How Does One Make Friends As An Adult?

The other day, I was hanging out with a good friend and she told me, “I need to introduce you to my friend. You two are so alike, you are going to love each other!”

This exact scenario has happened to me several times, and each and every time it’s usually correct. I do love them, and we do end up loving each other. We play the usual hello tag for a while but after a moment or two as the friendship has made its way past the two week turn and all of a sudden it seems like we get into the familiarized state of love that is now, “I’ve fallen in love too quickly and now I’m no longer in love phase,” or the “I’ve fallen in love too quickly but I have such a crazy schedule I never seem to be able to pencil you in phase.”

One scenario more familiar than the other where months go by and our friendship that started off like fireworks fizzles into zero to little contact because of work, due dates, and pending engagements. So what’s one to do? Do we simply settle in the cliche tropes that plague us and every other relationship we have, or do we constantly bombard the newfound friend until you’ve exhausted them mercilessly? An easier approach would be to develop the friendships you have maintained, i.e., the childhood friendship or college friendship—but, when you are too far away from the people you grew up with, or in my case, changed schools so much that you never relied on maintaining friendships for too long, what is one to do?

Though I can’t say the best place to make a new friend, I can tell you the worst place to make new friends with someone, which is most likely a bar or coffee shop. You will appear like a creep, AND if you do manage to talk with someone and introduce yourself and you seem to have a wonderful moment built on mutual music interests and single moment of them asking, “how’s your day going?” the fantasy romantically ends the next time you show up and they’ve forgotten you completely. I will say that I have broken ground once or twice in the aforementioned coffee shop and bar, but this was a rare occasion. The thing with the food service industry is that baristas, servers, and bartenders are all occasionally harassed. Whether from the nonchalant flirter or the literal creep, so passing conversation is normal and just because they are being nice doesn’t mean that they are interested.

Either way, friendship is hard. It’s challenging. As an adult, you have had so many crazy experiences with friends that it almost seems like being without a robust social circle is an easier approach, and it is, but it’s also a lonelier approach. With friendships, there is so much importance placed on keeping the fire burning, that constantly reminding yourself that you need to try new things and cultivate a relationship is daunting. Not to mention, the number of facades we all wear because of social media and practical shallowness in character, that sometimes, and more often than not, it’s just easier to stay home.

I guess a means at curbing this struggle would be to not expect your friends to be everything for you all the time. There are some friends I can confide in better than others, some that I just want to have fun with; in the same sense that your partner won’t and can’t be everything for you, neither can your friends. Make time when you both can, and if it’s genuine you will do it, even if it’s just five or ten minutes—and if it’s really genuine, you will know because you won’t cancel on them three times—or vice versa.

How do you keep friendships as an adult? I’m talking not the friendships you’ve had since childhood, but the new ones. What’s the most important trait in looking for a friend? Have you ever lost a friendship, what happened? Let’s continue the conversation below, I’m really interested in seeing what my online pals have to say.