How do we make friends as adults? It all looks so simple on television. The couple with multiple children and the best friend neighbors who, of course, are perfectly compatible. In real life, it’s different. It’s really hard to make new friends we enjoy who are in the same stage of life. When we become parents, buy a house, start saving money, and begin planning for the future, we form a deep line of separation between our old life and our new one. Our social life often gets left behind.
This is one of the toughest transitions couples go through, especially for men. Single friends don’t understand why we can’t go out. Other friends have no interest in coming to us and watching a baby spewing on our shoulder while the toddler has a meltdown over a missing toy. Honestly, I don’t blame them. They are still our friends, but we need friends who understand what we are experiencing. Here are some ideas on how to make friends as an adult and build a social life that works for your life now.
This is admittedly not for everyone, but here is exactly how I helped my wife make a lifelong friend in her late 30s. We were new to the area and she had no time to make friends outside of work and family. So I set up a babysitter and declared it “Make New Friends Night.” We went to a social place we enjoy on the beach and intentionally met new people. Within one hour, my wife was chatting with another woman who was the same age about the music playing. It turned out they had a lot in common and my wife now counts her as one of her very best friends. New friendships are out there waiting to be harvested—if we go to the field.
Invest in Your Personal Growth
People are turned off by a lack of confidence, being closed off, and bad attitudes. Do any of those describe you? Smile and be a good listener. Work on being personable and engage in conversation. Be more interested in hearing someone else’s story than in telling your own. Just relax and be confident in who you are. A lot of people make the mistake of feeling unworthy and that can give off vibes that make others nervous. You are worthy of friendship.
Go Where People in Your Stage of Life Go
The goal here is to make friends who have a lot in common with us now. Our friends from the past might be going out to dance clubs on Friday nights, but you spend your Friday nights with a baby on your chest, watching children’s programming. Seek out people you find interesting in the now and ask them to go to a Saturday morning fresh market instead.
The very best place to make adult friends is where we share the most common purpose. Other adults have congregated voluntarily in the same place you chose, which automatically means you have a shared vision. That’s half the battle in making adult friends. Now, smile and introduce yourself to people you find interesting. The rest will happen naturally.
Give Back More than You Get
Relationships are two-way, and won’t last or be purposeful if one person is doing all the taking. This is key to any friendship and its absence is the reason most don’t last. Do not be selfish in your friendships. Make the same amount of effort you demand back. Relationships are two-way, and won’t last or be purposeful if one person is doing all the taking. Be a true friend and friendship will last forever.
Sound off: What are some ways you’ve made new friends as an adult?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do you make friends?”