How to make friends as a ‘grown-up’

I’ve realised after leaving university and moving cities, away from the people that I have grown up with, that making new friendships as an adult is a whole other ball game.

It isn’t the same as when you were a kid. You would just sit down beside someone, starting having a chat, and that was it – Best Friends Forever. Nowadays I’m meeting people on a regular basis, but it seems as an adult taking that relationship to the next level – from acquaintance to friend – doesn’t seem to happen as organically as when I was younger.

As twenty-somethings we are all so busy, are all so focused on OURSELVES, that it seems as an outsider or an acquaintance there are a lot of barriers to really getting to know someone new on a deeper level. We so often resort to surface level conversations because we don’t have time time, or the interest, to really invest. It is just easier to stay in our comfort zone and interact with people we already feel at ease with (difficult when you move cities…).

When I first moved to Wellington I moved into a flat with 6 other like-minded people, all strangers, in the hope that it would be a great way to meet people and immerse myself in the city. And it was for a start – they were friendly, invited me out, welcomed me into their lives. But after a few months I realised I would always be a ‘flatmate’ and not a ‘friend’. They had all known each other for years (high school friends), were from the city and had a great crew of people around Wellington that they hung out with. It was a hard nut to crack. They didn’t need any new friends (I specifically remember hearing one of them talking to another exclaiming this precise statement) so the relationships never progressed. I moved out after a couple of months and haven’t seen or heard from any of them since.

I don’t think that you should have to force friendships, so I never really pushed it with them. If they weren’t too phased, there didn’t really seem like any point in me trying. Like dating guys, if it feels right a friendship should just progress naturally. But I suppose with dating guys, if you are interested in someone, you actively make an effort to get to know them on a deeper level and explore that connection by spending formal time with them. You don’t really do that with friends… Sure you hang out with them of course, but you don’t ever really declare that you are trying to get to know them. It just kinda… happens.

So, do I need to ‘friend date’? Is that even a thing? And how do you approach it?

‘Hey person I kinda know! Do you want to potentially be my friend? Want to have a drink and see if we get along?!’

… #desperate. Ha

So this is my conundrum. Am I the only one that finds this a challenge? Any advice out there, internet world? THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS I NEED ANSWERS TO, PEOPLE! 😉

Jes x

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8 thoughts on “How to make friends as a ‘grown-up’

    1. You are so right, I have a social volleyball team already but still struggling to build anything outside of that. Potentially that’s me not trying hard enough though… We will see!

      1. Try inviting your team out for drinks/coffee afterwards. If anyone decides to join, they just might be the friend(s) you’re looking for…

  1. Definitely not the only one. I have also struggled with this too. I think you’re so right in saying that making a friend as an adult is so much harder because there isn’t a declaration, but I think there can sometimes be a hidden declaration in an invitation?

    I generally meet like minded people at networking events. When meeting them in person I might ask a non-wok-related question or talk about an event that is coming up that I’m excited about (there are tonnes of markets and festivals in my city and so many people love them). If they seem interested, the next day I might connect with them on their social channels and consider inviting them to attend the event with me.

    That’s just what has worked for me.

    Kate xx

    1. Hey Kate, I think you are onto something, simply putting it out there in an invitation probably shows your intentions of friendship. Thank you for this very insightful comment, love your work! Xx

  2. I’ve been struggling with this myself lately, but maybe a bit in reverse. Because I stayed local after university, I live in the same city as a lot of my friends who graduated with me. At first it was great to have them around as my safety net, but now that I’m ready to expand my social circle I’m finding it very challenging to do so. Making adult friends isn’t easy no matter which side of the aisle you’re sitting on.

    1. I completely understand! I find it so easy to just stay in the comfort of your own little circle. I especially find at the moment because so much is going on and you’re changing a lot as a person that those people that were originally in your circle may not be the right people you want to surround yourself with anymore (not because you don’t like them, just because you are changing and wanting different things), and if you are stuck in that circle it can hinder more than help. Good luck with your journey, I feel your pain!
      Jes x

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