veryone should have the skills to make friends, whether you’re a kid or an adult. You see, it was so much easier back then to make friends as kids...unless it was difficult then as well. Sigh. In any case, shouldn’t all people have someone to confide in, someone to vent all your frustration to, someone who will listen to your issues and rationalize your situations? A sounding board for your ideas? A friend? Of course! And now, you are old enough to hit the bars and clubs or outdoor concerts and open mics, or whatever gets you vibing! You just need to vibe with somebody...
Is it really that necessary to have friends?
Actually, it is scientifically proven that having friends can be good for you. Multiple studies and reports have been released to support this. For instance, a report in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior was published in 2010 that said that having strong and healthy friendships can benefit you physically, as they can boost your immune system, decrease the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and reduce the impact of stress and chronic pain.
In addition, there is one study that implicitly conveys that friendships are necessary to maintain good mental health. One study conducted by the Red Cross in partnership with Co-op concluded that more than nine million adults in the United Kingdom are suffering from a “loneliness epidemic” that is slowly eroding their mental health. Therefore, having friends does not mean you have someone to discuss Game of Thrones with; that someone will help you stay healthy and happy.
Now, how do you go about actually making friends, especially now that you are a grown adult? Before understanding the different methods of making friends as an adult, there is something important to note: a study from the University of Kansas recently uncovered data that showed that in order to form a friendship with each other, two people need to spend 90 hours together and to become real close friends, two people have to spend 200 hours together. So, just know that making friends requires a lot of time and patience.
Are you ready to make some friends?
In order to prepare yourself to make friends, it is a good idea to internalize some tips from clinical psychologist Linda Blair that can mentally prepare you to form friendships with people:
Build your self-confidence
In order to find people you think you could love, you need to be able to love yourself. This way, you can be sure that you will find people who will love you for who you actually are, not for what you project yourself to be for the sake of being likeable.
Find something you feel passionate about
If there are some activities and issues that you feel passionate about, then pursue them. That way, when you are volunteering at a social organization or golfing at a golf club, you will eventually find individuals who share your passions.
Put yourself out there
If you do not reach out to some people, then how can you expect them to connect with you? Sometimes, it is best for you to take the first step, even if that means going up to someone and either introducing yourself without any prompting, or asking that someone a question just to get a conversation going.
Meet in a neutral place
Once you have talked to some people and are ready to meet them outside the initial environment where you made connections with those people, you should choose to meet in a public place that is considered to be neutral. That way, there is less pressure on you when you’re hosting people in that place than when you’re hosting them in your home.
Asking people questions about themselves and listening intently to their answers is crucial, as most people today are not good listeners, but only good listeners are worthy of making friends with.
Don’t expect too much
Do not have a lot of expectations from one person that you want to be friends with. It is much easier and better to have a diverse bunch of friends for different reasons.
Next, here are some tips that focus on expanding your social circle so that you have a wider pool of people to choose potential friends from:
Reach out to your neighbors
You may not connect with all of your neighbors, but how will you know if there’s no connection between you and your neighbors if you don’t go out of your way to talk to them? Maybe compliment them on some aspect of their home that you genuinely like and then ask them for their advice on home maintenance.
Befriend someone near your job
You may need a friend to whom you can turn to for work-related conversations. It would be better to make friends with someone who works in the vicinity of your workplace rather than at your workplace, so that you have someone with whom you can safely gossip about work-related issues or random incidents at work. Or just how much your job sucks. Maybe your friend’s job also sucks, and you can bond over job suckiness and whose job sucks more.
Have an epic quest with someone
If possible, you can have some sort of adventure modeled on “The Goonies” with some people! Unless, you have to get to work early to turn in data reports. Then this definitely isn’t going to work well. Ugh, trying to make friends as an adult can be so boring.
Don’t listen to Sally Albright and Harry Burns
The idea posited in the film “When Harry Met Sally,” that platonic male-female friendships are not possible isn’t true—they are, and they're healthy for you! You will gain insight into the general outlook of the opposite sex and begin to truly understand the inner workings and contexts behind certain views held by the opposite sex.
Now, it’s time to take some practical steps to make some friends. Here are a few selected ways to make friends:
Download the friend-finding app, Hey! VINA
There is an app called Hey! VINA, which was launched in 2015 by Olivia June with the goal of establishing empowering groups for women. It helps find nearby friends for women. It works like Tinder as you go through people’s profiles to determine whether you need to swipe left to pass on connecting, or swipe right to send a virtual "hello" to a potential match.
Take adult classes
Another way to find friends is to search for any available classes that are conveniently near you or online, or to check out community colleges or local institutions that are offering self-improvement or recreational courses that interest you and enroll in them. This way, you can network with people who are also learning cooking, baking, dancing, cycling and much more with you.
Find a local book club or visit the library
The New Yorker reported on a 2011 study featured in the Annual Review of Psychology that concluded that people who read mostly fiction are better at empathizing with others. This means that fiction or novel readers can have an easier time connecting with people, so if you’re a lover of fiction books, then it would be a great idea to visit your nearest public library and see if there's anyone in your favorite section in the library who is intriguing to you or who is inspecting an anticipated book you can't wait to dive yourself into. You can even go one step forward and form a book club with your newly made friends who share the same interests in books.
Take your dog for a walk at a nearby park
If you have a furry companion, then take him or her to a dog park for a walk and pay attention to which pets your dog takes a liking to. Then, you can start a conversation with the owners of the pets. This way, you can eventually make friends with people who are also dog lovers like you.
Use social media to your advantage.
Social media...social media...SOCIAL MEDIA! Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, LinkedIn...or any other new social media app that comes out, social media can be quite helpful when seeking out new or old friends, as well networking for business opportunities. Basically, you can be just one like, comment, direct message or retweet away from creating a new friendship with people that you follow. Also, you can search for hashtags that you are interested in, like #makeup, #food, and #netflix, in the search bar to find people who post these hashtags in their posts. Then, you can connect with these people as well!
Well, what are you waiting for? Go out there, and make some friends. Reach out to people - be that hand that is put forward to help people, but instead of pulling people up from some physical catastrophe, you may be pulling people out of their own misery-filled existence and into a life filled with people who care about what they think or feel!