Personally, I have found that making friends as an adult is quite challenging. Especially as an introvert. A goal of mine is to make one friend this year. If you’re like me, and you struggle to make new friends I hope this article helps. I decided to ask five women five different questions about friendship in hopes that their answers would give some insight about making friends as an adult. Hopefully this article helps you if you’re looking to make a new friend this year!
What do you think is the hardest part about making friends as an adult?
1. Finding time/Being too busy
“I think the hardest part might be, first of all finding the time to make a friend and being open to make a friend…” – Christine L., 69, Extravert, Business Owner/Bookkeeper
“The hardest part about making friends as an adult is that everybody is kind of.. has their own life and is super busy. Whether it’s with kids or husbands or work or school if they are taking college. Um, as an adult everybody is just super busy. So, I think that’s the hardest part – is getting everybody’s schedule together in order to hang out and be able to get to know each other better.” – Christina N., 46, Extravert, Banquet Manager
“I I think just having the time to do it. I think everyone is just very busy and have their own lives going.” – India E., 25, Extravert, Nurse
“… being able to spend time with each other, especially when our schedules are so busy. And right now, with like work and stuff like that…People are in relationships. They want to go home to their significant others and like cook, and eat, and relax from the day. So, I think as we get older we have more responsibilities and more bills to pay. So, like our weekends are free, so I feel like a lot of people tend to want to spend that time however they can for themselves with time that they don’t get throughout the week.” Rhiannon H., 23, Extravert, Behavioral Technician
2. Making a mutual or genuine connection
“…hoping to find a friend that has similar interests. Another hard thing about making a friend is if you feel like you like that person you hope that that person likes you back equally… It sounds almost like grade school stuff, but I think everybody goes through that. I think we are all insecure.” – Christine L., 69, Extravert, Business Owner/Bookkeeper
“…friendships do require a lot of work. You have to put in on both sides. So, finding someone that’s willing to put in the effort on both sides can be difficult.” – India E., 25, Extravert, Nurse
“I think the hardest thing is making genuine connections…” – Rhiannon H., 23, Extravert, Behavioral Technician
3. Not having places to organically meet new friends
“Having a place to probably meet. I mean like where and when you can actually see people. I think that’s the hardest part. It’s just not having, you know, that common place you can go in. I don’t know. Dinner’s okay. You know, but sometimes you got other things going on at dinner. It’s really difficult to find a place and time to really foster relationships…” – Laura F., 40, Introvert, Music Teacher
If you made a new friend as an adult, how did you do it?
Through a sorority event
“The most recent friend that I really made that has become a friend. I mean we all have acquaintances. But a person who has actually become a friend of mine was back in 2015 and what attracted me to her was her dog because she is deaf…She sort of stood out in the crowd and I was going to be the president in my sorority, so I thought that would be really nice of me to introduce myself to this new person who’s here. She’s obviously a Tri-Sigma, but she’s from a different chapter.
So, I went over and introduced myself and said ‘Hi, what is your name?’ and she said ‘Nick’ and I petted her dog and I asked her questions and as much of an extravert as I am, sometimes I can be a little shy.
So, I will say a lot of the times it’s the other person who will call me and ask to do something. And then I will go do something movie or go shopping or whatever. But it takes quite a while for me to really make a friend because I’m just insecure enough and I’m just busy enough that I’m always hoping that they like me and that we have stuff in common. And yeah, so here we are…we are going on almost seven years and she has become a pretty good friend.” – Christine L., 69, extravert, business owner/bookkeeper
Through other friends
“Most of my friends that I have made was through other people- through other friends, friends of friends. I’ve also done it through work. I’ve done it through just social activities- going to the pool, or the gym, stuff like that.” – Christina N., 46, Extravert, Banquet Manager
“Through mutual friends actually. So, if I was like at a gathering or happened to be in a social event with other people and I really connected with someone I would say that I would get their number. Or however they wanted to contact me. Through social media or whatever they wanted to do- a hangout again or a social event. That’s when I would probably [make a friend] through mutual friends and friend groups.” – Rhiannon H., 23, Extravert, Behavioral Technician
“I made a friend. The last like close friend that I would say I made was someone in, well besides my husband, which then I just got married. Besides him, the last like close friend that I’ve made, I met through school. And we did have a lot of common interests outside of our program.” – India E., 25, Extravert, Nurse
“Met em’ at work I guess. Finding things that you have in common. And then just utilizing the time that you have there. Eventually, I guess if you you’re able to get to the point where you know, you have each other’s numbers, sometimes that helps a little bit, but. That’s probably the way that it goes- is usually work. Something work related. And then, you know, just talking to them about work at the beginning and then seeing how they sort of, you know. communicate and if you do have things in common above work. I think that’s how it usually fosters.” – Laura F., 40, Introvert, Music Teacher
If someone wanted to be your friend, how would you like them to go about it?
To Pursue Me
“Well, I think like I said, they probably have to pursue me, so that I know that they must like something about me or else they wouldn’t try to be my friend. And I would like them to call me or text and then have us go do something and/or maybe go to lunch or dinner or breakfast. And then finally, after we do this enough times, then I start to feel comfortable and I can start to call that person my friend.” – Christine L., 69, extravert, business owner/bookkeeper
To Approach Me in A Friendly Manner
“I would like them to just maybe, I don’t know approach me in a friendly way and then start talking about whatever we’re doing or whatever brought us together as a common interest and then ask questions about my life because then it shows they’re interested in getting to know me.” – Christina N., 46, Extravert, Banquet Manager
To Initiate Contact
“Usually, I would tend to just … same way I do them. So just someone who initiates contact and is interested in my life and who I’m interested in. And then hopefully we have some common interests as well. Because, it’s you don’t have to have the same hobbies or anything necessarily to be friends, but it does make it a lot easier.” – India E., 25, Extravert, Nurse
To Be Honest
“Honestly, just be honest. Be like I think you’re an awesome person. Like I think we would get along. I would love to hang out with you. Obviously, I think there’s boundaries for that as well. You know, not being too forward. Because there’s a difference between friends and knowing someone’s intentions. So, I think just being starting off little but being like hey let’s meet up at coffee, let’s chat, get to know each other. Just like start simple and then it can go from there.” – Rhiannon H., 23, Extravert, Behavioral Technician
To Be Consistent and To Reach Out
“Probably, the same kind of idea. Like well, I mean that’s hard. That’s really hard. Cause if I’m at sort of max capacity for buddies, nothing. There’s really nothing they can do. But you know usually just being there if I reach out and ask questions and stuff.
Yeah that one’s harder. I don’t know. I would go off of like where I am and where my energy level is and everything else. Just being consistent I guess until you know the right time is. And just talking to me and you know reaching out. A lot of times it’s easier if they reach out to me because I know that you know [they like me] …” – Laura F., 40, Introvert, Music Teacher
What words of encouragement or advice would give to someone who wants to make friends as an adult?
Join clubs, organizations, or become a volunteer
“Alright, first of all, if an adult wants to make friends they need to join clubs, organizations, perhaps become a volunteer. Go on Facebook- find something they are interested in. If it’s golfing, if it’s hiking, get with a group and if you go to that organization enough, I believe you will eventually find a friend. And if you don’t, move on. If that’s what you are looking for. If you are looking for a friend then yeah. If you are not finding any friends in your hiking group and you’re not satisfied with anybody in there then you move onto something different.” – Christine L., 69, extravert, business owner/bookkeeper
Be Open Minded
“To be open minded. All of us are kind of set in our ways and know what we want in our life and a lot of us go different directions. Some of my very best friends we don’t have much in common. We don’t have the same jobs. Some are married with kids; I’m single. So just be open minded and to also respect boundaries. Don’t make them feel bad if you know they’re not able to do something or um. So, respecting boundaries and being open minded I think.” – Christina N., 46, Extravert, Banquet Manager
Some friends are only here for a season
“I think some good advice I got when I was little is that friends are in layers. You should only have one or two really close friends. You know the people that you know are there for you no matter what. And that other friends, it’s okay if that they come and go. And that’s not a reflection of you or them. It’s that life is just busy and long. And so, there are going to be some people who are only in your life for you know a short season. And that’s okay. And that doesn’t mean that your friendship wasn’t important to the both of you at that time.” – India E., 25, Extravert, Nurse
Be Truthful About Yourself
“I would tell them to be honest and truthful and do their best to be themselves. Instead of trying to find friends who think that they’re going to be what they want them to be. So, I think… you aren’t going to make genuine friendships through that if you’re kind of fake. Obviously, there is that like friendly kind of… before you become honest with someone.
But I’m just saying, like, kind of be honest about yourself from the get go. Like I told you I’m an extraverted person so if you’re an extraverted person awesome. If they are an introverted person they can share that about themselves. Be like hey these are the activities I like to enjoy and see if those types of things can basically make someone want to like hang out with you.” – Rhiannon H., 23, Extravert, Behavioral Technician
Join a Group
“I mean it’s harder with kids, right? So, I mean I give advice differently for someone who let’s say single with no kids. It’s always a good idea to find a little group. You know. I had a lot of success with that before I got married and had a kid. You sort of fall in with a group of people that have that same amount of time and maybe have a few things in common and you kind of, you know, create your little group. And then people within that group are friends with each other more or less. You know. And then that way you’re not stressing about you have this one relationship to kind of maintain, you have a group…” – Laura F., 40, Introvert, Music Teacher
What do you personally view is the best way to make a friend as an adult?
“The way to make a new friend… for me, as an adult, is to be outgoing, smile because that’s the world language. You don’t have to know anything. You just smile. I don’t care what language you speak everyone knows what a smile is. Warm and be interested in the other person and ask them questions. That’s what you do. That’s what I do because people love to talk about themselves.” – Christine L., 69, extravert, business owner/bookkeeper
Through Other People
“I personally think through other people is a great way. When you meet people, and you get to know them and they become your friends and then they introduce you to other people that they know. That you way you kind of have a background on them. You’re kind of more aware whether you know they’re good people… So yeah, through other people, I think is a good way.” – Christina N., 46, Extravert, Banquet Manager
In Person Contact
“I think just real-life contact with people. So, either through your job through your church. Hobbies. But you can definitely make friends with people online as well.” – India E., 25, Extravert, Nurse
Social Gathering and Work
“I think social gatherings is the best way to make a friend because you see them in a social you see them in public. You kind of get their vibe whether you guys are like at a party, a birthday party. Stuff like that. I think it’s good to see someone out in the world and see how they interact. Just so you get to know them on that personal level.
I also think work relationships are super important too. So, I think it’s kind of a tie in because if you have the ability to make work friendships and say it’s your dream job and you’re going to be working there for a while, I think it’s good to have friends at work who can support you outside of work and in work.” – Rhiannon H., 23, Extravert, Behavioral Technician
Work. Ideally there would be a place for adults to make new friends without alcohol
“I mean I wish we had more things where adults can come together informally. Other than bars you know. I don’t really want to go to someplace like that. I mean if I were controlling the world, you know over this. I wish that there were more places outside of consuming alcohol that you can go and do things… Book clubs are good. I did a couple of book clubs and you find people with the same thought process, which is good. I mean you can unify over a book.
I rely on the workplace a lot. I think that there’s merit to that. In your workplace, you have a common ideal at least.” – Laura F., 40, Introvert, Music Teacher
After listening to these five women, I realized that making time for friends is a key factor in making new friends as adult.
The majority of women stated that the biggest obstacle to making friends was finding the time. One tip might be finding all the open days on your calendar and deciding which days you want to schedule in time to nourish new friendships. A simple text or a short call in the morning before work might also serve as a small way to cultivate new friendships when you have a busy schedule.
I also found it interesting that everyone interviewed wants a potential friend to initiate contact as a way to demonstrate interest.
All five women interviewed said in one form or another that if a person wants to be their friend that they would like that person to pursue them. This news is especially encouraging if you have someone in mind that you would like to be friends with. It also shows that if you see someone who you want to be friends with it’s worth a shot to go up and introduce yourself in a friendly manner.