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Adults are not making friends as easily as they used to. In this global age, young adults are moving an average of 5 times in the 20 years after college graduation, and this makes maintaining friendships more difficult than ever.

Add this physical transience to higher professional demands and an increase reliance on technology for non-face-to-face communication, and you have a generation of adults who are disconnected and lonely.

Making friends as an adult has always been a far more complex process than making friends as a child or adolescent, but globalization and modernization has complicated the process in a lot of ways.

However, with every new problem comes the opportunity for innovative and exciting solutions, and there are some pretty amazing things out there to improve our chances of finding friends in this evermore isolating world. Here are 5 ways that you can make lasting friends as an adult.

Make Friends as an Adult: Join the Gym

This is an especially effective way for men to make new friends, because men can have a harder time than women at maintaining adult friendships.

However, this option won’t work if you make a beeline right for the weight room or treadmill every time you arrive at the gym.

The key is to participate in as many team sports as possible so that you surpass the casual chatting stage and move on to form actual emotional bonds. Team sports lead to stronger bonds than individual sports, and also have fabulous effects on one’s mental health.

Whether you just moved to a new city and are looking for camaraderie, or you are a new father needing to reconnect with your male peers, make a commitment to get involved at your local gym as a way to protect your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Make Friends as an Adult: Volunteer

We all know that volunteering is a great way to improve your feelings of gratitude, well-being, and life satisfaction. But volunteering is also a great way to make friends with like-minded individuals.

You can find volunteer options that are affiliated with your religious affiliation, a cause you care about, or a political party you identify with. A nice aspect of finding friends through volunteering is that you already know that your values are somewhat aligned, and you will feel good about making friends who will keep you striving to be a better and more generous person.

You can also make friends with the people you are striving to help through your work. All in all, it tends to offer you a solid network of committed people who have the potential to be committed, lifelong friends.

Make Friends as an Adult: Use Social Media

Sometimes social media gets a bad rap as a time waster or a medium that makes people feel lonely and bad about their lives. However, underestimating the value of social media when you are feeling lonely is a big mistake. The key is to stop simply scrolling through your existing newsfeed and to actually get involved in some groups.

One of the most effective ways to meet new friends is to join Facebook groups that can help you connect with people in your area. This can be alumni groups, sorority or fraternity alumni networks, or even groups for people who share your passion for a hobby. This will get you connected to people who are in your area and in your age group.

A quick note for the lonely Moms out there– Facebook is also known for its “Mom Swap Groups” which are community-based groups of women who share used clothing, toys, and household objects between each other but also chat about life, kids, and the community.

No matter where you live, there is probably already an existing group for your city, even if you live in a rural area.

Of course, with anything online, being secure and safe is the first priority, so never meet up with a stranger in a private place and make sure to always tell loved ones where you are going.

Make Friends as an Adult: Host an acquaintance dinner

Sometimes the key to feeling less lonely in adulthood is to push past the barrier from “good friend” to “close friend”. Oftentimes this requires taking the initiative to invite people into your private space and share a meal together.

There are a lot of psychological benefits that come along with sharing food with those we hope to be close with, this is why going out for dinner is such a popular dating activity. By inviting acquaintances or friends over for dinner, you can establish a more intimate boundary with them, share a meal, and move the friendship into a more meaningful place.

Try to keep the dinner to 4 or less people, because once gatherings grow to 5 or more people, conversations tend to break off into smaller groups.

For the dinner, keep things simple with pre-made food options that can be easily heated up and served so that you can focus on your guests instead of the cooking.

For shareable, heart-warming recipes that are easy to serve, check out Saffron Road’s shareable family size meals. Just pop them in the oven, and BAM! You have a dinner ready in minutes and can focus on enjoying your guests!

Make Friends as an Adult: Learn a new language in a classroom setting

Learning a new language in a classroom with other adult students is arguably one of the best ways to make friends as an adult. Taking a language class will not only get you out of the house for a stimulating activity, but it is also a great opportunity to make friends.

When we learn a new language, our vulnerability is at an all-time high because we are forced out of our comfort zone.

Also, language classes tend to promote participation and interaction more than any other learning subject. There are also a lot of adult learners in language classes, because adults of all ages enjoy reaping the benefits of a language education.

Lastly, language classes and language learning tends to lead to travel opportunities, and this is a great way to initiate vacation ideas with your new friends.

While it can feel unnatural or even embarrassing to make a concerted effort to make friends as an adult, it is not something to take lightly or miss out on. Friendship is incredibly important to our physical and emotional health, and can lead to longer, happier lives.

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