Unexpected Ways To Make Friends As An Adult

Whether you're an introvert or extrovert, we all know it can be hard to make new friends. That's why it's good to keep in mind unexpected ways to make friends as an adult — because let's be real: Sometimes we all need a good group of people we can trust and have fun with. Even if you weren't the so-called "popular" kid in school, it's safe to say we all had some friends as adolescents, and likely made new friends when we went to college, studied abroad, got our first jobs, or so on. But when we're officially adulting, it can be hard to feel like we're in a good spot to make friends.

In fact, research shows that this isn't just in our heads. According to a recent study published in the Psychological Bulletin, people's social networks (that is, our friends, acquaintances, and so on) steadily increase until we reach adulthood; then they decline across the board. Sadly, this same study suggests that our "personal" networks, including close friends and intimate relationships, also decrease once we're in adulthood.

While research shows that having good, healthy friendships can literally help us live longer, reduce our stress, and decrease our chances of developing depression, it's pretty tough to make friends as an adult. Our friends couple off, we move to new cities, we deal with family or work obligations... and all of a sudden, we feel more than a little lonely. So, what is there to do?

Check out some of the most unexpected — yet hugely helpful — suggestions from the good people over at AskReddit for ideas on how you can make new friends as an adult. Because it's never too late to meet your BFF!

Bring Board Games To The Bar

Sure, you might get a few weird looks, but everybody likes board games and cards, right? And if you don't drink, just stick with water; the game will still be fun!

Dedicate Your Time To A Noble Cause

Pick an organization you care about and socialize with the staff and other volunteers. You have a common interest to talk about, right off the bat!

Find A Fitness Buddy At The Gym

While some people enjoy being totally left alone at the gym, plenty of people like to chitchat and swap knowledge. Strike up a conversation (but be respectful if someone isn't interested in chatting) and take it from there!

Seek The Energy Of An Extrovert

If you're an introvert by nature, seek the powers of an extrovert. They'll always have something going on and a big group of friends, so you can increase your social circle by proxy.

Reconnect With Your Past

If you're starting over in terms of your friends, it's more than OK to look back into your past and reconnect with people from your childhood! Odds are, they're missing you, too.

Join Your Local Community Space

Whether you're LGBTQ or something else, seek out people who have a common space or identity. You have stuff to talk about right away, and especially if you're part of a marginalized group, you may quickly find that others in those spaces are looking to form new bonds and connections as well.

Socialize In Your Workplace To Start

While this, of course, varies a bit depending on your actual job and work environment, socializing with your coworkers can be a great way to get back into the headspace of making new friends. Sure, you might not actually hang out with these people after work, but you can at least practice small talk with them.

Embrace Being In A New Location

It's super possible that if you're totally without friends, it's because you've recently moved to a new area. Embrace it! Remember that you're starting from zero, so the only thing you can do is be open to new experiences and new people.

Say "Yes" When People Invite You Out

OK, this one comes with a big provision: If you don't want to do something, or feel uncomfortable, it's always OK to say "no," no explanation needed. However, if you're simply used to turning down invitations because you'd rather watch Netflix in your bedroom, start saying "yes" to things every now and again. You might find new likes, interests, and people to hang out with!

Go To An Event On A Weekly Basis

Use the Internet to find a local club, meetup, or regular activity (open mic, anybody?) and make it a habit to attend. Going alone can be scary, but once you go regularly, you'll definitely get to know others and make new friends.

Making new friends as an adult can be totally scary, but it's absolutely possible. Just make sure to practice self-care and know what you're looking for, whether it's a weekly coffee meetup or a long-term BFF. Now go meet some friendly faces, y'all!

Images: Bustle