Adult Best Friends: Overcome Roadblocks to Adult Friendships
Think about your best friends. Where did you meet them? Were you college roommates? Were you on a sports team together? Do you still talk to them?
A study of 2,000 adults revealed that the average American hasn’t made a new friend in five years.
Now you're left wondering why it's so hard to make friends as an adult… or maybe you have a whole list of reasons why. Let’s talk about those reasons and then dissolve them in a new plan to land your adult best friends. If you have the right mindset, forming adult friendships is not as hard as you are letting yourself believe.
How To Make Adult Best Friends - Adult Friendships
Be Intentional with Your Time
This is probably your go-to excuse. You tell yourself you don’t have close relationships in adulthood because you just don’t have time. It is true that when we were kids our entire day revolved around playing and making friends. As adults, we have higher priority obligations such as kids, spouse, career, and bills to pay.
You don’t need an entire day to make friends though. If you are intentional with the time that you do have, you can give yourself opportunities to make friends. Adult friendships don’t just “happen” at recess. You have to be much more intentional and put yourself in situations where you will connect with people. More on that in a minute!
Don’t Hold Back
I’m going to take a wild guess and say you're not walking around the office declaring someone your best friend. It really was that easy when we were kids. Kids don’t hold back their feelings and they just go get what they want.
As adults, we have learned to hold back and play it cool. This has been taken to an extreme where showing any vulnerability at all is just too scary. Open yourself up just a little bit and you will see that close adult friendships are formed through vulnerability.
It seems like you thought they were formed while talking about the weather. Sorry, you need to give a little bit of yourself, so that they will feel comfortable doing the same. You can’t find similarities talking about the weather.
Find Similarities by Listening
You don’t make adult best friends by being interesting. You make friends by being interested. So stop and listen. Take the time to talk to someone who only knows you by small talk. If you’re interested in their life, you can find those similarities that you can point out and connect with.
Close friends lead to personal conversations. Personal conversations are also what lead to close friends. Getting over the initial weather conversation can be scary, but living a life full of weather conversations also sounds pretty scary.
React positively to good news. Celebrate with other people. Trusting adult friendships are distinguished by how they react to good news. Be invested in other’s lives and they will care about you.
Listen and learn more. You really don’t need to worry about being interesting. Adult relationships are full of small talk. If you ask others about themselves and ask questions to learn more the conversation is about them. It takes a load off of yourself when you focus on them.
Many adults think that they need to find someone the same age, the same number of kids, and the same hobbies to be friends. This roadblock is shattered when you start to really listen to people and you find what you actually value in a friend. It is probably not the fact that their life mirrors yours.
Similarities are very important for forming friendships, but those similarities do not need to be seen on paper. You may find you have the exact same sense of humor as your 70-year-old neighbor, but you would never know if you only talk about the weather.
To make an adult best friend you can’t just have a meaningful interaction. You need to have meaningful interactions that repeat. Think about the places that you go to regularly. The office, the gym, church, your neighborhood, etc. These are places where you can form adult friendships because you repeatedly see the same people.
Don’t have one good conversation then become a stranger. Acknowledge them every time you see them. You don’t need a full blown deep conversation every time you see them, but you definitely don’t need to be a stranger. Not keeping in touch with friends is how you got to the point where you felt like you didn’t have friends. So stay consistent and let people know that you care about them. If you want a friend, be a friend.
Give Yourself Opportunities
It’s not recess anymore. I get it. Adults can play too though. Find a group. Facebook groups put people with similar hobbies in the same place. You can search Facebook groups specific to your town. You can search groups specific to your hobbies. You may even find groups specifically created for your hobby and your town.
There is value in finding people who are in a similar place of life as you. If you are a young mom don’t limit your adult friendships to only young moms, but you may find local mom groups on Facebook where you can connect with people while at the park with your kids - something that you are likely already doing anyway.
We are no longer living surrounded by peers like we were in school. This is how we formed relationships in early adulthood. To form relationships in middle adulthood, you have to put yourself in places where your peers are. If you let yourself do the things that you love, you will find other people who do the things that you love.
Young adult relationships were formed while having fun and doing things that you love. If you are never having fun or doing what you love… then I can imagine you have the friendship problems adults have.
Join a hiking group, join a basketball group, join a mom’s night out group, take a yoga class, there are so many options if you let yourself just be yourself and play. Adulthood does not mean giving up on yourself. Keep growing and keep playing.
Be a Yes Person
If someone invites you somewhere and you don’t know the person well, you are out of your comfort zone. Don’t mistake being out of your comfort zone with just not wanting to be friends.
Say yes! Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is alone at home, and that is not what will give you long-term happiness. Even the most introverted among us can use an adult best friend.
The more close relationships in adulthood that you have, the more you grow. Don’t make the mistake of believing you only need that one friend that lives across the country that you talk on the phone with. That is putting yourself in a pretty small box. Make time for old friends as well as new friends.
If you want a friend you need to be a friend. Don’t tell yourself you are just a really unique person that needs to stay in their house and watch TV. That is the easy thing to do. Long-term happiness comes from stretching a little bit.
Social Media’s Role in Adult Connections
If some of these suggestions just sound too overwhelming, you can start by connecting with other people online. This connection you can make from your couch. For just about every hobby you can think of, there is a forum online with community discussions.
Social media use needs to be intentional. Are you connecting with people or are you just scrolling and developing negative feelings? Social media can make us feel less satisfied with our lives if we use it to compare rather than connect. Find the people you want to connect with on social media and then turn it off. Don’t do the habitual scroll where you waste an hour you could’ve spent somewhere else connecting. Find uplifting content that inspires and leave the rest.
Social media can connect you with people who share your values. Reading blogs/posts and commenting can help you to dip your feet into adult friendships. Farm Brand has a community of open-minded people who care about the environment. We celebrate success and love to hear your stories. Connect with us on Instagram and help us grow our community!
Written by Nicole Ellis
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