Having moved to a foreign country at the age of 27, I know how hard it can be to make new friends, especially as an adult!
Gone are the days of being thrown into a classroom together – making friends with adults requires a bit more creativity and let’s be honest, bravery!
So, if you’re struggling, here are a few tips on how to genuinely make friends as an adult:
1) Join clubs or organizations
One of the best ways to make genuine friends is to start with your interests…
For example, if you love photography, look for a local photography club in your area.
The reason why this is a good route to take if you want to make friends is that you’ll meet like-minded people!
They’ll have similar interests, and this will help you bond, especially in those first encounters when it can be awkward to know what to say.
2) Take classes or workshops
Learning a new skill is another way to make new friends as an adult.
For example, I had never tried Chi Quong before, but I saw a poster advertising a class not far from where I live. So, I decided to check it out, and lo and behold, I met some really cool people!
Workshops and classes are a great, informal way to get to know people.
There’s less pressure too – everyone is focused on the class, and afterward, you’ll have some great conversation starters to use when approaching people!
3) Join the gym
Now, if you want to kill two birds with one stone, this is for you!
Joining a gym is another way to make genuine friends, and get in shape at the same time!
Once you’ve signed up, keep an eye out for friendly faces. Don’t be afraid to approach people and ask about other sporting activities.
You never know, you might meet someone who organizes weekly nature walks, and this could be a great way to meet people!
4) Attend social events and meetups
Have you tried using apps to make new friends?
Whilst you could try friendship apps such as Bumble BFF or Meetup, there are also plenty of events promoted on social media.
Whether it’s through Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok, why not search for groups in your area and see what’s happening?
This is a great way to see the people you’re going to be meeting beforehand through their profiles, and you can even strike up a conversation via chat if you’re feeling brave!
5) Find your voice
Now, this point is one of the most important and one that has served me well – find your voice and use it!
Granted, for those of you who are living in a country where the native language isn’t your own, this can be extremely daunting and you may want to brush up on your lingo skills first.
But if not, it’s simply a case of getting out and speaking to people.
Go to your local:
- Park/beach/nature areas
The truth is, once you start speaking to people, you’ll gain confidence. The more people you speak to, the more opportunity to find someone you get along with!
6) Use social media
Now, I mentioned using social media earlier to find social events, but truth be told, its uses are infinite.
You can either search for people who live locally and reach out if you notice they’ve got similar interests (just do it in a genuine, sincere way), or you could even create your own events!
I’ve seen many people on Facebook, for example, setting up book clubs or asking in groups if anyone is interested in going on a hike.
Put it this way – social media could be your ticket to making new friends as an adult, you’ve just gotta put yourself out there!
7) Attend community events
Another genuine way to make new friends as an adult is to stay informed of community events.
When I first moved to the village I live in, I’d say hi to neighbors and stop for the occasional chat. But it wasn’t until there was a village party that I got the opportunity to speak to people in more depth and actually make friends.
I recommend checking out your local town hall for any events going on, or get online and see what people in the area are setting up!
And rather than just be a spectator…try my next point:
That’s right – if you really want to get your foot in the door and start making friends, volunteer your time!
- Helping a local charity
- Offering support at an annual event
- Volunteering at a sporting event
You’re bound to meet people, especially if you’re working with them for more than a day or so.
This method will give you a sense of purpose and curb loneliness, but also could lead you to meet some awesome, like-minded people!
9) Be open-minded
Something to be mindful of when trying to make genuine friends as an adult is to be open-minded.
You might not find people who resemble your childhood friends, or the friends you’ve left behind (especially if you’ve moved).
But that’s okay!
You could meet someone who has a completely different character or interests to you, and get along like a house on fire.
You could meet someone older than you, or younger, and find you have tons in common.
The point is:
Don’t pass over people just because they don’t look like your type. Get to know everyone, and avoid passing judgment!
10) Join a co-working space
This point is for folks who freelance or work from home – join a co-working space.
It’s true that many people make friends in the workplace, friendships that continue long after one or both people move on.
So, if you can find an office desk to rent, you’ll likely meet others who work in a similar style to you!
And hey, there isn’t a more genuine way to make friends than to chat with people by the water cooler or coffee machine, right?
11) Take acquaintances to the next level
You might not have any friends, but you probably know people “from around”…you know, the guy you say hi to at your local cafe every morning.
Or the kind woman who always helps you find what you’re looking for in the local shop.
Why not see if you can take these casual acquaintances to the next level – turn them into friends!
For example, I knew that the daughter of the owner of a restaurant I frequent was looking for someone to practice her English with.
I offered to meet her once a week, and from language exchange, we’ve evolved to going for walks together, shopping and even having dinner with each other’s families!
Be genuine and authentic
And finally, it goes without saying, if you want to make genuine friends with people, you need to be genuine yourself!
Don’t try to be someone you’re not just in the hopes of making friends.
Yes, be open-minded, but if you fake your way into meeting new people, it could backfire later down the line (and all your hard work will be for nothing).
Be yourself, be kind, and put yourself out there!
I know how daunting it can be, but trust me, being lonely is even worse.
So, as my mom often tells me, good friendships take time to develop. All you can do is be proactive and willing to meet new people and try new things in the meantime!