: What is on a bagel and something you deserve?

A: Everything.

As an adult, you may find that your larger friend circle has dwindled or that you are giving out all the friendship qualities but not getting the friendships that you want in return. That is perfectly normal. After high school and college, time and space can make relationships temporal. Once you are an adult, the tactics of making friends as a kid no longer apply. You cannot just punch a person like you used to on the playground and magically become friends (or does that only happen in movies?). The common neighborhood, school, and church group will no longer gel you to people the same way it has in the past. You get to decide what common ground you and another person stands on and you get to choose if you would like to be someone’s friend. 

The question is though, as an adult, what are some ways to do that? In this article, you will learn about tools to help you to make friends as an adult and you will gain the confidence to approach a potential friend because chances are they are looking for the same thing. Here are some ways to help:

  • The Qualities to Look for in a Great Friend
  • Adaptable Strategies of Making Friends for Different Personality Types
  • Guided Introspection on What Makes You a Good Friend to Others
Collage of memes about the up and down friendship of Lilo and Stitch
The friendship that you should look for is one like Lilo and Stitch. Stitch got Lilo through issues of acceptance, mourning the death of both her parents, and an alien invasion. That shows the signs of an awesome friendship through it all. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

How Do You Know Someone Will Make a Great Friend?

People want friends because they make life sweeter. They are the person you laugh with, cry with, and bails you out in times of trouble. According to Psychology Today, there are specific qualities that you should look for in a friend. The main characteristics that cross different cultures and signify a good friend are trustworthiness, honesty, dependability, loyalty, and the ability to trust others. When looking for a friend, consider where you found them and what they were doing. For instance, if they were reading a book in the library, asking questions in a college course you are taking, or they arguing with someone at work, and cheating to get to the top in a business atmosphere. In all situations, look for friends that demonstrate the core qualities as outlined above.

Some indicators of the friend they will be to you is how they interact with family, friends, and coworkers. After you see the qualities that suggest that they would make a great friend, build common ground with them. If you both like tea, awesome! Go out for tea on a regular basis. If they work out and you want to start changing your lifestyle, make them your new workout buddy.

Meme graph showing that introverts often have an easier time making furry friends o have an extrovert seek them out.
As an extrovert you may want to call anything on two legs or four a friend because you make connections easily but they may not be the best quality. For the introverts you may resort to calling your pet rock a friend--no that does not count-- because of social anxiety. Image courtesy of Memes.

Networking and Friend-making for Introverts v. Extroverts

Tips on Navigating Social Situations for Every Personality Type

For extroverts there are things you can do to form quality friendships. Hang out with the person, but make sure to get to know them on a deeper level. Make sure to not see someone too much. Get to know what type of friend you are friends with. If they are an introvert, try not to invite them to parties or big events all the time that may be too much. Introverts often make friends with extroverts because their shy personalities are often brought out vicariously through their friend. Make sure to give them all your attention in more intimate settings. Also, try unique hang out spots that will make them talk more or make you not dominate the conversation (maybe go to the museum).

For introverts, it may be harder to make new interactions with people. Introverts often have anxiety for the awkward social interactions and the necessary small talk they have to make. Therefore, the best thing to do is to eliminate the small talk and have pointed conversations. This may require some previous planning on the part of the adult who wants to make a friend. The trick is to learn how to turn on the social interaction and turn it off to continue to get energy from being alone. Even celebrities, who interact with people all the time, are introverts. Some famous introverts include Jessica Simpson, Selma Hayek, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Keira Knightely, and the list goes on and on. If they can face fans, cultivate friendships, and find partners, then so can you!

Some tips that may help are coming up with questions or ideas of what to talk about before the interaction. Think, but at the same time go with the flow. You don’t want this to feel like an interview. Figure out five places that would be great to meet a new friend. Once you start going to those places, make sure to keep in touch with potential friends by asking for their number, email, social media, business card by saying, “this was great, how can I keep in touch?”

Meme of Bob Ross showing togetherness through drawing branches together
People are relational beings and need friendships. Bob Ross, the philosophical guru and painter, knew that when he created his work. Togetherness is the unity that binds his paintings together. Image courtesy of Distractify.

The Formula on How to Find, Get, and Keep Good Friends

Places to Go and Ways to Make Friends

Sike, there are no perfect formulas on friendship but these ways will definitely help. Trust the process and be true to yourself. Some of the best friends are in the most mundane of circumstances (the person who sits next to on the plane) to the craziest circumstances (the person you happen to go skydiving with). Either way, be open to the possibility of making friends in everything.

Oftentimes, adults are transplants and this is why looking for friends in a new environment is difficult. You may already have a great support system where you are originally from, but where you live it may be hard to find people. Fear not because getting to know people and the new place that you are in go hand-in-hand. When I moved to Pittsburgh for college, I knew absolutely no one out there, but now I have many connections and great friends. How I found them as an introvert is by pursuing my hobbies (reading, museum-going, and drinking tea) and meeting people through work (working at a library and a museum). One of the friends that I met in class, I went out on a whim and met up with her in New York City during Winter Break. What we bond over is love of the arts and that is what has taken us to many places in Pittsburgh and other states. Also, a lot of my connections are made on social media. My love of the arts gives me the confidence to reach out to curators I admire and ask them about their work.

Once you find the person that exhibits the qualities of a great friend, make time for them. Especially, in the quarantine, it's important to maintain and reach out to your support group. This may look like scheduling weekly facetimes with one of your buddies or reaching out via social media to the friends that you may have fallen off with due to time and space. Sometimes, you already made friends as a kid that can help you in your adult life.

Squidward from Spongebob meme where he talks about his feelings to his friends like a therapy appointment
To make sure that you don’t overload your friends, make sure that you get yourself right so that you can be a great friend. Image courtesy of Buzzfeed.

Be the Friend You Want to be

Ways to Improve Yourself to Be a Better Friend

It is important that when you look for a friend that you show yourself friendly and that you have the right qualities to reciprocate a friendship. Therefore, take this time to do a self-inventory. Are you empathetic, can you listen without holding judgement, and can you offer support? Listening is key. Try not to listen to respond, but rather wait 3 seconds after they have said something to digest what they said. Once you do that, repeat what they said to show them that you listened and then, respond. That simple listening strategy can make the world of difference to someone.

Two 80 year old women wearing "Double Trouble" Chip and Dale shirts indicating their strong friendship.
Be like these two lovely ladies--two peas in a pod. They have obviously been rocking with each other for many years now. Build that foundation with someone today. Image courtesy of Distractify.

You Got This!

In all your friend-making endeavors, we hope that you are successful. Let us know how you successfully adulted by making a friend.

Jul 6, 2020