Social Butterflies Share Advice On How To Make Meaningful Friendships As An Adult
Many children seem to have almost no problems making friends. "Oh, hi fellow person who is approximately my age and is within reasonable proximity to me, we're friends now!" and that's it. It's almost like they don't really have a criteria past that, and that's great! It means making friendships that matter tends to come easier for them. But what about us adults? One reddit user asked:
And we were like "... ... ... actually we have no idea." and hopped right into this thread ready to screenshot and implement new ideas. Why? Because we need actual in-person friends, that's why. We love you dearly, citizens of internet, but you guys can't come out with us to try and match beta fish to the wall color of the room the fish tank is in. Wait, we might know why we have no friends...
Click next and read through while we sit and do some serious contemplation about ourselves.
Begin With The Beginners
Join a beginner's class for something new that sounds interesting every once in a while! Best case, you make some new friends and maybe find a fun new hobby. Worst case, you still try something new and maybe get some good stories out of it.
Seriously, I took a couple fencing lessons and while it turns out fencing is totally not for me, I met some awesome people through it. And I took a cooking class where I didn't really meet anybody I clicked with, but now I know how to make crepes, so I'm calling it a win
I'm going to be 100% honest, when I first turned 18 I had no confidence. I had been to a bar a couple times and the extent of my knowledge was "I'll have a beer".
I'm not making this up when I say floral shirts changed that. I wore a floral shirt to the club (first time I ever went to a club) because my friend said "wear something funky so that it catches the black light nicely" so I did and instantly people came up to me and talked to me. Sometimes you don't have to directly make an effort but I guess when you do something that catches people's attention in an out-there way (positively and innocently) it helps. I found myself having conversations that I didn't start. It definitely helped me get out of my shell :)
Put It All Out There
By going to activities you're actually interested in. Look up local meet up groups for dog walking or dungeons and dragons or tomahawk throwing... whatever your interests are and then go. If you're active in your professional field, go to happy hours or chat up coworkers at lunchtime.
Honestly, it's more about putting yourself out there than anything else. I'm naturally introverted so I understand how hard it can be; but in relationships of any kind you really do get out what you put in.
Wait, There's An OUT Of The House?
Find someone at work you don't hate. Invite them to do something you like. See if it works out. If not, eh, try again with someone or something else. Get a gym membership, take a class in something (anything), go to a bar and go for broke on karaoke, volunteer somewhere... Common thread: you have to get out of the house, man. More than likely, you're going to have to make the first move, too. It'll be ok though.
I asked a girl from work out on a friend date. We went to the movies and saw the matador. It was weird and awkward at first to do it but she's been my best friend for 13 years and we still tell people our "first date" story . I met the rest of my friends through a guy she dated, we started going to a weekly pub quiz with some of his friends. The friends loved us and kept us! They're pretty much my family I love them all so much.
Do You, Boo
In my honest efforts over the last year to achieve this sort of stuff, the best I've come up with is to just do you. Like playing music? Buy a ukelele! Wanna be more active? Try out that climbing gym! Think you should call your mom more? You probably should!
When you do the things you love, meaningful connections will gravitate to you. People who share your passions or admire your skills. Sometimes the best was to start, is by making a meaningful connection with yourself.
Do Not Want
After I leave work, I want to leave work. Unless it's obvious that my co-worker and I would get along, I will leave work at work.
A few years ago, I realized I was isolating due to my addiction and, after I cleaned up, took several chances on meeting people. All my friends from high school had moved away. All the people I knew from college were starting families and businesses and generally didn't have time for me. So, I just started fishing. I still remember the first time I tried to buddy up with some rando. He was a nice guy and I wasn't being creepy. Just continued a conversation that he started. After a while he just kind of walked away. I remember being confused and hurt, like I had just been turned down by a girl! But I just kept trying. Honestly, it's also difficult to friend randos without a similar interest or topic to bond over, in my opinion. Unless booze is involved, but you never know if the person you've "friended" is the real friend or the inebriated person. Plus, the whole sobriety thing puts a damper on that for me.
The way I finally started meeting up and hanging out with people is by joining music appreciation group. They found out I could sing and I joined a "band" for a while. I met more people through those people and now I have regular friends for the first time in my adult life.
My suggestion would be to look for groups that meet up with similar interests. Or to go to a beginners class in whatever.
The hardest lesson for me to learn (other than to be OK with being me, first) was to not be weirded out when someone doesn't want to be your friend. The thing is, someone is going to try to be your friend and you'll want nothing to do with them. That's just the way it works.
Buddies With The Bar Staff
Moved to a new city at age 44...went to a local watering hole and became acquainted with the management, bartenders and waitstaff. Everything just fell into place after that.
Get A Better Job
Most of my new connections are from work. But its important to note that i found a job that is similar to my hobbies, so meeting like minded people was easy.
Follow Your Interests
How I've met new people outside of college:
- Gaming tournaments
- DnD games
- Tech talks
- Language classes
- Friends of friends
Basically stuff that I'm interested in, and activities where you would keep meeting the same people over a period of time. If you think about it, people make friends in school because they keep being around the same people.
Step one: acquire SO who is good at making friends Step two: let them do it for you
Dogs. Own, love, walk, understand, and generally allow yourself to succumb to dogs.
Dog people talk to each other and share their madness. You have a reason to meet, a reason to get out, and a shared pleasure.
Plus, and this is key, dogs are the best.
If you're not in school, work. If not from work, through mutual friends at social outings. Sometimes randomly when you go out.
There's also using dating apps for strictly platonic connections. Some people, I've noticed, use them for friends and friends only.
I've found that being open to new experiences is a top contender. Going to events you think you might just enjoy, and then trying to talk to people there. A compliment, passing comment, or even a direct introduction to a new person could get them talking. If they're interesting, perfect, if not. Well, there are many more people out there. Don't be afraid to cold approach people, and don't be afraid to ask questions. People love talking about themselves. Help them do that. A basic rule of thumb is as follows: FORD. Family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. Ask about any one of these things to get a conversation going. Ask more about things you're interested in, and maybe change the subject if you feel it needs to be done (at an appropriate lull in the conversation, of course). If anybody has any questions, let me know. I'd be happy to offer more information.
TLDR: Go to events even if you're unsure if you'd enjoy them. Don't be afraid to talk to people, and follow the FORD formula if you think you have nothing to talk about.
To The Rescue
Ive met most of my good friends in the last 3 years by becoming heavily involved in the animal rescue world. I wasn't expecting that to be the case but it just sort of happened and it's really made my social circle so much more varied and interesting
I joined the Navy and I made more friends and met more new people in the past 3 years than I have ever had in my entire life. I was and am an introvert but there's something about the military where people bond over common shitty experiences and put aside differences and accept one another.
Don't Try To Meet People
Best advice my therapist gave me. Don't try to meet people (I'm have crazy social anxiety), but put yourself in situations where you will meet people. I took photography classes and drawing classes. Something I've always wanted to do (especially the drawing). So I wasn't meeting people I was learning to draw and asking questions and answering questions and.. << That's the way to do it.
I can't begin to explain to you the value of the relationships I hold in my church are. I'm close with dozens of people.
Get Drunk. Look Dumb. Make Friends.
I'll preface by saying that I'm a guy who's nothing special to look at, and is usually pretty introverted. So, to start I put on my nicest clothes and got pretty drunk at home until I found the happy spot (where everything is great, but you're still mostly lucid) and then caught the train into town. I didn't know any places to go, so I talked to some other (drunk) people on the train and asked where they were headed. That in itself got me an invite to party with one group and I went with them to the first bar. The music at this bar was pretty heavy for me, so I made social media contact with some of the guys and wandered off.
Then I wandered into another bar with a lively pop dance floor, smashed a few drinks and embarrassed myself on the dance floor. Seriously. By looking like I was having a great time everyone assumed I was a fun person good at having a fun time. This led to some comments from people at the bar when I went to buy a drink which after a few runs turned into some decent conversations and introductions.
By this time of the night everyone was pretty lubed up and having a good time. Because I had become a conversation piece everyone kind of gravitated towards me for a convo. From there I got a few numbers and more social media contact.
Most of these contacts were never going to progress, but so far I've been to lunch once and have an upcoming drink session on the weekend. Again, I definitely got lucky, could still lead nowhere and it's not for everyone. But those are my 2 cents.
TL;DR Put on some nice clothes, get really drunk and have a great time at a bar BY YOURSELF. Others will come to you if you're fun.
Talk To Strangers
Go outside. Talk to strangers. Treat people well.
If you go to a coffee shop often, chat briefly with the baristas. Ask them how their shift's going. Next time, ask if they did anything fun over the weekend. Be open to sharing real information about yourself if they return the conversation. Give it a few weeks and if you've developed any chemistry, you may have found a friend.
If you have a hobby, make an effort to go out to gatherings related to it. Say hello and introduce yourself to people you meet there. Be open to sharing real information about yourself if they return the conversation. Keep going back on a relatively frequent rate. Continue talking to people. If you think they're better than you at stuff, ask about it. If they're new, offer help. Participate and people will likely ask you about stuff that you do. Nearly every great friend I've met has come from some hobby.
Anywhere outside of your home will work. Dance classes. The gym. The arcade. A book store. Foreign language practice. Volunteer work. A school board. Talk to people. Be genuine. If you like them, keep talking. If they're boring or an ass, don't keep talking. You might click instantly. It might take years before you both open up enough to realize you'll be good friends. But nothing will ever happen if you don't fucking go outside and talk to strangers.