Remember playing hide and seek every evening in the building compound? School trips that are full of nostalgia and crushes? Making the best of summer camps and writing letters to those friends living far far away? Childhood and friendships go hand in hand. But we all need confidants at all stages of life. From discussing which stream to opt for in college and where to have your birthday party to seeking guidance for life’s biggest challenges and having a shoulder to cry on at 2 am, friends are a vital part of our existence. And many, if not most of the time, childhood friendships slowly fade away, highlighting the need to make new friends.
Making friends can be daunting, no matter what age you are. And the older you get, the more difficult it becomes. But it’s definitely not impossible. Here are some tips for making and keeping friends for the long haul as an adult!
5 Tips To Form Friendships During Adulthood
1. Use An App
Heard of Tinder for dating and hooking up, right? But did you know you could make friends via apps? Think of finding a new friend like dating. It can feel a little strange and awkward at times, but if you put yourself out there, you might connect with someone you wouldn’t have crossed paths with if you hadn’t taken the plunge and started swiping. Bumble’s Bumble BFF mode does exactly that. In social situations, you might freeze or not know what to say. But with apps and online mediums, you get the chance to think and articulate your conversations. There are also apps and sites where you can connect with people who share a similar hobby. If apps aren’t your thing, try Facebook groups of like-minded people. There are local ones that hold events and get-togethers, once it is safe to do so. Apps are a great alternative to meeting in person and more convenient since you can do it all from the comfort of your own home!
2. Pick Quality Over Quantity
Friendships in adulthood are different from when you were a kid. At a young age, friendship involves favourite cartoon characters, sharing your tiffin, planning the weekend’s game time and exchanging friendship bands. As you grow older, life evolves and so do you. Conversations about planning finances, boosting your career, dating advice and overall responsibilities take precedence over casual talk. While making and sustaining friendships, the question, “Is this person crucial to my happiness?” should be the top priority. For either person to see the friendship as beneficial, your positive interactions need to outweigh the negative ones. If the goal is to create intimate friendships, you’ll only be willing to do that with a person you know well. Even if you have both positive interactions and are consistent with them, you still need vulnerability to take your friendship to the next level. These comrades who withstand the test of time will be your much-needed support system.
3. Make An Effort & Go All Out
This one’s especially great for all the newly married ladies and moms or working women that have moved to a new town or country. Relocating is never 100% fun, it comes with its downfalls. One of them is loneliness. If you already know a few people in the new place, that’s great. But for those who are looking forward to making friends after moving, the best thing to do is put yourself out there. Have an existing kitty group in the building? Join it. Have enough women around who would love to join a Zumba class? Invite a trainer and start group sessions. Enough kids in the apartment complex to introduce swimming lessons? Go ahead and let your kids make friends while you do too! Pursuing your hobbies and interests is the quickest way to get exposed to people who have things in common with you. And even if the pandemic halts your plan of meeting up in real life, the virtual world can help.
4. Give Workplace Friendships A Chance
Yes, the pandemic has made the majority of people work from home that are forced to interact with the help of technology. Conference rooms are replaced by Zoom calls and lunch breaks by WhatsApp meme sharing. Befriending colleagues could make you happier and more productive. Setting aside time to connect during a break or lunch can help your schedule fall in line while helping you form a bond with your colleagues.
A LinkedIn study of relationships at work found 46% of professionals around the world believe having work friends enhances their overall happiness.
At TC46, I, the author, Srushti Pathak, have had the pleasure of becoming friends with Yashna Kapasi, the Partnerships & E-Commerce Manager. “She was the one who set up the interview, welcomed me to the company and guided me through everything. I remember being a nervous wreck and Yashna made me feel so comfortable. While we only worked in the office together for a little over a month, we continued to build our bond while working from home. She has been a pillar of support, always ready to help out no matter what, and being a shining example of a coworker who has handled multiple roles seamlessly.”
5. Accept Invitations
Sitting at home, glued to the couch, scrolling through Netflix is not going to help you make friends. While it might seem like the easiest, no-effort, perfect-after-a-work-week option, it’s time to ditch it. If someone invites you to do something, try your best to make it happen. If an acquaintance invites you to brunch with the ladies, you show up, start a conversation and keep an open mind. Remind yourself that this person invited you to get together because they want to spend time in your presence, to ease your social anxiety. Your partner’s friends ask you to join them for a hike on the weekend? Get your hiking outfit ready, pack some water and study the route you’ll be taking. The most difficult thing is taking that first step of actually showing up. The rest will flow seamlessly, just say hello, offer an observation or insight, follow it up with a question and trust the process.
No one said making new friends in adulthood is not awkward. But if you try it with sincerity, it can be highly rewarding. With your knowledge and experience with people, you are well-equipped to sort the ones who are potential friends from those who aren’t. Keeping an open mind is the best thing you can do when attempting to make new friends. So open the door to your life and let new friendships blossom.