Making friends is hard to do.
As a kid, making friends can be tough. There are cliques and social classes in school that can be difficult to navigate. Sometimes you make a friend only to find out they are moving, or perhaps they ditch you when they meet their first love or you have a big fight. Thank goodness all of that stuff gets easier as an adult. Oh, wait! It doesn’t get easier at all. In fact, it can seem like making friends actually gets harder as you grow up. Without the context of a classroom full of people your own age with similar levels of life experience, the world of potential friends can just seem like a vast universe of loneliness.
So , how does an adult make friends? Mostly the same way we start dating people. Through work, social activities, or through mutual associations. This doesn’t mean we have to sip a drink at a bar by ourselves to meet like-minded folks. We just need to put ourselves out there.
Get a hobby. Obviously not every hobby is conducive to meeting new people, but some certainly are. Sports teams and social clubs have been fostering friendships for years. We also have the benefit of the internet to neatly organize and schedule these events. Now it’s super easy to find your fellow soccer enthusiasts or film buffs in your area.
Accept invitations. It can be hard to say yes to social invitations from a person you’ve just met, so it’s okay to keep it simple. Start small, and don’t assume someone is just being polite. If you are new at the office and your cubical neighbor invites you to join her at the salad bar, give it a go. It may open up a whole new network for you.
Extend invitations. The nice thing about casual invitations is that they are just that. If you ask a coworker or acquaintance to a happy hour or a baseball game and the two of you don’t hit it off, there’s really nothing to lose. For even less pressure, invite a big group to get together and hopefully you’ll get a chance to talk with everyone.
Take advantage of the reason social media was invented in the first place -- to be social! Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be great for determining who of your acquaintances share interests with you and have real friend potential.
Reconnect. People often keep close friends from college, high school, even elementary school well into adulthood. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a former bestie. He or she might just be waiting for your call.