Making Adult Friends Is Not Easy
Making adult friends is hard. In the time of COVID, even harder. I interviewed 10 different women between the ages of 20 and 60 to find out how they make friends and how they maintain friendships. The 20 somethings were proactive in listing ways they were connecting with friends on a daily basis, even if it was just through a quick text, a Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook (K. Age 24) (H. Age 25) (M. Age 36).
The older women gave wise advice on finding your inner circle friends and being okay with not having 20 close friends. One lady shared, “You may never have the same number of friends as you did in high school or college but you can have deeper and more meaningful relationships with fewer” (M.Age 47). Another interviewee describes these kinds of friends as “the people who have your back and who you can count on for anything” (H. Age 25).
The biggest takeaway from the interviews was BE PROACTIVE. You have to put in the effort to let people know you care and that they matter to you. This is what cultivates friendships.
A few women admitted it’s exhausting to put yourself out there and make the effort all the time. So to combat the fatigue of finding new friends or maintaining current ones, pace it out. Start with any of the following suggestions that work for you! Pick one or two things you’d like to try this week and stick with it. You may just find a new friend and more meaningful friendships.
Maintaining/Cultivating Adult Friendships
1. Use your phone calendar.
Write down the names of your friends. Put a different friend’s name on each day to send a quick text to. Assure them they don’t have to reply back. Let them know you’re thinking of them (K. Age 24).
2. Cultivate your 3 closest friendships.
These are the people you share the most with and feel the closest to. Call them. They are the ones who know you and love you. Be a listening ear. Make sure to add them to your weekly check-in list (M. Age 47).
3. Reach out to 5 good friends regularly.
These are the people that you know well and have fun being with (A. 57). Meet up for weekend hikes, play dates at the park, family bike rides, yoga, or Cross-fit.
Making New Friends
4. Instagram/Social Media/Blogs
- This may sound like a stretch but several women have been meeting new friends on Instagram who they relate to and admire. Reach out to these women and make an effort to follow them, comment, and message. Have a coffee date with them if they live in the same town. How about a safe COVID friendly play date for your kids at an open park (M. Age 47).
- Meet people through ABQ Mom! Stay connected with women in your community through the blog. Check-in on happenings, events, and local meetups. You could even join our book club! This community is full of a diverse group of women who are great at relating to one another in meaningful ways.
- Connect with coworkers by planning a coffee date or drinks with them outside of work (H. Age 25).
- Many times there are coworkers who are wanting friendships just as much as you do so don’t be afraid to invite or reach out. Send them a word of encouragement. Bring them a coffee. Let them know they matter to you (M. Age 36).
6. Women’s Bible Studies/Church
- Connecting with women from your church isn’t always easy. Several older women in the interview mentioned that often times church groups can be “cliquey.” We have all experienced “cliquey” groups since elementary school. Sadly, it doesn’t change when you’re an adult. And this happens anywhere, not just in church. Be the person that welcomes everyone! Become the inviter. Break down walls by opening your home and your schedule (T. Age 53) (A. Age 57) (M. Age 47). Mother Theresa has a wonderful quote related to doing things for others regardless of reciprocity.
7. Self Reflection
- This was a great piece of advice from a young lady who suggested that part of her challenge was taking the time to self-reflect and work on her own character so she can be a better friend to others (T. Age 24).
How About You?
Do you have as many close friends now as you did in high school or college? Why or why not?
Has it been difficult for you to make new adult friends in this season of your life?