Making New Friends as an Adult

Creating Social Connections

Whether you’re starting fresh in a new city or looking to expand your existing social circle, making friends as an adult can seem like a tricky balancing act. Busy schedules vie for our time, and new friendships require a significant amount of intention. Thankfully, the meaningful friendships you desire aren’t as far away as you might think. Here, we look at some of the best ways to find and keep new friendships as an adult.

Making Introductions

Instead of putting pressure on yourself to form deep friendships fast, embrace making new acquaintances first. This mindset shift can help increase your confidence, and even if your new acquaintance isn’t a future best friend, studies show that maintaining “weak” social ties with others can still significantly increase our day-to-day happiness. Here’s a list of ways you can strike up a great conversation with a new pal:

  • Common Ground. Find something to comment on or ask about that you have in common with someone else. For example, you might ask someone in line at a coffee shop about their favorite order.
  • Use Humor. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Making a joke or funny comment is a great way to break the ice with a new friend.
  • Give a Compliment. Spread some kindness with a genuine compliment. You never know when you might make someone’s day with a few kind words.
  • Show You Care. Most people enjoy being asked about their passions and hobbies. Ask someone to tell you more about what they love to do, and let them know you care with active listening and follow-up questions.
friends socializing

Finding a Community

Local clubs, classes, and volunteer opportunities offer consistency and shared experiences that guarantee you’ll be able to start making new friends quickly. Here’s a list of places to get connected:

  • Language learning classes
  • Book clubs
  • Exercise classes
  • Educational seminars
  • Creative workshops
  • Makers’ spaces
  • Sports teams
  • Trivia nights
  • Hiking groups
  • Community gardening groups
  • Religious organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations

Keeping in Touch

Consistency is key when it comes to deepening and maintaining new friendships. Regular catch-ups and check-ins build trust, and research shows that it takes at least 60 hours of quality time to solidify a friendship. Here are some tips for keeping in touch with new friends:

  • Communicate Expectations. Let your new friends know when you are anticipating an especially busy week, and be honest when you need to prioritize other commitments. Good communication makes all the difference.
  • Send a Message. Small, thoughtful gestures like a kind text message or a handwritten card are great ways to keep in touch with friends. Keep it simple, and let your friends know that you care about them.
  • Activity Stacking. Going to walk the dog, pick up lunch, or run a quick errand? “Stack” your activity by inviting a friend to join you.
  • Plan Ahead. For those with especially busy schedules, planning is a must. Find the gaps in your calendar, and commit to spending quality time with friends.

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