Skip to content

20 Simple Ways To Make Friends As An Adult, Recommended By Experts

Sarah Regan
Author: Expert reviewer:
Updated on April 25, 2023
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Kristie Overstreet, Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, CST
Expert review by
Kristie Overstreet, Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, CST
Clinical Sexologist & Psychotherapist
Kristie Overstreet, Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, CST, is a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist with 12 years of clinical experience. She is a licensed counselor in California, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. She is also a certified sex therapist, certified addiction professional, and president of the Therapy Department, a private practice in Orange County that provides counseling services throughout the United States.

Whether you just moved to a new neighborhood or just are at a time in your life when feel like your social life has been lacking, making friends as an adult can be a difficult feat.

We've all been there—but the truth is, it is totally possible to make new friends, no matter how old you are. Here's advice on how to make friends as an adult, from relationship experts.

Why it's hard to make friends as an adult

Growing up, we have school, sports teams, and extracurriculars to fill our social calendars. But as we get older, opportunities to meet new people may seem few and far between. People settle into marriages and have children, work life gets busy, maybe you move to a new city recently, or you are simply an introvert. And all of these things can be hurdles to making close friends.

For one thing, research shows1 that the more time you spend with someone, the more likely you are to feel an emotional closeness and depth of friendship with them. But of course, the older we get, the less free time we tend to have.

Further, we tend to be a bit more forgiving for the differences of others when we're young. Things like politics, religion, and even social status are not typically on the minds of elementary school students, but for folks in their 30s, 40s, and beyond, they may be a bit pickier in terms of what they're looking for (or willing to tolerate) in their friends.

But all these things does not mean making friends as an adult is impossible.

20 ways to make friends as an adult:


Approach with positivity

According to board-certified psychiatrist Roxanna Namavar, D.O., the way we perceive the world frames our whole life. If you go into social scenarios or approach making new friends with negativity, you aren't going to get too far. This is law of attraction 101—we have to focus on what makes us feel good. If all we focus on is our lack of new friends, we're reinforcing that reality.

"When we start to focus on doing things that make us feel good and engage in a way that increases positive feelings, it makes it easier to see and connect with other people we resonate with," she adds.


Create a life for yourself that you enjoy

To that end, Namavar stresses that the best thing you can do for yourself to make new friends is to create a life you enjoy. "Like attracts like," she notes, and "the more engaged we are with life, the easier it is to go out and meet people. When you do things that make you feel good, you end up finding people who enjoy the same things."


Find a group that interests you

There are plenty of in-person and virtual interest groups you can take advantage of to help you meet new friends. As psychologist Nicole Beurkens, Ph.D., explains to mbg, "One of the easiest ways to connect with people who might be friendship material is to engage in group activities around your interests."

"One of my favorite ways to make friends as an adult is Meetup," says somatic psychologist Holly Richmond, Ph.D. "There's also My Social Calendar."

Engaging in things you enjoy, whatever they are, "can reduce fears of awkwardness by giving you something to focus on besides the people involved," Beurkens adds.

For a little inspiration, here are just some of the activities you can consider, offered by Beurkens, Namavar, and Richmond:

  1. Take a new yoga class.
  2. Join a local hiking group.
  3. Try a cooking class.
  4. Attend a spiritual or religious service.
  5. Practice with the church choir.
  6. Check out a local sports club.
  7. Join a committee at work.
  8. Scope out a crafting workshop.
  9. Join a book club.
  10. Volunteer with a local charity.

Lead with curiosity

When we're meeting new people, our insecurities can get the best of us, Richmond explains—but it goes both ways. It's important to remember a new friend is just a person like you, who's also got their own insecurities.

"Instead of talking about yourself or thinking you have to impress this person, lead with curiosity and ask questions about them," she says. "We're all so in our head, so if you can help get someone out of their head a bit, it's generally really endearing."


Look to your network

In the age of social media, there are innumerable casual acquaintances always available at our fingertips. Why not reach out to one of them? As Richmond tells mbg, relationships are always evolving: "You can know someone for years and one day just click," she says. "Timing is everything, so give those old relationships a new chance or a new view."

Mutual friends are a great place to start as well, Namavar notes. "Sometimes it makes it easier to be social if a friend is with you that you already feel comfortable with," she says. Plus, if they already get along with one of your friends, there's a good chance you'll like them too.


Say yes

You might have to go outside your comfort zone and try new things to make new connections. "The key is to be willing to put yourself out there to engage with other people you don't know," Beurkens says. Of course, this can be intimidating, "especially for people who are shy or experience some social anxiety," she adds, "but taking the risk to meet new people is what leads to the reward of developing new relationships."

As much as your inner social butterfly allows, say "yes" when you receive an invite. You never know until you try, and the more you put yourself out there, the more people you'll meet. Richmond recommends letting friends and family know you want to make new friends as well, "So they can put feelers out for you, and invite you to things they're going to."


Don't be afraid to initiate

Making a friend is a two-way street, so don't be afraid to initiate. The other person could be just as hesitant to reach out, too. Things like a simple compliment or finding a similar interest are great places to start, Namavar says. "Also, asking somebody for a little bit of help," she adds, "opens the door to soften the interaction."


Consider your dating connections

If you're single and dating new people but it's not working out romantically, you can always try initiating a friendship. Richmond notes she knows lots of people who've become friends with someone they went on a date or two with but didn't vibe with romantically. "Go into dating with an open mind—it could be something different," she says.


Get vulnerable

"We're programmed to be afraid of rejection, but no connections that are worthwhile happen without vulnerability," Richmond says. For this reason, having a strong enough sense of self so you can be OK with a friendship not working out is important. Don't be afraid to be yourself—otherwise, how will you make friends who see and accept the real you?

"Not everyone's going to like you, but as we get older, you can accept that not everyone needs to like you," she adds. And when you live your truth, "then you can find the people who do," she says.


Be patient

And lastly, know it takes time to build strong relationships. Be ready to give things time to naturally unfold and for the friendship to blossom. It's not a marathon—and when it comes to friendship, it's always quality over quantity.

"The key is to have at least one or two people in your life you can rely on and feel connected to," Beurkens notes. You don't have to overwhelm yourself by booking your calendar to the brim. Start by simply finding one new person to reach out to, and take it from there.


How do you make friends in your 30s or 40s?

To make friends in your 30s and 40s, do things you enjoy that simultaneously allow you to meet people with similar interests, such as a cooking or yoga class, hiking group, or group workshop of some sort. Don't be afraid to initiate conversations, say yes to plans, and lean on mutual friends and connections.

How do you make friend as an introvert?

To make friends as an introvert, consider meeting people through mutual friends or even friend-finding apps. You can also get involved in activities you enjoy to meet people with similar interests.

The takeaway

Friendships are one of the most enriching parts of our lives, and as we get older, making new ones can seem like a challenge. But if you're seeking new, meaningful connections in your life, it starts with a commitment both to meeting new people and a commitment to yourself.

Once you decide to make new friends, put yourself out there and get involved in an activity that really lights you up. You're bound to meet someone new. Tell that cool girl in your yoga class you like her leggings, or introduce yourself to your neighbor down the street that you've always thought seemed nice. Every interaction is a chance for a new connection when you're open and looking.

Sarah Regan author page.
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.