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How to Make Friends as an Adult

Making friends as an adult is hard, but these tips will help

02.17.16
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Just like the heart-puzzle necklace said, best friends are forever. Alas – life is sad. One goes to grad school, one moves to Spain, one never came back from Burning Man.

Now what? You’re new here. Your friends are scattered across the globe; once jovial group texts have become stagnant exchanges of memes.

So…how do we make new friends?

Never fear, Man Repeller is here!

Below, five tips for finding a new BFF.

1. Join Online Communities

“It’s so nice to find someone else as passionate about Corgi butts.”

Quite like how the first selfie is always the best, what you seek is right in front of you. (Hint: your computer screen.)

Search groups on Facebook based on your interests; sort by city, state, hashtags, hobbies. Do you like dogs? Join “Cool Dog Group!” Do you like astrology? Search Facebook for groups of air signs! Conversations start themselves when you find someone else who loves the same memes you do. In groups as big as those, someone lives nearby, and soon you’ll have an IRL friend too!

(I’m in a selfie-themed group — seriously — and have met some of my favorite people ever.)

2. Interest-Based Groups and Events

“In which Simpsons episode did a coyote say, “Find your soulmate, Homer”?

***in unison***

“El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer!!!”

***look at each other with friend-soulmate eyes***

Mutual interest groups don’t only exist online, remember? There are tons of activities that bring people together: soccer, poetry readings, board-game nights, themed trivia — find venues nearby or Google, “Scrabble night [insert city here]” and get yourself out there! A mutual obsession always leads to the best friendships, at least in my experience.

For example: do you like The Simpsons? There’s Simpsons trivia the first Thursday of every month at Berry Park!

3. Take A Class

“Wait, what was the homework?”

Have you always wanted to paint? Sculpt? Write an essay? Sign up for a course on whatever it is you love, or want to learn to love. Your peers will be equally open-minded and eager to learn (whatever the subject is), and nothing brings people together like mutual confusion over learning how to do something.

“Psst! Do you get this?” …And a beautiful friendship is born.

If you’re in NYC, try The Painting Lounge. They offer BYOB painting classes. Killing a few birds with a big drunk stone. (There’s a Groupon for it!)

Check out the ‘Things To Do” on Groupon based on your location. You’ll get a great deal and find fun classes nearby!

4. Volunteer

“How was your day with the pre-schoolers?”

*Is covered in paint*

“…Wanna get a drink somewhere?”

This one’s my favorite: socializing for the greater good. Kind of like the wine I buy myself that donates to charities so my drinking is justified.

Volunteering is great in general. It makes you feel good, you’re helping the community, and those you meet are probably great people. Meaning, you’ll make really great friends. (Say “great again.”)

Volunteer via New York Cares, walk dogs at BARC Shelter, or tutor awesome kids at 826.

(Plus, 826 hosts Volunteer Happy Hours!)

Find more opportunities near you via https://www.volunteermatch.org/.

5. Accept Invites. Say Yes!

“Are you busy tonight?”

***looks at Making of a Murderer and tub full of ice cream***

“…Maybe?”

Though it’s the most obvious, it’s almost always overlooked. Accept invitations. Invited to an acquaintance’s art show? Go! Did your work friend ask to get drinks? Cheers! Did your neighbor ask if you’re free? (Don’t lie to them.) Say yes! (And don’t flake.)

By accepting invitations, you’ll meet your friends’ friends, their friends, their friends’ friends’ friends and so on. You’re going to like at least one of them. Stop being scared and just go for it, okay?

Yes new friends. Don’t listen to Drake.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; Venessa Arizaga friendship bracelets, Dannijo rings, Chanel nail polish

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  • As someone who googled “how to make friends as adult” I really appreciate this. Does anyone have tips for surviving as the only single person in your friend group? I dated someone for 4 years and we broke up this summer and now I feel like I kind of got kicked out of the treehouse….

    • Katlin Stewart

      Oh my god, I did the same exact thing! Hey, Google, “How do you meet cool people and build lasting friendships when you’re somewhat of a loner”

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      • Tolani Whatsshelike

        Love how you didn’t take any shortcuts in your request to Google – went straight in with the full sentence! lol

    • ahepwhoa

      friends who are in love are the worst when you’re not, especially when you’re newly single. get out there with all the new peeps in meet-ups or groupon classes =). and if they won’t shut up about their baes just remind them that it’s not such a fun topic for you. they’ll understand

    • misspitimi

      First of all, from my own experience, I broke with my last boyfriend when most of my friends were getting married and having babies (I was 35), you don’t have to worry, you allways ending finding someone (friends / family) to share your life with. At the very begining I was terrified of the thought of being all alone, and it was something that paralized me to take the decition of ending that bad love realtionship, but now I don’t regret it at all. For me, it helped the fact that I was working away from my home town so I had to decide if I would live alone or share a flat. With my age it sounded a bit weird, but my flatmates (in my case I lived both with girls and boys) helped me to know people and that people to other. You should be openminded and try to take advantaje of any oportunity to socialize that you have and be patient, most of the times the people you know are only someone to go around with, but eventually, you will find true friends. That’s my case by the way! Gim and other shared class or activity would help too. Don´t deny your couple friends, most of them will want to help you, even though it feels weird to be the only single in a group, they are your frinds, and who knows, maybe sometimes, it could be another single person invited 🙂 And last but not least! Remember that when you were a child you simply asked others to play around, well, you must be corageous, and do it again. You will find that most people are pleased to get in touch with other humanbeing

  • I’ve been asking myself the same thing since I started working in the city. My best friends from high school have moved to different states, and I’d like to try making some meaningful friendships this year. I think a class or volunteering are a really great way! I just wish classes weren’t so damn expensive.

  • Caroline

    I just transferred to a new university, leaving behind some of the best friends I’ve been lucky enough to have ~600 miles away and I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been tough – so THANK YOU for covering this. In the era of “the squad” and social media-induced FOMO it can be easy to feel lonely, so it’s reassuring to know that there are others out there who feel the same way.

  • Rosaly

    I just made a friend with a bartender! Honestly I feel like wherever people are where theres drinks and good music is the best environment to make a friend.

  • There should be an MR fan meetup!

  • LalaN

    I needed to read this. Thank you.

  • Jamie Dalton

    I love all of these! Seriously finding friendships that are worth the effort as an adult has been so hard and I love that you addressed it!

  • While I’ve tried the online communities and interest groups, I have to say that volunteering is where I’ve built the more meaningful relationships in my life! It’s where I’ve found kind of all-in-one great people – those with similar interest and those passionate enough to donate their time to it.

  • Lil

    This reminds me of that one SATC episode where Carrie teaches a class on how to meet men, and instead of lecturing she takes everyone out to a bar………… 😀