Updated: Jul 17, 2020
Remember how easy it was to make friends as a child?
I do, and I think most of us can agree that it was much easier back then than it is now as an adult.
I could easily turn to the other kid sitting next to me and ask the most straightforward question, “Do you want to be my friend?”
Usually, it’s a “yes!” with the occasional “Eww, no!”. But if I were to ask that question at my age, I would be met with questionable looks followed by some nasty side comments.
Let’s face it, one of the struggles of today is making friends as adults. Not only is this from personal experience but it is also one of the main burdens of the millennial generation.
Not to mention that a survey conducted by YouGov suggested that the millennial generation is in fact the loneliest. (See my blog post "Millennials - The Loneliest Generation")
To Make Friends You Need Spend Time Around People
Despite yearning to connect, we millennials are okay with isolating ourselves. We just do it without realizing it.
Have you ever been with a group of people where instead of talking to each other face-to-face, they are on their phones looking through social media?
Have you ever been on an elevator full of people who are just too busy to acknowledge you or anyone else’s existence?
“If you look busy, you will avoid eye contact, and you will avoid awkward conversations with people” is what I've always told myself.
Admit it, you’ve done it too.
But if you want to make friends, you are going to have to learn how to put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
So…get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Make A List of Things You Enjoy Doing
The first step is to start making a list of things you enjoy doing then start doing that habitually. Mind you if it is an isolating activity, such as reading a book, then maybe this isn’t the best activity to allow you to meet new people.
However, if you like reading that much maybe you can join a book club. To find a social event you can visit MeetUp.com and create an account. There you join interest groups (or create your own) and see what events they have going on. Set yourself to go to at least once a week.
The point of making this list is to get yourself out there and meet people who like to do the same things that you do. Because nothing brings people closer together than having shared interests.
It’s a start at least.
Make Conversation Through Small Talk
I just want to put it out there that I am completely aware that more of us hate small talk. In fact, I have probably only met one person who enjoys it.
Unfortunately, even though we hate small talk it is actually necessary at the start of any relationship. And to build meaningful relationships as well, per my blog post "The Cure For Loneliness is Building Meaningful Relationships".
But why exactly do we hate small talk?
Small talk, in a nutshell, is a meaningless conversation and as millennials, we are always in search of things that are meaningful to us. Small talk can be mundane and maybe invasive. It is painful and awkward but at the same time productive.
Small talk is hit-or-miss. If you get rejected, it is normal. If the conversation starts becoming stale, it is normal. If the conversation is flowing rapidly, then you hit the jackpot.
You will go through more losses than wins with small talk. But hey, I didn’t say making friends was easy.
Be a Good Friend
Being a good friend can vary from person to person. A good way to know how to be a good friend is to make your own list of what you want in a friend. But also list characteristics that you don’t want in a friend.
For me, a good friend is someone who is honest in addition to being fun and wise. What I don’t like in a friend is someone who is always late, who cancels and who is always on their phone.
What is your list? (Comment below).
In conclusion, making new friends is one way to overcome loneliness.
The process of making friends as an adult is not an easy one. It takes time to develop and most of the time the first bunch of people you meet won’t necessarily make the cut.
In order to make new friends as an adult, you may have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and as weary as it sounds we must go on.
If you get rejected, it’s okay. Move on to the next person. Besides, you are a better person for trying.
As long as we continue to connect with others, we can start building and investing in relationships that are meaningful to us.
Now, I ask you this: What are your best tips for making friends as an adult?
Also, feel free to check out my blog post on "6 Ways To Connect With People". Because most of the time connecting and creating relationships can be a long process. In this blog post, I give a few tips and tricks on what you can do to help people connect with you.