If Jane Austen were writing a version of Pride and Prejudice for the 21st century, her opening lines would have been very different. Rather than focusing on a man of good fortune being in want of a wife, the more universally acknowledged truth in 2018 is that making friends as an adult is extremely difficult.
The difficulty of making friends as an adult is a common refrain of the modern age for one good reason: it tends to be true. Making friends as a child was easy – most of us didn’t even really think about the process at all – but as an adult, it’s far more challenging.
However, while we all universally accept that it’s difficult to make friends as an adult, there’s no denying that having friends is hugely beneficial – to our well-being, our lifestyles, and even our health. So how can you overcome the barriers to making friends once and for all?
Featured Photo from Haute Living
#1 – Focus on mutual interests
The best way to connect with new people as an adult is to look for mutual interests. This can be something rather broad, such as a shared interest in fitness; or more niche, such as taking up gaming in order to make friends with players from all over the world. With a mutual interest, you always have a point of discussion; something to ease you into the friendship and give you a chance to connect.
Mutual interest friendships tend to go one of two ways: you then begin to share other aspects of your lives, or the friendship remains within the interest that brought you together. Both types of friendship are beneficial, so it’s best to be open-minded, and see where things lead.
#2 – Ensure you have the time for new friends
If you are hoping your friendships will expand beyond focusing on mutual interests, then you will likely need to ensure you have the time for a new friendship. Modern life is busy, and many friendships – both the newly-established and those from childhood – struggle when confronted with a hectic schedule. If you are going to go to the effort of making new friends, you need to be willing to compromise and make time for that friendship in order for it to flourish.
If you suspect you don’t have time for an endless array of meetups and evenings out, then it may be best to focus your search for new friends online. Online friendships can hugely enrich your life, while still enjoying a tacit understanding that “real life” has to take priority from time to time.
#3 – Let the friendship evolve naturally
If you are keen to make new friends, it’s often tempting to try and accelerate the process; skip past the introductory stage and get into the deep-and-meaningful phase of friendship. This is understandable, but it’s also unlikely to work. Friendships, like romantic relationships, have to be allowed room to breathe and proceed naturally. Finding new friends is a long-term investment, and there’s no shortcut to intimacy, so be sure you’re willing to give a new friendship the space it needs to develop on its own.
With the tips above in mind, you should be able to ensure your experience of finding new friends – even as an adult – is as effective as it can be.