Building Friendships in Adulthood

August 31, 2021

Something not many people tell you when you grow up is that it’s hard finding friends as an adult. After high school or college, we often move or the people we grew up with move. Then life happens and we get busy. Friendships may dwindle or may become long distance. Sometimes, we may even feel lonely and crave what we see everyone else having… friendship. We are also probably alone more … not necessarily around our peers (i.e., roommates, classmates, teammates) as much in adulthood. As we enter adulthood, friendships take seem to take more effort. So how do we build friendships as adults? Where do we even start?

  1. Get out into the community

We are more likely to connect with people we share common interest with. For that reason, finding places in the community with hobbies you enjoy is a great way to start getting to know others.

Enjoy reading? There are plenty of book clubs to join around town.

Live for yoga? Check out a new studio.

Interested in martial arts? Try a jiu-jitsu class.

Don’t know what you like? Try something random and see if you like it or hate it!

We are creatures of proximity and similarity so after sharing a common hobby and crossing paths often, it is often easier to develop relationships.

In addition to this, there are many apps or Meetup.com groups to join where you can meet people. Almost like dating apps but for friends! Just be sure to be safe when meeting strangers in public.

  1. Broaden your friend groups

Most of us will go on outings with certain friends or friend groups. However, if we think about it, not all our friends know each other, and we don’t know all our friends’ friends (tongue twister much?). So next time you ask a friend out for lunch, invite them to bring another friend along or even invite two of your friends that don’t know one another to the same outing. Not only will you help your friends broaden their circle, but it also allows you to hit two birds with one stone by spending time with two different friends at once.

  1. Get specific

How many times have you messaged someone saying, “want to hang out?” or received the message “we should hang out.” When we are busy in adulthood, this message is so broad that it may be overwhelming at times because it then requires game planning.

So, my last tip is to get specific. What would you like to do? Are you wanting to spend time talking with this person or discovering a new activity?

Try getting specific with your invites like:

“Are you free to catch up with coffee at Kudzu Monday?”

“Want to hit a workout after work Wednesday?”

“Have you tried Axe throwing? There is a promotion for this weekend if you are free!”

This take the guessing and back and forth schedule comparing which can easily be forgotten through test messaging. It is also direct and to the point.

All in all, remember that you are not alone. Adulthood is glorious, messy, magical, confusing, and lonely. Many of us have had difficult times building and maintaining friendships even though we long for and crave belonging. It may take work, but it may also be very rewarding and worth it.


Written By Melany Rodrigues, MA