to feelings of happiness, and providing health benefits, too. But once you grow up it can be hard to learn how to make friends as an adult. Here’s 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 re-runs of your favorite TV drama. 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. If you’re still not convinced, these facts prove that friends are ridiculously healthy for us.
Chat up other parents
If you care for small children, you probably stand on 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 Helen Odessky, PsyD, a psychologist, and author of Stop Anxiety From Stopping You. Parents can be as cliquish as kids, but don’t be intimidated by the moms or dads you see, chatting each other up in the school yard or park. Your common frame of reference are 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.
Ask your current friends to set you up
If you’ve recently moved or your current friends have gotten too busy for you, ask them to set you up with new people. Let them know that you want to be more social and ask them to recommend people they think you would get along with and have them introduce you. It’s just like asking your friends to set you up on a date, but instead, it’s a way to make new friends as an adult.