How to Make Friends (Even When it Feels Impossible)

how to make friends

Among the many issues we share is the struggle of how to make friends in adulthood.

This is especially true for people over 30 who cite career, life experience, personal growth, and lifestyle changes as just a few of the reasons why they have trouble making friends.


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But adults of all ages are in the same boat due to a range of circumstances such as:

  • Introverted nature or shyness
  • Post-pregnancy
  • Difficult marriage or divorce
  • Lifestyle changes and cutting down on certain activities
  • Self-confidence issues
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Illness that affects mobility
  • New location

Our perspective, interests, and behavior naturally change as time goes by, rendering it difficult to maintain past friendships and cultivate new ones.

But there’s a silver lining, and it’s a big one.

How To Make Friends As An Adult: Step One—Complete

You’re here, so you’ve already acknowledged that you have trouble making friends and want to turn that around. That’s your first step, so mark that off your mental checklist.

Now, you just need the tools and tips to put your efforts to good use.

We promise we won’t leave you hanging. That’s why we put together this comprehensive guide to making friends that actually works.

Participate In Dog-Friendly Activities

If you have a dog, then you know how great an icebreaker your pup can be. Most importantly, you have to give your dog plenty of socialization and exercise, which brings you out into the world as well.

This is especially helpful if you’re naturally introverted or just moved to a new location.

Dog parks are great for getting back into the game, but it’s not the only dog-friendly activity you can try to make new friends.

We’re loving these ideas on how to make friends with your dog by your side:

  • Frequent dog-friendly cafes and eateries
  • Take your dog to dog-friendly beaches
  • Research local events for dogs and dog owners
  • Schedule puppy and dog play dates in advance
  • Start or join a local dog owners’ Facebook group
  • Volunteer at a dog rescue

But What If I Don’t Have A Dog?

We know not everyone is a dog person.

What’s great about having any pet is the instant connection it creates with fellow pet owners—of all species!

You don’t even have to be a pet owner. Building connections around a personal love for animals is a great starting point for building long-term friendships.

Try these ideas for starters:

  • Volunteer for a wildlife rescue
  • Volunteer at the zoo
  • Arrange or participate in an animal-related meetup through meetup.com
  • Attend or volunteer for animal fundraisers
  • Volunteer at a cat rescue
  • Foster a pet

Not into all that fur and dander? No problem.

Keep reading because we have even more tips for making friends in adulthood.

Build Friendships Through Volunteering

Volunteering is one of the best ways to make new friends when you’re an adult.

It brings people together for a good cause, which is a strong starting point for building friendships.

Even the motivation to volunteer helps build the confidence needed to start making friends again.

The American Psychological Association (APA) identified these five motivators for volunteering:

  • Fulfilling “personal values” like humanitarian concerns, animal rights, or food security for example.
  • Involvement in the community
  • Build self-esteem
  • Gain more understanding and perspective
  • General personal development

As you volunteer, your confidence grows, blazing the way toward new friendships and healthy ones at that.

Enroll In A Course or Seminar

Investing more time in your interests is a tried and tested tip on how to make friends after 30.

For those of you who spent any time in a college dormitory, you know all too well what it’s like being surrounded by students 24/7. Then when you graduate, the party’s over.

Taking a course at your local community or technical college is a great way to nurture your interests and make friends in the process.

You also don’t have to technically enroll in an academic class either. You could choose to audit a course or attend just one class a month.

We love collaborative classes even more because it gives adults a chance to mingle and work together.

The best classes for making friends include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cake decorating
  • Art classes
  • Leadership courses and seminars
  • Community activism training
  • Debate
  • Theater

You’re sure to meet some awesome people in these collaborative classes. But if school isn’t your thing, don’t worry, we got you covered.

Get Out Into The Great Outdoors

Maybe a breath of fresh air is what you need.

Participating in outdoor activities again proves the importance activities play in making new friends in adulthood.

Not only that, but studies show that fresh air can do the following:

  • Make you happier
  • Help you think more clearly
  • Boost your immune system
  • Energize you
  • Decrease stress

Making new friends is stressful enough, so being out in the fresh air is a fantastic way to take the edge off so you can be yourself.

We recommend signing up for these outdoor activities to get yourself socializing again:

  • Local or city-wide marathons
  • Frisbee in the park
  • Public yoga sessions in the park
  • Beach clean-ups
  • Rockclimbing
  • Bicycling events
  • Outdoor volleyball

This is also a good opportunity to take up a sport or outdoor activity you’ve never tried. Joining a recreation club or class for beginners is a good way to make new friends while connecting over that shared experience of trying something new.

Get In Contact and Stay In Touch

It’s so easy to get absorbed by life and lose contact with people we really connected with.

When building adult friendships, don’t be afraid to look back into your past and cultivate friendships with people you’ve been meaning to re-connect with. On this note, use your new and improved communication skills to stay in better contact with friends you already have.

Facebook is probably the best social media network for staying in touch with friends. But if you’re not a social media person, we suggest making more of an effort to email, text, and pick the phone to call a friend.

You can also use Gmail’s hangout feature to chat online without even having to look at Facebook.

Think Positive

Last but least, do your very best to stay positive.

Making new friends is a journey, so don’t be hard on yourself if it takes a while to make those connections.

It’s important to not give up and to keep enjoying all the new activities you’re participating in.

As you build your confidence with these tips on how to make friends, you’ll find yourself shedding those insecurities that are preventing you from making the friends you want.

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