Making friends as an adult is weird. In school, it was easy to make friends because you were around the same people at least a few times per week in class. After finishing school, many people start to feel like maintaining current friendships is hard, and making new ones is even harder.
I am an EXTREME extravert – 95th percentile according to most personality tests I take. So naturally, not knowing how to make friends after I graduated college was something I struggled with. Even if you’re not as extreme as me, pretty much everyone wants friends.
Fast forward two years…and I have a list on my phone for how to make friends. I know it’s weird. But I know I’m not the only one with this issue, so I’m sharing my personal list with you all.
Join a Sports League
If you were on a sports team at any point in your life, you know sports have a way of bonding people together. Even if you weren’t on a sports team, you probably noticed that people who did play sports together seemed to become weirdly close weirdly fast.
Even if you’re not athletic, joining an adult sports team is one of the BEST ways to make friends as an adult. It also helps you get some exercise, which, let’s be honest, we all need now that we’re getting old.
In Orange County, California (where I live), there is an adult sports league called Beach City Sports. In my opinion, BCS is one of the best ways to meet people in Orange County. If you don’t know anyone, they’ll place you on a team and BOOM – automatic friends. Besides your games, they also have social events built into the program, like happy hours, costume parties, and even Friendsgiving.
The best news? BCS is part of a network of adult sports leagues like this across the United States! Check out Social Sports Network and see if there’s a team in your area.
Here’s a pic of my team and me for your enjoyment:
Join a Church
You can skip this one if you’re not religious and don’t want to be. But honestly, joining a church as an adult has been as good for me spiritually as it has socially.
This means more than just going to a Sunday service. If we’re being honest, I am pretty inconsistent with going to church on Sundays. For me, the social aspect comes through in things like small or life groups, bible study groups, or classes offered by the church.
People you meet at church can be your friends in real life, too. And best of all, church is technically free.
Have something you’re passionate about? Maybe puppies, young kids, or even video games? You can find a volunteer organization for that. Besides meeting new people in a volunteer organization, it’s also a great resume builder.
If you can’t find anything on there, you can also try:
- National Charity League (sorry boys, ladies only)
- Your local pet shelter
- Your local library
- Local homeless shelters
If none of those stand out to you, you can also try your luck with googling “Volunteer opportunities near (your area)”
Get a Second Job
You may not need the money, but if you have the time, you could make some friends. Retail stores, restaurants, and even internet cafes may have hours different than your full time work hours.
Join a Specialty Gym
I’m not sure what else to call these. Basically, these are gyms that specialize in things like:
- Rock climbing (like Hangar 18)
- HIIT (like Crossfit)
- Spinning (like Soul Cycle)
Besides getting you in really good shape, these places tend to have cult-like followings (I’m looking at you, CrossFit.) Once you become a regular gym-goer, you’ll become part of the in crowd. It’s actually scientifically proven that people will like you more when their heart rates are elevated, so it’s easy to make friends at these kinds of places. Plus, you already have something in common.
Keep in mind, these hobbies are expensive, so only get involved if you have the money for it!
Become Yelp Elite
Okay before you @ me, hear me out. There are so many reasons being Yelp Elite will help you make friends that I could write a separate post about it.
First, it’ll get you out and about in your community. You’ll go to all the trendiest places and know all the cool spots.
Second, once you become Yelp Elite, you’ll get invited to these special “Yelp Elite only” events with all these other Elite members. You’ll likely see the same people many times at these events, so it will be easier to have a reason to talk to people.
MeetUp is an app that connects you with people in your area with similar interests. Whether you like beer, board games, speaking other languages, or something else, you can find your people on MeetUp.
Take a Community College Course
Okay, maybe you’re over school. But if you’re not, this is a great way to meet people and learn things in the process. Even if you’ve already graduated from a university, you can still take classes for (relatively) cheap!
Look up your local community college and see if they have any classes you’re interested in. I took a Spanish class about a year ago and it was super fun because language classes are so interactive!
Join a Professional Organization
Seems boring. Actually, it’s pretty cool.
Most industries and lines of work have professional organizations associated with them. Besides being good resume builders, you can actually find friends at these things. Most professional organizations will hold educational events as well as social mixers. Yes, they are all really “networking” events, but you’d be surprised how many people your age will be there.
Get to Know Coworkers Outside of Your Department
If you work at a big company, chances are, you probably don’t know everyone you work with. This is a great opportunity to make friends!
Many people choose not to befriend people they work closely with, and that’s okay. That’s why I recommend you search outside of your department for friends. You can talk to people you don’t recognize at company-wide events, in the break room, or whatever other common spaces big companies have.
I am less familiar with this one since I work at a small company – does anyone else have advice on this one? Leave a message or comment on this post!
Join Your University’s Alumni Association
If you went to a university, especially a big one, it’s likely they have alumni associations in multiple locations. They have social and networking events you can get involved with. People in these groups probably had a great experience at your school and will be happy to meet you.
Try googling “(Your University’s Name) Alumni Association (Your Area)” and see if anything comes up!
So, there’s my long-winded answer to how to make friends as an adult. Hopefully you meet some cool people this way! I’d love to hear how it works out for you!