Adulthood can feel like a perpetually lonely and isolating time in our lives. We’re all so busy trying to get ahead that our sociability sometimes takes a hit. Old friendships wither and die, whilst new ones seem few and far between. But don’t lose hope just yet. You’re not the only one lamenting the sudden decrease in your circle of friends. So, let’s instead discuss the different ways of new friendships as an adult.

Friendship didn’t seem like such a complicated issue in our early childhood. Not only were we less worried about being rejected, but we also weren’t as picky about who exactly we were hanging out with. And it certainly didn’t hurt that the institution itself supplied us with daily opportunities to interact with other kids. But things are different now that we are adults. The valid fear of rejection aside, friendships take time. Something most of us are a little short on currently. Yet forming these relationships is well worth the effort as good friendships have a myriad of worthwhile benefits.

Beware of your mindset

So where does one start? Well, it’s crucial to be positive and proactive when approaching the topic of making new friends. If you go into the process already thinking of any potential failures or rejection, you probably won’t be able to give it your best try. Likewise, if you later decide to leave your social life up to chance, you probably won’t see good results either. A restructuring of the way you think of the process is duly needed. Instead of it being this exhaustive and somewhat scary task, consider it a great opportunity to rethink and reframe your social needs.

Make time for yourself

We’re all busy trying to juggle the many responsibilities that come with adulthood, so, likely, we rarely have the leftover energy to foster new connections. But setting time aside for potential new friends, calling that kind co-worker who asked you for coffee, and accepting unexpected invitations to events is key to establishing solid friendships. Not scheduling these initial contacts or skipping out on certain bonding activities might mean a missed opportunity or two, so make sure to carve out some time for your social endeavors. Or else you might keep putting it off.

Go ahead and try new things

A huge part of the challenge of making new friends is figuring out where to look. People often stay in their comfort zones and just assume that there are no potential friends to be made out there. However, the problem is not necessarily the lack of opportunities for friendships, but more so our inability to put forth the effort needed to find them. Don’t be scared to try new things. It’s important to expand your horizons when making new friends. Who knows, you might not be the only one venturing out of their comfort zone.

Utilize social media

Social media is meant to connect people. Therefore, it is a great way to seek out friendships. No matter the distance or time that has passed, our social media accounts are just ripe with possibilities of (re)establishing bonds with like-minded people. Whether it is a follower on Instagram or an old acquaintance on Facebook. There’s also a bunch of apps and websites that specialize in helping people find friends with similar interests. Checking those out as well, couldn’t hurt. All in all, being aware of just how useful social media is in the search for new connections is a step in the right direction.

Not every connection is meant to be a friendship

The most important piece of advice to keep in mind during this journey is that if something doesn’t feel right, it’s alright to let go. Whether it’s a long-standing friendship that suddenly feels foreign or a budding one with an evident lack of effort, sometimes certain connections just don’t work out — and that is okay! It is important to deepen meaningful relationships, but it is fine to drift away from some people. Be kind to yourself and trust your instincts. Give yourself time to grieve this loss but don’t ever let it stop you from trying again. Remember that not every method mentioned works the same for everyone, so take the time to figure out what works for you.  

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An avid reader and freelance writer with a passion for intercultural communication and cultural analysis. A twenty-something social media newbie exploring the good, the bad and the ugly of the many platforms that make up our current worldview.