t seems like as we grow older making friends with the opposite sex becomes more and more difficult. Things were simpler back when we were kids. We didn't have to worry about these pesky hormones or anything like that. Nowadays things feel so much more complicated. Especially if you’re a girl looking to make guy friends. Perhaps there is a coworker whose company you enjoy and you’d like to hang out with him after work sometime. Maybe there is a male student in your class who you think you get along well with. Perhaps you just want a friend to play video games with that won’t judge you. Well, good news! We here at Adultist have put together a short guide to help you make more male friends.
General Tips For Making Friends as an Adult
In truth men really aren't all that different from women when it comes to making friends so to start things off let’s go over some universal friend-making strategies then we will move on to some specific scenarios and finally to male-specific approaches.
The first thing you should keep in mind when looking to make new friends is that most people are naturally open to new friendships. Studies show that people actually tend to like people who approach them for conversation more than the person approaching them with the conversation likes the person they are approaching. Basically, people tend to like people who approach them with conversation. You should also keep the idea in mind that the people you are speaking with for the first time probably like you. After all, you haven't done anything to make them dislike you and if you approach people with this mentality you tend to come off as warmer and easier to talk to, which in turn makes people like you more.
This isn’t to say that absolutely everyone will like you. Sure there are some people who have a chip on their shoulder or have been/currently are going through something personal that is affecting their ability to create and maintain friendly relationships, but those individuals should be pretty easy to pick up on if you know what signs to look for. In fact, before we continue, let’s talk about some signs to look out for that will let you know a person is not interested in being your friend.
Reading the Signs
You can generally tell when a person is not interested in being friends with you based on a few signs. These signs are often involuntary or even subconscious cues. They may be too nice to tell you they don’t want to be friends directly to your face so learning these signs will help save you time and energy.
First off, you should pay attention to the conversations you both have, or rather the lack thereof. Are you the one who initiates conversations all the time? Do you greet them first or do they greet you first? If you’re the one initiating all the conversations and greeting it may mean the person isn’t very interested in you and maybe only engages with you out of courtesy. Don’t just look at this though, based on the scenario it could be that the person is just shy or genuinely doesn’t notice you until you engage them in conversation. How do they respond to your attempts at conversation? Do they seem engaged in the conversation or do they try to cut things short? If their answers are short and closed off they may not be interested in your friendship.
You should also observe and take note of the person’s body language when you're around them and when speaking to them. Do they look tense or uncomfortable while around you? Are they constantly looking for reasons to cut your interactions with them short? Do they face away from you or avoid eye contact when talking with you? If any of these are the case they may be trying to avoid you and that likely means they don’t want to be your friend.
Don’t Get Discouraged!
Now that we have covered some of the things you should look out for when trying to make friends let's jump back into some general tips for making friends as an adult. A good place to start would be some encouraging words. Most friendships don’t happen out of nowhere. In truth, you're going to have to put in some effort to both create and maintain a healthy friendship, much like any relationship. A big part of the friend-making process is putting yourself out there, engaging with others, and being approachable. It definitely isn’t easy, especially if you’re more of an introvert, but the friendships you make from that effort can and will be more than worth it in the long run.
Where Should You Go to Make Friends?
This is a bit tricky because it will be different for everyone. If you’re in college you could try making friends with the students in your class, ideally someone you sit next to every class period or the people you work with on group assignments. This isn’t always the best choice because some people really only come to class for learning and may view everything else as a distraction or annoying. Refer back to our tips for recognizing when someone doesn’t want to be your friend when trying to make friends in this location.
You could try joining a club, organization, or group that meets on a regular basis. The key here is to join something that interests you first. Joining a club or organization that interests you will surround you with individuals that share something in common with you, this is great because it gives you something to talk about. You can also try studying or doing your homework in more public places on campus. If your college has a math lab, writing center, or study hall you should try those places. This way if you need any help you can politely ask others who are there. You may even run into someone from your class. Just like with clubs and orgs, you will have something in common to talk about and discuss. Study groups are a pretty good way to make friends in general.
If you’re not in school you could try making friends with some of your coworkers. These are individuals that you work with every day so maintaining a good relationship with them is a pretty good idea. Still, just like with classrooms, some people only show up for work so they can get that paycheck. They may view your attempts at conversation or friendships as a distraction from their work so keep those tips we talked about before in mind.
You could try going to places that interest you. If you like art, history, or science try paying some museums a visit every now and then and feel free to approach some people at the museum and strike up a conversation with them about their favorite pieces. If you’re into reading, a book club isn’t a bad idea either. The goal is to find places that interest you and have new people you can meet that share the same interest.
Making Friends With Guys Specifically
Now that we have covered general tips for making friends and where to find them we can talk about making friends with guys specifically. When building a relationship with a guy you should take your time. Appearing too interested in him may send him signals that you are romantically interested. Take your time and try to hang out once a week to start off. If you met him at a weekly interest group meeting, spend some time talking to him and getting to know each other's likes and interests. After some time has passed, ask him to do some other activity with you that you think you both would in joy. Men typically don’t get asked out too often so he is very likely to say yes if he enjoys your company and doesn’t have other plans.
Men typically bond more when they are doing activities together. This is why some men are perfectly fine with sitting on a video game with their bros for four to six hours in a single day. Men don’t really mind conversation and oftentimes do welcome it, but the best way to make friends with a guy is to just do stuff you both enjoy with him.
You should also learn to avoid sending mixed signals. Men tend to be wired to think that women who show interest in them are romantically interested in them. So to start, somewhere early in your friendship, you should let him know that you aren't looking for a romantic partner. It’s best to find an organic way of mentioning it instead of just saying it out of the blue.
Your best way of avoiding confusion is to keep track of the signals you're sending him. Let’s go over some examples of signals that guys could potentially take as romantic. Try to avoid talking about your romantic partner, or if you’re single, try to avoid talking about romantic relationships in general. Some men view these kinds of conversations as signs that you are interested in a romantic relationship with them, even if you have specifically told him you aren’t looking for one, guys tend to consider your actions more than your words. A good way to stop this kind of thinking in its tracks is to try and hook your guy friend up with a single friend of yours, this will convey the idea that you aren’t interested in a relationship with him but you do care about his happiness.
When it comes to making friends with men it’s really not as complicated as many people may think. If you can learn or already know the tricks for finding and making friends with people in general, then making friends with guys should be a walk in the park. The main issue you may run into is keeping your relationship platonic. But if you keep what we have discussed today in mind you shouldn’t have too much trouble.