Making Friends As An Adult

Making friends as an adult is hard sometimes!

This can be especially true if you find yourself in a new city, in a new job, or just out of a relationship. We are wired for social connection, and not feeling a sense of belonging can feel extremely unpleasant and lonely. It can also lead things like anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

The difficulty of making friends as an adult can be baffling given how natural and automatic it used to be as kids. Growing up there were so many structures in place to allow us to do so. Starting at an early age, we would meet friends in our neighborhood and then start school. With school come endless options of social activities, such as sports and clubs. College opens up a whole new world where some of the strongest bonds in life are formed.

What all of these structures provided us with is contact with others who are experiencing similar life events. Intense experiences and milestones are made together, and fears of the future are inherently understood. After college and young adulthood things can start to change – people move, start new jobs, enter more serious relationships and start families.

Change is part of life but suddenly not having that same sense of belonging can throw anybody into an existential crisis! Gone are the days when meaningful connections fell into our laps, as an adult we now actually have to go out and do something about it. Unfortunately, making new friends as an adult can seem like a chore – you know that it is good for you, and that you need to do it – but you put it off. There are endless ways to talk ourselves out of reaching out new people and engaging in new activities, such as “I am tired after work,” “I want to wait for someone to come with me,” “I would not be good at (fill in the blank) activity.” These are valid reasons – but still excuses! More than that, the idea of making new friends can be scary. Like dating, there are inherent fears of rejection.

However, making strong and meaningful connections are essential to our wellbeing. Luckily, there are options as long as you are willing to put yourself out there!

Sometimes the easiest way to meet new people is to join a group that focuses on a specific hobby or activity. The article New Friends, New City highlights a number of sites such as Meetup, Dabbler and CitySocializer that provide fun ways to meet new people! There are other options too, such as:
Sports & Activities:

Volunteering

Book Clubs:

Fun Group Classes:

All of these sites are great because they provide a platform to make connections similar to the structures of when we were growing up! The next step is a bit scarier and requires some vulnerability on your part. When meeting new people show interest in their lives and open up about who you are. Importantly, don’t be a stranger after these initial connections. Ask people to do things, make plans and phone calls; eventually even start a group! Cultivating relationships takes effort but it is well worth it!

Now that you are done reading, start doing! And if you feel like you need a little extra support to help you deal with some anxiety that might come with this vulnerability, set up a time to come in and meet to one of our Therapists. We’d love to talk to you.

Written by: Millie Huckabee, LPC Therapist at Lincoln Park Therapy Group

FIND THE COURAGE TO CULTIVATE CHANGE.

If you’re in the Chicago area and interested in therapy services, you can learn more about starting here. Or if you’re ready to get started, reach out to us and schedule an appointment.