Let’s talk about making friends as adults! A lot of people have been talking lately about how to make friends and how to find friends.
Here are some ideas, suggestions and examples about different ways you can think about making friends online while you’re at home – since now we’re meeting and interacting with people online instead of in person.
This question of how to make friends as an adult is a common question. I’ll give you some ideas of places you can go (online), some things you can do (online).
Making Friends as an Adult Article from Years Ago
I used to have a DIY and lifestyle blog years ago. One of the articles that I wrote that I was really proud of, and that got a lot of attention, was called something like “10 ways to make friends as an adult.”
I remembered that I had written that article and that it was so well received, and I decided to recycle that content from years ago for this website because I still stand by what I wrote.
But, that was a few computers and thumb drives ago and that website and blog has since retired. I actually couldn’t even find the article that I wrote. Maybe it’s lost forever. Maybe it also doesn’t apply today. That was at a time when we were all out and about, so many of the suggestions were about how to meet people in person. Maybe it’s fine that I can’t find that old article.
Then, I thought, maybe it does still apply today because all of those activities and places that we were going to – we still have the same need for human connection.
I don’t remember all 10 of the ideas now, and I don’t remember what I said about the 10 ideas. But, if I were to recreate it today, I probably would have included
Friends of friends
People that have similar interests that you meet at events
People you meet while volunteering
People with the the same hobbies
As I think about those suggestions, I know that those ideas still apply to us even while we’re in quarantine and while we’re trying to stay socially distant. We can still use the same examples from that article that was written years ago, even if I can’t find it, because the examples are still relevant today.
Why is Making Friends as an Adult such a Common Question?
I see the question of how to make friends frequently in Facebook groups and in online forums, and even in personal conversations.
Maybe it’s worded as “how to make friends in a new city” or “how to make friends in your 30s.
Why do we struggle with making friends as adults.
If we go backwards and think about how we made friends as children, we remember that we were in the same geographic location, either the same neighborhood or the same school. Or, we had similar interests to our friends, either sports, or scouts, or hobbies. Or we were familiar because we saw each other all the time. There was really no choice in seeing the same kids over and over- like, riding the same school bus every day. Later, as teenagers, we paired off with people with the same interest in music, entertainment, or clothing style or rebelliousness as us.
Whatever the reasons were, we found them because we were frequently face-to-face with them, in school or in social outings or in the same friend groups.
Now as adults, especially with quarantine, we might not have the same level of familiarity.
Seasons Change in Friendships
When I think back over my friendships that I’ve had as an adult, in the last twenty years, I realize I am still very close with some friends and I’ve lost touch with others.
People change. I am not the same person I was twenty years ago.My tastes have changed. My views have changed. My education level has changed. My boundaries have changed.
You might feel the same way. You may feel that you have matured and developed a lot and you may want to spend time with people who value what you value and who see the world the same way that you do.
Old friendships may not stick around because we’ve changed and our former friends may not value the things we value now. The end of the friendship may have just been a natural progression away from each other.
The other thing to remember is that seasons change. I can think of a few years ago when I had a really strong friend group of couples.
We still love each other and still have a lot in common and still see the world the same way, but most of the couples have moved away. They moved for different job opportunities or living opportunities. Even though there was no problem in our friendship, things change.
I’ve seen this “seasons change/friendships change” phenomenon also with my friends whose kids grow up and when the kids part ways from their sports teams or activities, the parents might not feel they have the same connection or reasons to be friends anymore with the parents they were friendly with during their children’s activities.
Even if none of those changes were happening right now, now that we’re in quarantine, all of the reasons that people are looking to make friends online are amplified. People are looking for ways to make new connections and deepen connections and to find new ways to spend time with people.
The fact that we’re at home now, and maybe feeling a little more alone than we were before, and maybe some of the things we used to do for entertainment are no longer available to us, these situations make us look for new ways to make friends online.
Making Friends Online vs. In Person
The most obvious place to go make friends online is social media – facebook, instagram and other online platforms.
You probably already have friends on Facebook. Maybe you like these friends, maybe you don’t. But think about the people you already know on Facebook, do they have friends who you could be friends with? Do they have connections who you don’t know yet?
Are your friends in Facebook Groups that you are not a part of yet.
You can reconnect with people you already know, or deepen the connection, or maybe also meet other people- just by looking at your current friends on social networks.
Even if you just joined Facebook today for the first time and you don’t have any connections yet, you can just look for groups that have things in common with you. A few Facebook groups that I’m in have grown and developed out of a fan base, either fans of a podcast or fans of an author, or fans of a political movement.
What Are You Interested In?
Think about what you’re interested in and do a search inside of Facebook with whatever you’re interested in and look to see if there are any groups dedicated to that interest.
I’ve heard of at least 2 couples who met through Instagram- just through commenting, and following and liking and eventually moving to a 1-on-1 conversation, and then eventually, meeting in real life.
It is possible to meet people and develop relationships on Instagram. Again, this is about looking at what you life and doing a search for things that you’re interested in or following hashtags that are important to you.
Using MeetUp.com to Meet People Online
Another way to make new friends online that might be a little surprising is Meetup.com. This platform was designed to meet people in person. Anytime, anyone asks how to make friends as an adult, someone usually suggests to go meet people who are interested in the same things you are and find them on Meetup.com.
In 2020, since we’re not meeting people in person anymore, but meetups are still happening. I have met so many new people on meetup. It’s great and interesting. Meetup.com has added the option to host and attend online meetups. You can find a group who is interested in what you’re interested in. It’s very low risk. You don’t have to drive anywhere. You could always opt-out if the meetup is not for you.
Using Nextdoor.com to Meet People Online
In some areas, another option is Nextdoor.com. This website is all about connecting neighbors to each other. Type in your address to see if there’s already a community where you live, and if not, it might prompt you to start one. Nextdoor provides an online message board for neighbors. The website does confirm that you live in the area as a check and balance system.
It’s great because if you hear sirens in your neighborhood, you could log onto Nextdoor and maybe someone else already knows what the sirens are about. Or, if there’s something going on with the water, electricity or internet, you can log on to find out if it’s just you or if its a neighborhood situation.
Years ago, I put out an offer on Nextdoor and one of my neighbors took me up on it, so we got to meet in person 4 years ago. We didn’t keep in close contact even though we live in the same area. We stayed loosely connected on Facebook over the years. About a month ago, she saw a post I wrote and reached out and we got reconnected – all because we had originally met on Nextdoor and kept a friendly acquaintance going.
Other Places to Go Online
Think about other places you could go online! What about your own email account? What blasts from the pasts could you reconnect with? Maybe friends who you’ve lost contact with who you’re not connected to on social media? You should shoot them an email and ask “what are you up to?”
You could invite them to jump on a zoom call.
You could also review old connections with former coworkers. See what they’re up to. See what they’ve moved on to. If you liked someone previously in a work setting, maybe you’ll like them now in a social setting.
You can get creative! These are just a few ideas that I have personal knowledge of – but if you start thinking of local websites, non-profits, groups, community organizations, you might think of other ways you can meet people through online forums or directories.
What to Do to Make Friends Online
Notice what you have in common. What are your common interests? Look to see if there is an online community of people who love what you love.
It’s happened to me that people in large, global facebook groups reach out to me personally when they realize that we live in neighboring towns. We have connected because of our local, common geography, even though we were in a huge, global Facebook groups.
You can notice friends of friends in comments. Who’s funny? Who has a sense of humor that you like? Who shares your viewpoint? Who, in comments, makes you think a little differently who could be a good friend to offer you a different perspective?
As you see people online who you might like, go ahead and comment on what they tell you. Like their posts, Join the discussion. Follow up!
The Friendship Formula- the 4 Fs
If you’re reading through a post and you see something in comments that you disagree with, you don’t have to disagree with them if your goal is to be friendly. You can ask a question to be friendly.
Follow other people
You can like and comment on their posts. Hit the button to send a friend request. Click the button to follow them. The reason why I recommend you follow them, and check out their profile and see what you have in common is for the next F- familiarity!
Becoming friends with someone online is not a one-time thing. You don’t like a post or reply to a comment and suddenly you’re friends. Building the friendship will take time, with familiarity.
If you have the opportunity to see them in more places, to see more of their posts, to be in a Facebook group with them, to jump on a Zoom call that they’re joining, do it! Friendship takes repetitiveness.
Go ahead and invite someone to jump on a video or phone call with you – either on Zoom or in Facebook Messenger. If you see someone that you want to get to know, or deepen the connection with, you could invite them to a quick little meeting.
Or, if you’re going to be attending a Zoom call, you could invite the new friend to join you. Think about how fun it would be for you to be waiting on the call and seeing someone who you are getting to know joining the call too!
I hope you have some specific ideas and new thoughts about how you can make new friends online while we’re all stuck at home.
Did I remind you of anything? Which of these suggestions will you try?
If you’re looking for some online options to meet people, check out the events I host each month online at bexb.org/letsmeet
If you would like a Friendship Cheat Sheet including a list of what to do and what not to do when making friends online, get the Finding Friends Online Cheat Sheet here!