Some advice about how to make friends as an adult.
This topic has been on my list of content ideas for a looong time. I kept putting it off because I was worried my advice wasn’t helpful enough… but after chatting with so many of you in my DMs, I realized I do have some good ideas on this front! And that’s because I understand the struggle.
The hardest part of leaving New York for me was leaving my best friends. Hands down. There is a sense of belonging and comfort you feel when you know you can set up a brunch with your best gals next Saturday if you need them. Needless to say, it was definitely a shock to be in a new city and feel very alone.
I was lucky that my parents and one of my best friends were in the suburbs and my sister was in Oak Park at the time. I also had a few friends from high school that I got in touch with. But it took trial and error to figure out who I connected with the best. I still go through trail and error as I meet new people almost 8 years later!
So if you find yourself in a similar spot, here are a few of the ways I’ve been able to make friends + a few ways I’ve seen other people in my life make friends in their adult lives. It may be uncomfortable to put yourself out there sometimes, but it IS possible – I promise.
How To Make Friends As An Adult
Make an effort with people you already know.
If you’re in a new city, utilize any connection you might have. Do you know someone from high school or college who lives there? Or do you have mutual friends that you’ve never met, or only met a few times? Don’t be shy! Same goes for old friends you haven’t seen in a while. Instead of taking it personally or wondering why you haven’t seen each other in a while, call them and see if they want to grab coffee and catch up!
I also think a lot of friendships can form through work. Go to that work happy hour. Eat lunch with your coworkers instead of eating it at your desk. I found that I particularly bonded with a lot of my coworkers most when we were traveling for trade show events. Instead of going right to my room, I’d grab a drink with them at the end of the day. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting.
If people invite you to go out with their friends, GO!
Along those same lines, it can be intimidating to be the new person tagging along with a group of friends, but I’m going to lovingly tell you to get over that 😉 Worst case scenario is that you don’t jive with their friends and you leave. Best case scenario, you get along really well and you’re glad you went out instead of watching Netflix by yourself again!
When I first moved back, I definitely had experiences when I felt out of place being that outsider amongst a close group of friends. It got to a point when I realized that one group just weren’t my people and I should stop trying – and that’s totally okay! Like I said, making friends requires some trial and error. Soon after that, my brother and sister-in-law moved 2 blocks away in Old Town and invited me out with them any time they were on Wells St. I could have crawled into my shell and convinced myself that their friends will think I’m lame for tagging along… but instead, I’d go! And it was ALWAYS fun. They live in Austin now, but we still see some of their friends on our own because they’ve become our friends, too!
Go to events in your city/town.
If the first two suggestions aren’t an option for you, don’t worry! There are no rules against going to events in your city or town by yourself! I know it may seem scary, but again – you just have to think about what’s the worst that can happen. It’s awkward and you make up an excuse as to why you have to leave to people you don’t know? You can handle that, girlfriend.
Plus, there’s a benefit to going to things by yourself. Instead of staying in your bubble, you’re forced to ask a stranger if the seat next to them is open. And then maybe you compliment their shoes. And then maybe you realize you have a ton in common! Who knows?!
You might find out about events through work, but you can also find out about events by following your favorite brands, workout studios, and bloggers (hey!) on social media. Maybe your favorite podcast is hosting a live event (I went to the Almost30 meetup here a few years ago and it was awesome!), there’s a shopping event at your favorite boutique, or there’s a charity workout class with snacks after. Or your favorite bloggers are hosting a happy hour at Eataly! (I’m still SO SAD I had the flu during that one I planned with Jess. So much FOMO ?)
Go on a group trip or retreat.
Feeling brave and want to take that idea of going to an event one step further? Go on a trip! You could sign up for a yoga retreat, Birthright (if you’re Jewish), or go on a group travel trip geared towards solo travelers/like minded women.
If that last suggestion appeals to you, I can help you there! My friend Whitney is hosting another one of her #AtlasAdventures, which is a fully planned travel experience for women. Her first one was in Italy with Heather McMahan, her second one will be in Paris this May, and her third one will be in Belize – and I’m going with her!
We will be staying at Thatch Caye, which is a sustainable resort on a private island. There will be (optional) workouts each morning, a goal setting workshop, a movie night under the stars, and plenty of time to reflect and recharge. The price does not cover your flights, but it does cover all of those fun activities + 3 chef-prepared meals each day, alcohol, snacks, and the boat transfer between the airport and the island.
You can find all of the information here, and if this sounds appealing to you, sign up for Whitney’s email updates. She will email you at 12pm CST tomorrow (2/25) when the registration goes live! Spots are first come, first serve. Her last 2 trips sold out really quickly, so I’d set a calendar alert, too!
Obviously there are less expensive ways to travel. But if you’ve been craving an opportunity to make connections with like minded people, see a new part of the world, and reconnect with yourself and your goals, this is an amazing option. I keep thinking about how much I would have loved to do this when I was 28 and single with friends who were all in relationships. I would have been all about this!
Join relevant Facebook Groups.
Social media can be a great thing, guys! If you’ve ever DMed me asking about how to make friends as an adult, you know that I tell everyone to join my Lake Shore Lady Community Group on Facebook. It’s a great way to find out about things going on in Chicago – some girls even created their own additional Facebook group just to organize meet ups to discuss my Book Club picks! OBSESSED!
If you’re not based in Chicago, look up neighborhood Facebook groups. Apparently Lakeview has a really great one here in Chicago, but they’re all over the world. A few of my friends out on the East Coast have met Mom friends through “Moms of (their town)’s” Facebook groups. So cool!
This one is so simple, but it’s a great way to meet new people! I have a whole roundup of volunteer opportunities in Chicago, and I’d recommend starting with a cause that’s close to your heart. If you love dogs, maybe you could volunteer at an animal shelter. If you like to cook, you could help feed the hungry (Ravenswood Community Services cooks a dinner that serves 250 people every Tuesday!). There are so many ways to give back – and you can make some new (and philanthropic!) friends while you’re at it!
Do you have any other tips for making friends as an adult?
I’d love to hear them in the comments!