Remember the good old days, when all it took was a chat with the girl sitting next to you in your high school classroom and, voila, you had yourself a friend? Or those nights in college when you were surrounded by a seemingly-endless rotation of drinking buddies, many of whom would grow into true and lasting friends?
Enter, adulthood. Suddenly, making friends isn’t so easy anymore. As the group of friends you forged as an adult shrinks and spreads out across the country for jobs, romances, and life in general, it’s easy to feel the creeping burden of loneliness set in.
But even if you’re in a new city, work from home, or you’re a hardcore introvert, making friends — amazing, loyal, wonderful friends — doesn’t have to be difficult or awkward or painful as an adult. For advice on how (and where) to do it, we turned to Everygirl Co-Founder Danielle Moss, who knows a thing or two about meeting friends in new places.
Here are our tips on how to make friends as an adult:
Accept all the invites
We know how good canceling plans can feel, but listen — if a coworker, acquaintance, or whoever else invites you to that barbecue or cocktail party, just say yes and go. We know showing up to events alone might feel mortifying, but we promise it seems scarier than it actually is. If someone asks you to coffee or brunch, go! Nurture those “acquaintance-ships” into real friendships. As tempting as those nights in with Netflix are, don’t give in to the urge if potential friends await you outside.
“I met one of my first friends in Chicago through my mom, who had a 30-something client invite me to a friend’s barbecue,” Danielle said. “I got over the fact that I felt like a huge dork showing up alone and felt pretty good when I went out for a drink with my new friend.”
Ask for introductions
If you’re moving to a new place, ask people you know to put you in touch with people they know in the city. You’ll be surprised how eager your friends will be to put you in touch with their friends, who can potentially show you around or meet you for a drink in your new city.
Remember that barbecue Danielle went to? She’s now great friends with a woman she met there, even though she was mortified her mom had all but set up the whole thing. “It could have been a terrible experience, but how many bad dates have we all survived? If I can make it through a terrible first date, surely I can make it through a barbecue.”
Ask friends of friends if they know anyone they can connect you with, attend a cultural event, or try something (anything) new. Just get out there and have an open mind.
Try new things
Group classes, clubs, and meetups are great places to meet new friends. From spin class to yoga to charades, there are opportunities galore to introduce yourself to people with similar interests. If cold introductions make you break a sweat, try signing up for something where interaction is more of a given: Salsa classes, cooking classes, hiking and running groups, or anything involving games are good places to start.
From Danielle: “I made lots of friends at my old CrossFit gym, and while I’m only close with a few of them now, it was nice having a group to go out with back when I was new to the city.”
Make the first move
Sure, asking someone you like but only sort-of-know to make plans might be scary, but the worst thing that will happen is they’ll say no. If there’s a person you had a laugh with during a workout or at a party, ask if they’d like to get together sometime. You don’t have to make it formal or weird; coffee and brunch are basic, sure, but they’re also fun and most people like them. If you’ve been having a good time with them in whatever group setting, chances are they’ll want to hang out, too. And here’s a tip: If it feels too formal to ask them to meet you at a later time, see what they’re up to right after the class or meetup — or before the next one. They’re going to be there anyway, right?
Be social on social media
We all have those people we follow on Instagram and would like to be friends with IRL. Well, hey, why not be? If you’ve been following each other on social media and you live in the same area, send a quick message to ask if they want to meet up. Even if you don’t live in the same city, there’s nothing wrong with a few more online friends to chat with online.
What’s more, social media can be a great place to foster friendships with people you already know but aren’t that close to. That girl you knew in college who’s been killing the workout game lately? Message her to compliment her hard work and catch up. Why not?
“I’ve made so many friends online. When I first moved to Chicago, the one blogger I knew introduced me to one girl, who introduced me to another, who introduced me to my Everygirl Co-Founder Alaina,” Danielle explained.
Start connecting with co-workers and clients
If you’re in a new place or simply just looking for new friends, your co-workers are an obvious and easy place to start. Making plans to go get a drink after work with a coworker you like is easy — isn’t that what Happy Hours were made for?
If you work from home, meeting people becomes instantly more difficult (and going stir crazy becomes so much easier)! If you’re feeling isolated, consider a coworking space or a good coffee shop you can work from. In both places, you’ll see familiar faces on the regular who you can strike up conversations with.
“I’m not suggesting that you go up to strangers at a coffee shop and ask them to grab brunch,” Danielle advised. “But if you find a great co-working space, could be worth checking it out a few days a week. You’ll probably end up talking to someone and might make a new friend!”