Sep. 16, 2019Think back to when you were a kid, remember how easy it was to make friends? Oh, there’s a kid who lives next door that’s in a three year age range from you? Great, you’re friends. Kid down the block who loves horses but you love trucks? Doesn’t matter, instant friends.
When we’re children, the sheer experience of being children is often enough to help us form inseparable bonds – some that even last through adulthood. While children certainly have complex inner worlds, finding friends as a young person is pretty cut and dry. If you have anything in common, usually it’s enough to warrant a friendship, or at least a fruitful afternoon spent building a fort. Safe to say, it’s not quite as simple as an adult. You’re likely no longer in school, so banding together with fellow students and student club members is off the table, life is busy, plus there’s the whole small talk subject to think and worry about (most kids aren’t concerned with small talk).
Sure, your cubicle mate may enjoy the same coffee order as you, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend your precious free time with them. Connecting with and nurturing friendships as an adult can feel like an impossible task, not only are you more aware of social situations, but our adult lives are busy – we have jobs, side hustles, kids, and families to care for and spend time with – it can be hard to even find the time to seek out, and then nurture, those friendships, be them old or new.
But if you struggle to see the value in making friends – and keeping friends – maybe science will convince you: A 2010 report from the Journal of Health & Social Behavior found that strong social and community ties can support a healthy immune system, may reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and may reduce the effects of stress. Not only that, nurturing strong friendships could even help you live longer. But we don’t really need a study to tell us these things, how many times have you walked away from spending time with a friend and just felt better? Less stressed? Laughing and commiserating with someone who understands us makes us feel less alone, gives us connection, and anchors us to the world around us is, quite simply, good for the soul. But despite how important these connections are, as a society we’re becoming more and more isolated. Be it a symptom of social media and the distance created by screens, our too-busy schedules, more employees working remotely or from home – we’re spending more time alone than ever, and while a little alone time can be good – especially for the introverts out there – like anything, too much of a good thing can have detrimental effects.
A surprising fact: Having a weak circle of friends and not having enough friends could have the same detrimental effects as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. If that’s not enough to shock you into reaching out to your old pals…
For many adults, especially those who do work from home or have especially busy schedules, the problem with making friends is simply not knowing where to start. But the good news is, meeting like-minded pals isn’t as hard as we think – it just takes some courage and commitment. If you’re wondering how to meet friends as an adult, below are three ways to find them.
Maybe you love to hike, or photography is your thing, whatever it is that you call your passion, there’s likely a local meetup for it and friends to be found there. Check out meetup.com for local groups that align with your hobbies or search for specific groups in your state or region – like hiking, sailing, rock climbing and more. The best thing about meeting potential friends through a meetup is that you automatically have something to talk about, a shared interest or passion. You can even tailor your search to find like-minded individuals that went to the same college, like the same movies and more – it’s free to join and you can even make your own groups!
Use Instagram to your advantage
New to the area? Looking to connect with someone who shares the same interest? Check out social media! Following people in your local area could help you connect with someone new or help you find out about events happening in your town or city. Check out hashtags, location tags and influencers in your area – and if you feel like you connect with someone, reach out! They may not always be down for a coffee date, but there’s no harm in asking and you might just meet a new bff (or at least a coffee buddy).
Take a class
Check off two boxes by learning something new while you meet new people. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint, or brush up on your graphic design, a local class could help you hone your skills while you connect with those around you. Bonus: you’ll be exercising your mind at the same time, so even if you don’t find a pal in your class, you’ll walk away with a greater knowledge of the subject in question
How about you? Any tips for making and keeping friends into adulthood? Share with us on social by tagging @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenMagazine!