How to make friends as an adult without the awkwardness
Feel like making friends is harder as an adult? You’re not the only one.
Studies showing that a lack of trust, time constraints, introversion, and age make it harder to find friends as adults compared to when we were kids (Apostolou and Keramari, 2020). However, friendships are essential for overall health, life expectancy and psychological wellbeing, with recent reports showing that as many as one in two Australian now feel lonely. Here are some tips on how to expand that dwindling friendship group:
Put in the time and effort. While it can take lot of energy and time to form new friendships, with some studies saying it takes close to 200 hours to form an intimate bond (Hall, 2018), it is an investment worth making. As our founding psychologist Rachel says, “quality friendships can improve your sense of self-worth and confidence, reduce feelings of isolation and promote a greater sense of belonging, connection and purpose in life.”
Take the risk. Open yourself up to people and be willing to share parts of yourself. Doing so does involve the chance of getting hurt or rejected but the benefit of a great friendship is worth the risk.
Say yes more often. Rachel says, “The more you accept invitations you might otherwise have turned down, the more likely you are to expand your circle with new people.”
Tap into technology to communicate and meet people. “Meeting new friends through neighbourhood and Facebook groups or apps allows us to connect with people through common activities and interests,” Rachel says.
Pick up a hobby. This is a great opportunity to meet people with a shared interest as it provides a common ground.
Nurture the friendships with people you already know. “The extra effort to go a bit further with people you already know can help build a deeper friendship,” Rachel says.
Reach out to friends and reconnect. “It may feel awkward if you’ve drifted away from each other, but giving time and energy to that connection again can help accelerate a deeper, newfound friendship,” Rachel says.
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