How to make friends as an adult

How to make friends as an adult

Ah making friends as an adult, it’s a strange thing, isn’t it? It’s almost like dating. I’ve realised this even more since moving to another country. You meet new people and you’re like oh hey do we have enough in common? Do we value the same things? Do you love brunch the way I do? Are you stingy or generous? Do we get along well enough that I want to devote time and energy to building this relation..I mean friendship?! It can be hard to make new friends that compare to the ones you grew up with, played sport or worked with for years. The friends who know your life story and all your thoughts or traits and still like you anyway.

When I was in my early 20’s, five out of seven of my absolute best friends, that I spent most of my time with – all moved states within three months of each other. Although they were obviously still my best friends, I had to make new ones that you know, lived in the same city as me. When I moved to Ireland at 27, I had to do the same thing because I didn’t know a soul. Not having close friends around you can be lonely, whether you’re single or partnered up. I think your friends are incredibly important in life and I would be lost as fuck without mine. When I went through these periods of not having close friends around I was lonely. It’s a very strange feeling – I wasn’t lonely in the way of wanting a partner. I simply missed my close girlfriends.

Sadly enough I’m not the only one that has felt like this. There are so many people that feel this way, especially in my home town of Canberra as it’s a very transient place with universities, sporting facilities and Government work where people often come and go. It’s also common among the expats the move across the globe with no friends because they love travel. You miss those close friendships. Making friends as an adult, friendships where you can rock up to each other’s house, call each other crying, see each other five times a week and always have something to say can be much harder to make, especially as a busy adult.

What I miss most about having my closest friends in the same city are all the small things you take for granted. The moments where you don’t even have to ask yourself if something is weird. The phone calls that are like “Yo bitch, I’m near your house I’m coming over”. The calls that go “Oh my god if Bruce touches my pinky finger one more time I’m gonna kill him, am I crazy?!”. I especially miss the “Hey I’m dragging your ass to this gig even if you hate it” friends. 

So how do you bridge the gap between your gym, work or brunch friends to actual see each other all the time, close friends? Sometimes it feels like this ridiculous dating game! You need to find a person you click with that shares the same logic and common interests with you. You also don’t want to be a stage five clinger so you’re like “Shit, do they like me as much as I like them? Do they want to hang out more?” or you finally do spend time together and you’re like “Oh man that was great! I want to see them again already, am I being too desperate?!”. Isn’t it worth it though, when you click with someone, have loads of fun and you feel comfortable telling them anything?

I also realise how silly some of this can sound. Like people are just people. We should all just vow to ask those people we get along with if they want to hang out. What is the worst that could happen? If they don’t want to, there are plenty of other fish in the sea. Yes I just used a dating reference. If you see someone’s stuff on Facebook and you think damn that chicks cool, I reckon we’d get along – maybe you should message them. Send them this blog link if you think they’re going to be weird. If they are weird, you clearly wouldn’t get along so cast that reel out for a different fish. Once you find someone you get along with, the friendship can organically grow to a place where you do invite yourself over and eat all their food, call them upset or have too many wines on a Tuesday. Just like a potential partner, you have to work at it and spend time together! Tell each other emotional shit and do mundane things and see if it’s still fun. Some of the times I’ve laughed the most was with friends in the middle of a grocery store.

Most of the time I think the struggle is actually finding people to ask, it’s hard to get out there and meet others if you want more friends or to get away from some rubbish ones. How do you do it? Doing what? Where do you go? It can be intimidating to go places lone wolf. At the end of the day though what is scarier – feeling shit and lonely for a long time or being a bit nervous going solo to an event where you could potentially make friends?

Here are some ideas you could try to make some new friends:

  • Meet Up. This is a cool website where people make all types of events, that you can go along to. Think cooking classes, hikes, pubs, book clubs etc.
  • Social sport like tag rugby, netball etc.
  • Yoga classes if you’re into that, namaste
  • Community/private gym classes
  • Park Runs – a group that meet and run in parks..quite obvious isn’t it
  • Music Gigs
  • Casual Second Jobs

Meeting people at the gym is my favourite option here, if you’re into exercise. What can bring people together more than dying in a disgusting workout? Seeing each other at least three times a week to finish said disgusting workout? Gossiping about all the hotties at the gym? When I was working at a private gym, I would often see clients becoming friends and meeting up outside of the gym and it’s the greatest thing, made me feel all mooshy inside. Another of my favourite options are music gigs – people that like the same music as you will always be a win in my eyes. The music is an icebreaker, you can talk about bands and I feel that the humans that attend these kind of events are nice, easy going people. Second jobs are great too! I’ve always had two jobs and some of my closest friends came from my second job just doing easy reception at a beauty salon on weekends and weeknights after my usual 9-5!

community gym

If you do have a few close friends, maybe it’s worth reaching out to them and letting them know how you feel – asking if you can come along to some social gatherings. People are actually much nicer than what we give them credit for. Sometimes it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there.

Side note – if you’ve made friends in recent times that you think are pretty awesome and are on the path to those hang out all day, come over whenever friendships – let them know you dig their vibes! Don’t take it for granted! Ask them over for dinner and wine so that you bridge the gap of becoming friends that hang out at home and not just in cafes. The friendships you’ve formed over years and years took time and new ones do too.

Yours in flourishing friendships,

Helena

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