While it might sound like it's common sense, making new friends isn't the easiest thing to do, especially once you hit adulthood. The coziness of university dorms and College Night pubs has come and gone, and now you find yourself back at home in mom's house or squirreled away in your first adult apartment, wondering how to assemble a squad out of nothing. You can go to a bar like you used to, but what happens when you're not an outgoing extrovert, and would rather walk into traffic than weakly throw an "ice breaker" at a stranger? You can make pals with your co-workers too, but what if they're all Dwight Schrutes and you just don't have that "let's grab dinner" jive? It's tough times out there, and next thing you'll know you'll be asking your mom to set you up with a nice girl you can get champagne brunches with (because, #desperation.)
In order to avoid that awkward request, let's break this whole friend-making thing down. Yes, it will require you to stick out your neck a little and be vulnerable, and yes it will also require you to get off the couch, but everything is possible! I'll explain what I mean — below are seven ways to make friends easier.
1. Do Things You Love
How wonderful would it be if you could find a person you can sit down with at a coffee shop and talk for hours and hours about poetry or Bob's Burgers? It's people with similar interests that we're after, and a sure fire way to find them is if you frequent classes or events that circle around them.
Business writer Stephanie Vozza from entrepreneur site Fast Company offered, "...join groups that meet on a regular basis, such as a associations, networking groups, book clubs, classes and workshop." So go to the comedy club and mingle at the bar, look up local poetry readings or see if there are any ice cream making classes or beer tastings happening tonight. They're chock-ful of potential pals you can connect with. And bonus: You already have an ice breaker!
2. Show Your Real Side
We fall in love with people's quirky imperfections, their idiosyncrasies. It's what makes them stick out in our minds and makes them feel more relatable because they're slightly weird, just like us. So when you meet a new potential friend, don't try to put a perfect foot forward. Rather, try to share that offbeat-ness right off the bat.
Lifestyle writer Paul Sanders from self-development site Mind Body Green wrote, "All you have to do is disclose something quirky or funny about you; any imperfection will do. This is a way to show to the people you meet that you’re human like them." Think about it: Would you much rather hear about how a person has taught their dog to skateboard, or hear about them talk about their boring commute to work? Share the weirdness.
3. Back Away From The Small Talk
Rather than going over what weekend plans you have or how brisk it was this morning, move that conversation onto more personal grounds. No one likes small talk anyway, so why bother with it? Instead, take the lead and offer up more personal things about yourself, and ask them meaningful questions to get like-minded answers. If you want to build an actual friendship, you're going to have make yourself dig a little deeper.
Lifestyle writer Shana Lebowitz from self development site Greatist offered, "Once you two have been talking for a while, try what researchers call the “Fast Friends” technique — basically each party gradually discloses something meaningful about him or herself." Share how you have a crush on the reception boy at work, and ask if they've ever had a work wife/husband. When they answer, gradually keep that conversation going deeper.
4. Treat 'Em Special
Everyone likes getting pursued, and if you stick out your neck a little and show someone you really enjoy their company, you'll not only give them all the nice feels but will make them want to see you more often. So how do you pursue them? Invite them out to that fun local show you're going to this weekend, see if they want to meet up for drinks with you and your friends, ask if they want to get sandwiches during lunch, drop that you're in the mood for ice cream — you get the idea.
Lebowitz explained, "For example, send the person an email asking them to lunch or a coffee date next week, and follow up afterward to say you had a good time." Just treat them special and let them know you're interested, and the rest will follow.
5. Use Your Instagram
You're on the thing all hours of the day anyway, so might as well make it work for you, right? There are a ton of interesting people posting their coffee drinks and city shots all around you, so why not strike up an Insta-friendship and eventually ask to meet up for coffee?
Lifestyle writer Olivia Adams from lifestyle site Brit & Co suggested, "Follow hashtags related to your area and start some conversations with people. Who knows, you might find your new Insta-bestie!" Imagine all the likes your love story will get.
6. Be The Type Of Pal You'd Like To Have
You know the type of people that you like, so why not channel them? Chances are they're all kinds of amazing: Funny, thoughtful, open to new experiences, the type of person you can sit down and chat with for hours on end. Channel that type of individual and be that for others — they'll come flocking.
Journalist Lynze Wardle Lenio at career development site The Muse explained, "...ask yourself, 'Would I want to hang out with me right now?': If the answer is no, pep yourself up and bring the energy — make yourself into the type of person you'd want to lock down into best-friend-dom.
7. Introduce Friends To Each Other
When thinking of what to do on a Saturday night, chances are your mind goes to that one friend that always knows the best bars or can bring together the most fun group. Be that person. Make friends by introducing your friends to them, creating a bigger, more dynamic group. That way you don't have to get Manhattans with just one pal, you can roll up with an entourage six deep and have a fun, silly night.
Sanders suggested, "I recommend that you start introducing friends to each other, even if you only have a couple, and even if you’re just getting to know them. This group-effect will make them want to call and make plans way more often." If you give your new friend a taste of how fun and interesting it is to hang out with you and your squad, they'll be more inclined into applying to join.
So you see, making friends in adulthood isn't impossible. It just takes a little strategy and some effort. So get out there and get all the coffee dates your calendar will allow!