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Adult Friends – How to Make and Maintain Adult Friendships

How to Make Friends as an Adult | By: Katie Lister

April 30, 2024

Why do I need adult friends? Why is it so difficult to make new friends as an adult? Where can I find close friends as an adult? Can adults still make besties? If you are looking for answers to these and more questions, this article is for you.

Hi, my name is Katie Lister. I am a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. I lead personal development groups and coach women to live their best lives authentically. At Growth Gals, women can connect with like-minded individuals, learn, and support one another, even as they make meaningful friendships.

In these support groups, I help create safe spaces where women feel free to discuss various topics related to everyday issues that affect the everyday lives of women. This includes mental health, emotional intelligence, finding your life’s purpose, personal development, navigating relationships, and understanding adult friendships.

In this article, I will talk about adult friendships and why every woman needs adult friends.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

The Truth About Adult Friendships

Remember the good old days of your younger years? When all you had to do was show up to a playdate or show up in school to maintain your friendships. Now, you look back at your younger self and wonder what happened to all your friendships and think to yourself ‘Why don’t I have friends?’ It is not uncommon to lose friends along the way, including your best friends, whom you vowed to remain tight even after high school or college. A social study showed that social circles start to shrink after the age of 25.

The truth is that maintaining friendships as an adult is challenging for a lot of people. It requires real effort and time on an already stretched schedule. With only 24 hours in a day, squeezing in time to maintain contact with your adult friends seems like a difficult task for most people. Over time, friendships fizzle out, causing more and more adults to live in loneliness and social isolation.

Many studies have shown the many benefits associated with having a group of people you can call friends as an adult. According to science, having a bff as an adult is linked to less stress, longevity, and a reduced risk of lifestyle diseases like hypertension and heart attacks. Friendships are vital for your overall well-being. Even with all these benefits backed by science, maintaining friendships in adulthood is still increasingly difficult.

Some of the reasons that make it hard to maintain adult friendships include:

Lack of time

Most American adults attribute the lack of active friendships to a lack of time. In America, the average person works a regular 9-to-5 job and may have a spouse, a new relationship, kids, or a demanding pet that takes priority after their job. Between going to work and creating time for their loved ones, they have little to no time left for themselves, let alone for maintaining friendships.

Friendships are not a priority

Maintaining an active social life was a priority in high school or college. As you got older and had more adult responsibilities, your priorities changed. For most people, having great friends or maintaining friendships falls very low on the priorities list.

Want to become a better friend? Learn how to be a better friend in this article. 

Lesser things in common

Sometimes, even with the best intentions to maintain adult friendships, people evolve and change. It is common for childhood friends to grow apart because their perspective on life changes as they grow older. Once school is over or the thing that held you together is taken away, a lot of times people discover they have fewer things in common than they imagined.

Toxic adults

As a young adult in your early 20s, being around lots of friends who encourage reckless behavior whenever you get together is not uncommon. You are young and carefree, making memories. As you grow older, you probably realize that your group of friends may be toxic to your well-being. The only way to remedy the situation is by cutting them off. Friendship breakups can be incredibly difficult and may leave a wound that makes it hard to make friends as an adult.

Here is what to do when you have no friends

How to Make Adult Friends

If you have suddenly decided to be more proactive in your social life, one of the things you probably want to do is make new friends. As an adult, making meaningful connections does not come as easily and naturally as it did when you were younger. You are now more self-aware, and this can influence or stand in the way of meeting new people and making new friendships. However, not all hope is lost.

Reconnect with your old friends

Old things can always be made new again when you get out of your comfort zone. Rekindling friendships with old friends is one of the easiest ways to have adult friends in your life. This is especially encouraged if the friendship did not end sourly. Reconnect and catch up with an old friend you lost touch with for whatever reason. If the foundation is still strong, rebuilding can be easy.

Volunteer your time in a non-profit

If you have some free time on your hands, you should consider volunteering with local programs you support. Volunteering is an excellent place to meet like-minded people with common interests who can eventually become your friends. Apart from meeting new people, you will be making a difference in your locality. Also, volunteering can be good for mental health.

Make your coworkers your friends

If you have been working your job for a while, you probably know one or two colleagues who can make good friends outside of work. While work-life separation is essential, the office is still an excellent place to make adult friends with similar interests and passions.

Make friends with friends of friends

This is especially ideal if you just moved to a city like New York for the first time and need to make new friends. If you have one or two friends with friends, consider making their friends your friends, too. All you need to do is put yourself out there to increase your chances of creating strong bonds with new people. A strong circle of friends can make life in a new city less lonely.

Join local groups

Whether on social media or in person, you can find a group for almost any activity these days. Consider joining groups that offer activities you are interested in to increase your chances of making adult friends with shared interests. This can include cooking groups, book clubs, board games clubs, or even sports clubs. Having things in common is a good foundation for adult friendships.

Utilize friendship apps and show up at meetups

These days, there are apps for everything. Meetup, Facebook and Bumble for Friends are examples of social media apps and networks you can join to increase your chances of meeting people from your locality and anywhere in the world. Be bold and engage in small talk as you get to know new people and see which ones would make good friends for you.

How to Maintain Adult Friendships

Having adult friends in your contact list is not enough; you need to put in the effort to maintain these friendships. There are numerous benefits associated with having adult friends in your life. Therefore, try leaving a little room in your busy schedule to meet up regularly as a small price to pay for these benefits.

Some of the things you can do to maintain your adult friendships include:

  • Make time for your adult friends: find ways to fit your friendships into your schedule.
  • Be a reliable friend: be someone your friends can count on by showing up for them.
  • Improve your communication: feel free to check in with your friend every so often.
  • Embrace your differences: accept that your friends are individuals who may have varied interests.
  • Respect boundaries: remember to respect your friend’s boundaries and enforce yours.
  • Be vulnerable: vulnerability in friendships creates room for deeper connections and more trust.
  • Learn to forgive: you need to be open to forgiving your friends when they fall short of your expectations.

Growth Gals Can Help You Learn More About Adult Friendships

Our aim at Growth Gals is to provide a safe space where women can come together and get the support they need as they navigate different life seasons. We also strive to inspire women to reach their full potential as we create positive change. We support women with the resources to discover their true selves and expand their knowledge base on various issues, such as navigating relationships, including making and keeping adult friends.

Growth Gals is an excellent place to begin if you want to make new friends and create your adult friends group. You will find fellow women who share your core values and beliefs, often a good building block for great friendships. You can also subscribe to the Growth Gals newsletter to access trending news, resources, and helpful guides for women and learn more about how we can support you as you navigate adult friendships.

Adult Friends – The Bottom Line

No human is meant to go through life alone. With all the benefits associated with having a social circle as an adult, finding people you can call friends is important. All you can ask for from your friends is that they are loving, honest, and supportive. With this article, you now know why you need adult friends and how to make them.

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