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Nov 6, 2023

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How To Make Friends As An Adult


I wanted to follow on from last week's episode around how to navigate friendship break ups as an adult with how to make some new ones!


I know a lot of people struggle with this, for some reason it can just feel harder as an adult.


For all the introverts and enneagram 5’s out there going nooooooo I don’t want MORE people to deal with, sorry not sorry!


Humans are social creatures, we seek to belong somewhere. That can look totally different for different people. It could be that one person you know has your back, it could be sharing interests, family, community etc. 


Our growth and development lies in our interaction with others.


A huge way we heal is relationally. We can co-regulate with other people. Our emotions are contagious. 


Friendships form a hugely important factor in that. 


There are countless studies on the positive effect of friendships on depression, our health and well-being. 


Many people refer to their friends as ‘chosen family’. 


But how do you do find them as an adult?


Some obvious ways to find some new friends is through work. Remote working has caused a fair few issues in this respect because it’s hugely difficult to form bonds with people if you’re on your own most of the time. 


Companies have recognised this and are adapting with many moving to a hybrid model and essential days in the office. 


But if you work for yourself it’s even more important to make sure you’re doing what you can to connect with like minded people.  This is where networking events come into play. 

It can be incredibly lonely running your own business so the first thing I did was make sure I was always meeting new people and I've made friends for life through it. 


There’s something magical about just being around people who think in a similar way to you and want to achieve similar things that makes everything easier and faster. 


You will not be surprised when I say that having a good level of self awareness is really going to help you with making new friends as an adult. 


Having a clear understanding of your own boundaries, interests, priorities, values, what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what’s important to you etc. What would you love to learn or do more of?


This is all so important in being able to understand your own behaviour within a new friendship and also who might be good or…less good for you.


Embrace new hobbies and interests and don’t fear being really bad at new things…because let’s be honest, you probably will be! It’s really important to maintain a growth mindset when it comes to doing new things, you’re not supposed to be great at it straight away, you’re there to learn with other people in the same position. Allow yourself to see the humour in it, or surprise yourself if you’re a natural, win win! 


One thing you definitely will need to do is put in the effort. It will not just come to you.  So once you’ve done the self exploration I just mentioned, have a look locally for classes and events and GO!  You will not be the only one on your own there and it’s always a nice talking point to find someone else in the same position. 


Say yes more, when you have the capacity to. A lot of friendships form through friends of friends. What’s the worst case scenario, you say yes to something, go, don’t enjoy it and leave? The likelihood is that if someone is friends with your friends, you might have some things in common.


Perhaps you might want to consider volunteering for a cause that’s important to you. 


Get yourself on neighbourhood apps like next door or make an effort to introduce yourself to your neighbours. 


Bumble actually created a friendship version of its app called Bumble BFF. So if you’re not up for dating you can literally put yourself on there to find friends. There’s one for new mothers called Peanut too. There’s lots of them out there. You just need to decide you want to put yourself out there and do a little research. 


The biggest thing that needs to be essential when finding new friends as an adult is to put yourself out there and be yourself. Yes this can feel easier said than done sometimes. It’s very high in my value system so I do find this easy. If anything I find it harder to be ‘less’ me. I don’t see any point being anything else or toning myself down because I know I'm not going to attract the right people into my life that way.  Plus it’s exhausting. 


Rejection can be painful but I really believe that being yourself 100% and someone not resonating with that, really isn’t personal most of the time. 


What do I mean by that, because it sounds like it would be pretty personal right? I mean, if you are yourself and that doesn’t fit with someone else. It does NOT mean anything negative about you. 


It simply means you’re not a match.  Most people won’t be. You’re trying to match interests, values, beliefs, one of you might be a night owl, one might be an early bird. It’s about compatibility, not not being good enough, being different. 


Of course opposites can attract and having fundamental differences doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t be friends. But what it also doesn’t mean is there is anything wrong with you, or them. You just simply might not align at this time in your life for what you’re looking for in someone to spend time with. That’s totally ok. 


Childhood and teenage friendships can be brutal. I choose to believe that if you can learn to know your own worth, adult friendships really don’t have to be that way and can actually be the opposite. 


I think adult friendships can bring joy, healing, growth and so much more. 


You’ve just got to be brave and put yourself out there to find the right ones. 


Approach it positively and with excitement about all the fun things or deep conversations you’ll be able to have. 


There can be so many reasons we might be ‘in the market’ for new friends. It could be you’ve moved away, you’ve ‘broken up with’ a friend or friendship group because your values no longer align. You might have gone through a big life change like a relationship break up which inevitably means people take sides and you might have drawn the short straw. 


Look forward to all the things that come with new friendships based on who you are at your core and where you’re at right now. 


It’s a beautiful thing.