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Life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Yet, learning how to make friends as an adult is much more complicated than walking up to someone on the playground.
Fortunately, plenty of other adults are interested in making friends like you — you just need to know where to look.
Here’s why making friends in your adult years is much more challenging and some of the best places to find your social circle.
Why Is Making Friends So Hard When You’re a Grown-Up?
Adults tend to trust less easily and struggle to find the time to invest themselves in new friendships. Often, this is why people stay closest to childhood friends instead.
Research shows it takes 40–60 hours for acquaintances to become casual friends within the first six weeks. These become full-fledged friendships between 57 hours after three weeks and 164 hours over three months.
Adulting is much more complex, too — between work, home life, priorities and “me time,” finding the time and space to give to deepening close friendships can be challenging.
Social anxiety is also more prevalent among grown-ups than young children, affecting 7.1% of Americans — or 15 million adults. People begin to develop social anxiety around 13 years old.
Does it mean you’ll never make friends? Of course not. But where and how you befriend people as an adult might look different.
10 Places to Make Friends As an Adult
If finding people to socialize and hang out with is difficult for you in your grown-up years, have no fear. There are plenty of places to make friends as an adult. Here are 10 spots to find your tribe.
1. Meetup Groups
Your city or town may have various meetup groups in the area for you to catch up with like-minded people. For instance, the community-building platform MeetUp.com now has over 60 million users in 330,000 groups across 10,000 cities worldwide.
These types of networks allow you to find groups based on your interests, hobbies and passions while fostering connections with authentic people near you who share those same interests.
2. Community Classes
Are you on the up and up with what’s happening in town? Your local libraries, schools, art league and community centers may hold adult education classes for you to join.
From painting to cooking to photography, there is an endless list of classes for you to enroll in and meet new friends.
Community colleges, craft stores and nonprofit organizations also offer professional and personal development courses. Ask around and call your town hall for information regarding program offerings.
3. Social Apps
Have you ever considered looking for friends on social media? There are 4.48 social media users worldwide, with the average person engaging with six social applications. Not to mention, there are also dating sites you can utilize for making friends, such as the following:
- Bumble BFF: Like Bumble for dating but strictly for girlfriends
- Hey! VINA: Establishes empowering female friendships with a swipe-left/swipe-right interface
- Friender: Finds you a best friend to do activities with
- Atleto: Matches you to workout buddies in town and worldwide
- Wink: An app strictly for meeting new friends
4. Concerts, Arts and Culture Events
Meeting people while attending a concert, comedy show, play or other arts event isn’t difficult. Even commenting under a tour announcement on social media posts asking if anyone wants to meet up on the day of the show could result in new friends having dinner with you beforehand.
These events are perfectly fine to attend alone, knowing you could walk away with beautiful friendships in the making.
5. Travel Groups
Joining a travel group is an excellent way to make new friends as an adult while seeing the world. Bring a buddy or travel solo — you can participate in plenty of excursions and groups for your trip. Travel groups present opportunities to meet new people who share your love for seeing new places in similar fashions.
While global adventures are always thrilling, proceed with caution. Look for red flags among other travelers, be hypervigilant of your surroundings and avoid becoming distracted. If someone gives you “off” vibes, it is best to stay away.
6. Dog Parks
A trip to the dog park might be in order if you’re searching for a new faithful companion yourself. Your loving furry friend is a gateway to socialization.
According to one survey by PetSafe and OnePoll, dog owners report befriending at least three people thanks to their beloved dogs. Thirty-nine percent say they feel better connected to their community when visiting dog parks.
Of course, our pets often help our anxiety, too. If you have a fear of socializing or feel awkward around people, your dog can help ease your emotional state.
7. Sports Leagues
As we get older, settle down and have kids, making new friends is increasingly time-consuming. However, your kids’ sports leagues and extracurricular activities are excellent places to meet other parents while simultaneously fostering your children’s friendships.
There are also several adult sports and recreational leagues you can join if there is a particular activity you enjoy. Joining a team gives everyone a common goal to work together towards and builds camaraderie. You’re bound to find yourself going out for drinks or dinner after a game, too.
Some argue the office is no place to make friends — it might be best to separate your professional and personal life. However, a 2022 survey suggests differently. About 32% of respondents with best friends at work reported greater job satisfaction, which rose during the pandemic.
Work friends provide us with emotional support and encouragement throughout the day, especially during challenging times like the pandemic. The survey also found forging friendships at work resulted in increased productivity, a sense of safety and innovation.
9. Religious and Spirituality Centers
Churches, synagogues and other religious and spiritual centers are excellent places to meet people with similar values and beliefs. These institutions often foster a greater sense of community and have ample opportunities to get to know people.
For instance, you might join a Bible study or small group through your church. Small groups, especially, bring a few people together at once at someone’s home — just enough for you to truly connect.
Even staying at an ashram in India delivers chances to make friends during mealtime or planned activities outside the retreat.
How nice would it be to make friends as an adult while helping others in need? Meet new people through acts of kindness by giving your time and effort.
Volunteering can prevent loneliness, build your network and strengthen the relationships you already have. A frequently cited 2016 study by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society found that 90% said volunteering had social benefits, with another 80% willing to date another volunteer than someone from a dating website.
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
You can make new friends as an adult and still keep those you’ve known the longest. You’ll just enrich your life with more people and support than ever before. Don’t give up on finding the people you jive with best. They’re out there if you look for them.
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