Growth Gals Logo

How to Make Friends as an Adult - The Complete Guide

Personal Development Guides | By: Katie Lister

April 20, 2024

How do I make friends as an adult female? Why is making friends as an adult challenging? Why is it difficult to maintain friendships in adulthood? Where can I learn how to make friends as an adult? This article is for you if you are looking for answers to these and related questions. 

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. Growth Gals provides a safe space for women to connect with like-minded individuals, learn, and support one another through the different seasons in life.

Growth Gals works to provide safe spaces where women feel free to discuss various topics related to everyday issues relatable to women. These include mental health, emotional intelligence, finding one’s life’s purpose, personal development, and navigating complex relationships, including friendships. In this article, I will highlight tips on how to make friends as an adult woman. 

Table of Contents

Friendships and Adulthood

Making and keeping friends seemed easy for most of our school-going years (kindergarten to high school). This is because our friends in this stage of life comprised people we were growing up with, going to school together or living in the same neighborhoods. Some people are lucky enough to meet their clique of close friends and BFFs, and they manage to keep the relationships going throughout their youthful years well into adulthood. 

However, most friendships grow distant as young women transition into adulthood. For most people, friendships last as long as there is a common factor holding them together. As you transition into adulthood, you probably make a lot of friends in college in a new city. This is the time when one makes decisions on careers and the future while still hoping that the friends you have made will last through these life stages. 

Over time, maintaining some friendships becomes challenging. Old friends start to fade away as they try to build their own lives. You all experience growth differently, and people change as they become the people they need to become in different phases of their lives. Again, you make new friends in your new environment and somehow imagine that these friendships will last for life. But then, with the twists and turns of life, you grow distant and later come to the realization ‘I have no friends‘ and ‘I need a friend.’

As you navigate adulthood and try to forge your path, you may find it harder to make and keep friends as an adult. 

Why Are Adult Friendships So Important? 

If you have tried to make new friends as an adult, you probably understand why loneliness is at an all-time high. With all the demands of life as an adult, creating and maintaining friendships can seem like too much work. Yet, friendships are an essential part of everyday life.

A 2021 American Perspective Survey found that at least 49% of Americans have 3 or fewer friends in their circle. They reported talking to their friends less and relying less on their friendships for support. For the most part, most people have situation-based friendships. These friendships are based on common situations like frequenting the same hangout spots, workplace or school.

How to-Make Friends as an Adult-

It is often said that genuine friendships are the glue that holds life together. Findings also show that having good, close friends as an adult is good for your health. When you make and maintain good friendships in adulthood, you can avoid loneliness, which is a leading cause of mental health issues among adults. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect indication of the impact of loneliness and social isolation on adults and human beings in general. Having close friendships in your adult life is the only way to combat these adverse effects.

Research also shows that adult friendships are actually good for longevity. When you have meaningful social circles, you can add years to your life. You are more likely to live longer if you have friendships in your adulthood. Research has also shown a connection between cardiovascular issues and loneliness. Therefore, having friends in adulthood can actually help to keep your heart healthy. 

Besides the physical benefits, having a friendship of women is also excellent for mental health. These are people you trust enough to pour out your stress and expect to get good, solid advice moving forward. With adult friends, you also have a healthier mind because you have people you can talk to about different things, share the bad times and the good times, and, as they say, laughter is the best medicine. 

Why Is Making and Keeping Friends as an Adult Difficult? 

Despite all the benefits associated with friendships, most adults still find making friends or maintaining a friend group challenging. Some of the factors that make it difficult include:

A lack of trust 

One of the most common reasons adults give when asked why they have few to no friends is lack of trust. As you grow older, you realize the importance of having friends in your life, but more specifically, friends you can actually trust. While making acquaintances is easy, finding people you can make an emotional and mental connection with is harder. 

Unstructured environments

For most people, making and keeping friends in high school and college was much easier. This is because these were people you spent a lot of time with, which made it easier to find your tribe amongst people you have things in common with. Institutions or learning create a perfect structured environment to choose your circle of friends and vice versa.

As an adult, there is an absence of structured environments that are not your work, making it harder for you to make friends. While you can form friendships at work or in other social setups, this does not come as naturally for adults.

Life demands

Most adults live the life of an introvert where they go to work and come back straight home after. As an adult, your priorities are different since you have more responsibilities. You have to think about making money, maintaining a job, sometimes nurturing romantic relationships, looking after kids, and even ensuring your parents are cared for in old age for some people.

All these demands take up time and barely leave room for healthy relationships with your closest friends. For most people, having and keeping friends seems like one more thing they have to do, which can seem tedious. 

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to be a better friend

How to-Make-Friends as an Adult-

The average adult spends at least 40 hours a week working and at least 50 hours sleeping. With only 168 hours available a week, free time is mainly spent with family, on personal projects, or in traffic if you live in a busy town. This busy schedule makes it harder for any adult to make new friends.

How to Make Friends as an Adult and Keep Them 

Even with the demands of life taking up most of our everyday time, it is difficult to argue with science. Relationship experts and mental health professionals have continually emphasized the importance of friendships in adulthood; your life may actually depend on them. 

So, how do you make friends as an adult? Here is how. 

Try reconnecting with old friends 

If you are having a hard time making new friends as an adult, try reconnecting with old friends. Finding old friends and rekindling friendships is much easier than going out and getting to know new people afresh. This is especially true if you grew apart as you both tried to navigate life. If there is no ill blood between you and your old friends, rekindling these friendships may prove to be the blessing you need in adulthood. 

Attend venues and events related to your hobbies and interests

One of the best ways to create your social circle is by making friends with people you have similar interests with. Whether you like attending open mic nights, joining a local sports team, book clubs, taking a pottery class, exploring the outdoors, or going on wellness retreats, all these are excellent shared experiences to meet people with whom you have things in common. 

Leverage social media 

You can follow a few people you think you may make good friends with on social media to gauge your compatibility as friends. Social media is an excellent place to make meaningful interactions in a non-committal environment. If you find that you regularly engage each other in online communities for conversations you are both passionate about, it may be a good sign that you can become good friends. 

Keep an open mind 

When putting yourself out there to meet new people and make new friends, it is important to avoid overthinking the process or succumbing to social anxiety. Instead of focusing your energy on the possibility of being rejected or imagining that you are not fun enough to have a social network of friends, channel your inner child and enjoy the process for what it is. 

Invest in self-improvement

Even as you seek out new friendships, it is important to ensure you are working to become the person people would be interested in being friends with. Work on your confidence, self-esteem, interests, and overall well-being. You become more likeable and interesting when you invest in yourself.  

Self-improvement also involves working on areas about yourself that may hinder you from becoming a good friend. This can include learning to become more trustworthy, loyal, supportive, and value-oriented.

Make an effort to meet the people you connect with 

Meetups with new people is one thing, but making friends is another. Once you have met a few people you think you would gel as friends, you need to get out of your comfort zone and make a conscious effort to grow the friendship. If they are people you have things in common with, make a conscious decision to regularly check in with them or invite them out on friends’ dates to get to know them better. You may just meet your new best friend in the process.

Accept invitations 

Sometimes, you can meet people who want to get to know you better and become friends. Try to create time in your busy schedule and say yes to invitations. During this time, it becomes easier for you to choose your tribe since you see people outside of the social setting you met them in. 

Approach friendships with positivity

Many mental health professionals will tell you that your attitude greatly impacts your view on life and even how you present yourself to the world. Therefore, it is important to approach social scenarios with positivity to make it easier for you to meet new people and hopefully make good friends in the process. 

Be a good listener 

Even as you try to put yourself out there by sharing as much as possible about yourself with potential friends, it is also important to be a good listener. True adult friendships are also built on good communication amongst a circle of friends; listening is an essential part of communication. 

Once you have established your connections and made a few friends, it is important to ensure you actively maintain these friendships. While you may lose a few connections here and there, you will be sure to meet a few people who stay and become part of your growing inner circle of friends. 

How Growth Gals Can Help You Make Friends as an Adult 

Learning to make friends as an adult is not always the easiest task. However, it is necessary for good health and a prosperous life. If you are a woman interested in meeting more like minded women you definitely have things in common with, Growth Gals is an excellent place to meet your tribe. Here, you will find 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, even as they make new meaningful friendships. 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 friends. 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.

The Bottom Line 

While making friends gets more complicated the older you grow, it is still possible to make and experience great friendships as an adult. If you need help figuring out where to start, following the tips in this article is an excellent way to get you started. Also, joining Growth Gals presents an excellent opportunity to make new friends even as you access resources to help you become the best version of yourself.

Remember, friendships are like plants; they only grow when they are watered.

How to-Make-Friends-as an Adult-GG
Scroll to Top
Weekly Newsletter

Stay Inspired by Growth Gals

Sign Up for Personal Growth Tips, Free Tools, and Relatable Advice! 

We promise no nonsense or spam :)