Most people make friends when they are children and teenagers; after the age of 18, it tends to become a bit more difficult to make friends, especially close ones. There are several reasons for this, but one of them is that once you reach adulthood, you are established and set in your ways and you assume you’ve made all the friends you think you will ever need in life.
However, sometimes this isn’t always the case; you could fall out with your friends, this often happens when there is a relationship breakdown and people end up taking sides. Or you might have to end a friendship for other reasons. You might be a bit skeptical about making friends as an adult, but it is more than possible.
Here are some tips on how to make friends easily as an adult.
Check Your Attitude
The first step you should make when it comes to how to make friends is to assess your character. We all want friends who are happy, cheerful and open; however, you can’t expect to attract people with such characteristics if you are miserable, negative and closed. You may have gone through some hard times, which is why you are at this point in your life now. But if you are going to move forward, it’s important that you let go of everything that makes you feel bitter and angry so that you don’t miss the opportunities that are right in front of you. Or fixing a broken friendship might be the solution.
Types of Friends
Before you get started on this journey of how to make friends, it’s important that you are clear on the type of friends you want to make. Sometimes, a friendship can cause the same problems that people experience in a romantic relationship. You might go into the friendship hoping to get really close with that person but they’re only interested in you becoming an acquaintance, this is why it’s important to understand the do’s and dont’s in a friendship. However, when you know what you want out of a relationship and you communicate this to the person you are trying to get to know, you will avoid problems later on down the road. In general, there are three types of friends:
These are the people you see at work or school and the extent of your conversation is “Hi and bye.” You say “Hi” at the beginning of the day and “Bye” at the end of the day. Outside of this context, there is no relationship, which means that once you graduate or leave the job, you will probably never see them again.
Regular friends are people you meet up with every once in a while and hang out. You might see each other at the same social events and have a blast during that time, but then won’t speak again until the next social event.
These are the people you are around all the time, they know you inside out and back to front, they have accepted you for who you are and they love you regardless. You can go six months without seeing each other, but when you do meet up, it’s like you just saw each other the day before. You can get so engrossed in your conversations that you don’t realize you’ve been on the phone for hours. You trust your best friends and you can confide in them about anything.
Most people are looking to make regular friends, and if possible, best friends. If you’ve got a job or you’re in school, you’ve most likely got more “hi-bye” friends than you can count. The truth is that you are going to meet a lot of people during your lifetime, but it’s rare that the majority of them will become your best friends. However, regardless of the type of friends you are looking to make, the good news is that it’s possible to learn how to make friends.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
We speak with our mouths, but our body language says more than our words ever could. Therefore, if you want to know how to make friends easily, it is essential that your body language is attractive and not repelling. To begin with, here is some body language you should avoid:
Failure to Make Eye Contact
You might find it difficult to make eye contact because you are shy; however, in general, it shows that you are not interested in the person you are speaking to. If you are looking at your phone, around the room, or at the floor, you are indirectly saying that “your conversation is boring me and I would rather be doing something else.”
Folding Your Arms
Folding your arms might be a comfortable position to you, but it can also give the impression that you are cold and defensive.
Some tall people slouch out of habit; but it can make it appear that you are insecure and lack confidence.
Fidgeting makes you look nervous and uncomfortable; don’t fidget if you want to appear confident and self-assured at all times.
There is nothing wrong with using hand gestures when you are having a conversation with someone. In fact, they can add positive energy to the conversation and make you seem more confident and self-assured. However, when your gestures are too fast, it can make you seem nervous and anxious.
If you are going to avoid negative body language, it is essential that you replace it with positive body language. Here are some tips to get you started:
Slouching is considered bad posture; good posture is when you sit or stand with your back and your shoulders straight but you are relaxed and not rigid, tense or stiff, good posture makes you look self-assured and confident.
When you are speaking to a person, whether standing or sitting, lean in to them because it gives the impression that you are interested in what they have to say.
Tilt Your Head
By tilting your head and giving a positive facial expression, it shows curiosity and interest towards the other person.
Some people don’t appreciate random individuals touching them; however, when used in the right way, touching can make the person you are speaking to feel very comfortable. Not only does it make them feel that you are interested in them, it’s also a sign of empathy, meaning that they are more likely to open up to you during the conversation. A pat on the shoulder, or cupping of the hands is a good place to start, just don’t go overboard or it can have the opposite effect.
Face the Person
When speaking to people, you want them to feel as if they have your undivided attention. Facing the person with your body and feet is a good way to let them know that you are deeply involved in the conversation.
Make Eye Contact
Eye contact is essential when speaking to someone; again, there are levels to this type of body language, if you stare too much, you will make the person feel uncomfortable. A good way to overcome this is to look them in the eyes for a couple of seconds, and then look at the mouth. You can also move from eye to eye, as well as look between the eyes.
When speaking to a person, get close enough so that you appear interested in what they have to say. However, don’t get too close or you will make the person feel as if you are invading their privacy.
Now that you’ve sorted out your attitude and you understand the importance of positive body language, it’s time to get out there and start making some connections.
Get Involved in Hobbies
A great way to learn how to make friends easily as an adult is to take part in activities with likeminded people. Here are ten fun hobbies to get you started:
Join a Gym Class
Gym classes are a great place to meet new people; they can appear pretty intimidating if you are new to this type of environment, but you will find plenty of people who are in the same position as you.
Start a Part-Time Course
Courses can range from taking classes to improve your maths and English, cake decorating or knitting. I understand that classes can be expensive, so if finances are an issue, you may qualify for free funding depending on your circumstances. In case you are worried about prior qualifications, they are not required to get on a general course.
Not only is volunteering an extremely rewarding hobby, you are even more likely to meet people that are younger or older than you. You can volunteer with your local church or check online to see if there are any opportunities in your area.
Join a Walking Group
Not everyone enjoys going to the gym, but with a walking group, you can get fit, at the same time as meet people with the same interests as you.
This hobby will probably appeal to men more so than women, but either way, it’s a great way to make friends. All you need is a decent computer and then sign up with one of the many multiplayer games that are available. When you first get started, you probably won’t meet any of the people you are gaming with face to face. However, as you get to know each other, you can start arranging social events.
Start Playing Bingo
Bingo is a fun game you can attend weekly, most bingo locations have a bar or a restaurant where you can congregate afterwards and spend time getting to know people. Not only is playing bingo a hobby that gives you the opportunity to make some additional money, you can also meet some nice people.
Go to a Festival
If there are no festivals in your town, travel out of state. It’s a great place to meet people who share the same taste in music as you.
A Book Club
Whether you start a book club yourself or you join one at your local library, it’s a great way to meet people who share the same passion for reading.
Join an Online Forum
Like gaming, you don’t get to interact with people face to face; however, you will find that once people have spent time contributing and talking in an online forum, you can make arrangements to participate in an activity outside of the forum.
This site gives you access to various meetups that are taking place in your area. Simply enter your postcode into the following website (https://www.meetup.com/) and it will pull up all the events that are taking place near you such as groups going to the movies, bowling, coffee and cake, salsa dancing etc.
Ask Family Members and Loved Ones
Some people might feel a bit embarrassed that they don’t have any friends and so won’t feel comfortable asking family members and loved ones if they know anyone who would want to be their friend. If this is the case, you don’t need to tell them you’re asking because you don’t have any friends, just say something like, “Hey, I’m really interested in meeting new people, the next time you’re going to an event or holding a social gathering, I would sure appreciate an invite.” In this way, you can hide the fact that you are interested in meeting new people because you don’t have any friends at the moment.
As you have read, there are plenty of ways to learn how to make friends; however, it’s also important to understand why friendship is important. Don’t expect people to flock to you just because you turn up at an event. Most people would rather someone else approach them than do the approaching. So put yourself out there, be friendly, smile and let people know that you are open to making new connections. Even if you find that certain activities are not for you, don’t give up, keep moving forwards and trying out different hobbies or going to different events until you find what you are looking for.