ere's how it goes:

Act 1, Scene 1

Kid 1 is playing under the play set when kid 2 appears. The conversation is as follows:

Kid 2: “Hi, what are you playing?”

Kid 1: “I’m playing family. Do you want to play with me?”

Kid 2: “Yes, do you want to be friends?”

Kid 1: “Yes! Let’s be friends.”

(The two kids run off together and play)

Do you remember the good old days when you were a kid who could instantly go to a park and become friends with other kids? I know I do. When we were kids making friends was easy, and there wasn’t much thought that needed to be put into it. However, as you have gotten older, you have probably noticed how to make friends; you have to put yourself out there more and be willing to accept rejection, which is never an easy thing to do., Being an adult, you will need to learn to be OK with this despite it being a hard pill to swallow. As you continue through this article, you will learn more about what makes a good friend in your twenties, how to make new friends in a new city in your 20s, and how to keep them.

What is a Friend?

Someone to confide in, a shoulder to lean on, a person who supports you.

The best thing about friends is that they have your back, they’re a support system, and they’re people to go out and have fun with. Friends help make our worlds go round. Image courtesy of huff post.

Now, what exactly are friends? We may now consider this question, but our answers constantly change as we age. As a kid, a friend maybe someone you play with, tell secrets to and find trouble with. As a teenager, a friend, perhaps someone you call up when bored, go on late-night drives, and discuss how unfair life is. Finally, as an adult in your early twenties and older, a friend may be someone you confide in, go out to dinner with, or have wine nights while just chatting. 

These are just a few of the many ways we describe what a friend is to us. Just like our definition of what a friend is, the way that we make friends change as we get older too. You can walk up and ask anyone to play with you as a kid. While as a teenager, you have to “prove” yourself, and as an adult with children, you may become friends with your kids' friends' parents. Easy enough, right? But how about making friends in your twenties, especially if you have just moved to a new city? What's the secret? Is there some code or magic word you have to say?

If you are new to a city or just trying to make new friends in your twenties, it helps to understand what makes a good friend first. 

What Makes a Good Friend?

Qualities to look for and to avoid.

out door activities with friends
When making a new friend, sometimes you must put yourself out there and be willing to lend or accept a helping hand. Image courtesy of Parade.

When picking and choosing your friends, you may think that you already know all there is to know. After all, you have had friends throughout your school years and never had any problems. Although this may be true as you get into your twenties and later years in life, many of you will realize, or maybe already have, that making new friends as you get older can be a lot more complicated than when you were younger.

Making a new friend can be more challenging for some than others, but an important thing to keep in mind when looking for someone new to hang out with is that you aren’t the only one looking for a friend. Friendship is a two-way street, just like any other relationship you have in your life. If it appears early on that only one person is putting in any effort to be friends, this is a tell-tale sign right from the start that you should probably avoid becoming friends. This is just one example of many when it comes to qualities to look for and to avoid when making friends. Below is a list of markers that you should look for when making friends, as well as a list that contains some red flags.

Good Qualities to look for:

1) They have morals

This is a quality in friends that doesn't always come straight to mind when we think about making them. But if you stop and think for a moment, you will realize that people you are friends with or have been friends with in the past either have good morals or morals similar to those you were raised with. Now, this isn’t the end all be all when it comes to making friends, but it can certainly help determine how the two of you will get along and permit you both to see ‘if’ and ‘what’ morals you both share.

2) They show that they can be trusted

Now, you must have heard the saying “show not tell” or “actions speak louder than words” growing up. So, you may think, ‘OK, lady, what’s your point?’ Well, the point of mentioning these two sayings here is to point out further how when it comes to meeting new people, keep in mind that you shouldn’t hand someone all your trust right away. You will learn the longer you know someone whether it is OK to trust them.

3) You can depend on them

It seems pretty obvious, right? But you will be surprised to learn that some people can appear to have everything you could want, except for this one. A friend you can depend on can make a world difference in some people's lives and, in extreme cases, can be the difference between life or death. 

4) They are loyal and great at listening

Loyalty, similar to dependability, is a quality to look for in friends. You want to have the confidence that if anything were to happen to you, your friend would be a phone call or text message away and able to help you in an emergency. Along with being loyal, they should at listening. Whether talking about something severe occurring in your life or if you just want to vent about things, a good friend is there to lend a shoulder to cry on and support you as you need them.

5) Finally, they are non-judgemental

Now, this must seem obvious and a bit ridiculous to read. But making friends, true friends who are non-judgemental, is one of the top qualities of what makes a good friend. Unlike the other qualities listed, this one seems like it should be the easiest and one of the first things to spot. You will most likely get a sense of how judgemental an individual may be after talking to them and getting to know them for a few days. You should try to keep an open mind that everyone is judgemental from time to time. You just don’t want to be friends with someone who judges and questions every little detail of your life.

Bad Qualities to Avoid:

1) The constant need to “one-up” you

We have all experienced this at one point or another. More likely than not, within our own families. Have you ever sat at the dinner table telling your family about your day or about a good grade you received on something when one of your siblings decides to announce that they received an even better grade than you on something else? I know I have. It’s bad enough when one-upping happens when you are talking among your family members, but it can feel even worse when someone who is supposed to be your friend does this to you. A friend should want to support you and celebrate your victories with you. Not belittle you and make things you accomplished appear less than.

2) They are a bad influence

“I’m an adult; no one tells me what to do.” Although this may be true, this doesn’t eliminate the fact that whether you like it or not, your friends or the people you surround yourself with tend to influence you. For example, this means that if a friend of yours suggests that you guys do something that you know is a bad idea, you are more likely to go along with it because they want to do it versus if you were by yourself.

3) They bully and belittle you every chance they get

Do you ever call one another names or say things as a joke to one another? If you have been friends with someone long enough, you probably have. Now there is a fine line between bullying/belittling someone and just teasing them. When you are just teasing one another, both parties will see the joke and, more likely than not, laugh at it together. But if your friend is constantly saying things that hurt you or are crossing the line, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your friendship and see if it is more harmful than helpful in your life.

Where to go to Make Friends

If you’re new to the area, you want to make friends but might not know where to start.

friends in your 20s
Get out and try something new! Image courtesy of every girl.

If you’ve just moved to a new city, it can be scary. But, as we discussed, there are good and bad qualities to look for in friends, and making friends in your twenties is a bit different than making friends as a kid. Some of the best places to look for friends include: 

  • The gym where you might see some of the same people every day. If this occurs, it never hurts to strike up a conversation or see if you can work out together. In addition, several people use the gym to relieve stress and think about the events throughout the day.
  • Through volunteering. Now, if you meet someone through a volunteer organization, there is a high likelihood that you both have at least a few things in common. This is because volunteering allows you to get out into your community and meet others who may share a similar passion or interest with you.
  • Social events are being held in your area. Neighborhood block parties, farmer's markets, and festivals are possibilities. This allows you to socialize and get to know others around the area. So come join in on a game or grab drinks with someone at the event and talk after.
  • Go out to a local bar. If you do this, ensure you are careful and not push your limits. Keep your drink in your hand or eyesight, and accept drinks from whoever you accept.
  • Take weekend classes now; these could be academic courses if you feel like returning to school or a leisure class such as a workout, dance class, or adult art class. You will most likely see the same people through these classes every time. If there is someone that you talk to all the time in the class or someone who piques your interest and makes you want to get to know them, don’t be afraid to ask them before or after a course if they would like to meet up to go out to coffee or get drinks sometime. Most people would say yes. Who doesn’t enjoy a drink while talking to someone new?

Like many things in life, making new friends takes time, patience, and work. But don’t let that stand in your way. Leave in the comments if you have any tips on making friends in your twenties or have made a friend and want to share how you both met!

Aug 24, 2022