There’s a very famous book by Dale Carnegie called ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People”. You’ll notice straight away that the title is carefully chosen to be as direct and as gratifyingly precocious as possible – it’s a title that stands out and attracts the right readers, because when you’re ready to take a few pointers on how to make friends as an adult, you already probably feel a little let down in yourself that you don’t know the answers to begin with, so you’re more or less ready for the no-nonsense approach (see this site for insightful answers).
During our school years, friends come by the dozen. You may have had different friends for geography class, drama class, and science, while you may have had a completely separate group of friends for the walk to and from school (and maybe even more friendship groups made up of the kids your age – and their siblings – who happen to live in or around your street). As an adult, things aren’t so easy. No longer are social circumstances forced on you – you have to make your own luck. So if you’ve been feeling a little like there’s loads going on in the world and you’re not playing much of a part in it lately, here’s how you can make new friends.
Start with who you know
You need a template message. A sort of “hi stranger, trying to plan a few meet ups and obviously thought of you, determined to get out of my house this weekend – coffee?” Send this to anyone you know, even if you’re not their biggest fan, and go meet anyone who replies. You’ll see why below in step two.
Expand your social empire
Not everyone you know is high on your list of people you actually wish to spend time with. BUT, they are a route to introductions. Conversation starters like “So, who’ve you seen lately?” will get people talking about their friends, at which point you can suggest bringing those people along next time – better yet, once you have a list of a few people, host a BBQ or organise birthday drinks for whoever’s birthday is next (likewise, you’ll need to accept invitations when they come your way).
What if you don’t know anyone?
This can happen. Sometimes we move city or even country, or sometimes we drift away from friends whether it’s because of new relationships, new jobs, time issues, kids keeping us busy – whatever, there are lots of reasons that people find themselves isolated. What to do? Pottery classes aren’t for everyone, after all. In fact, some people really don’t have much of a passion for a hobby at all, which can prove a major roadblock to simply joining a karate class and becoming the new king or queen of a large ready-made social group, but exploring what is on offer in terms of classes in your area is one way to find new friends. It doesn’t have to be an organized class, but it could simply be a shared activity, like finding folks who walk the dog together!
Another way to get out and meet people is to volunteer – hear me out. Charities of all shapes and sizes host events the year round. By volunteering, you’ll not only meet other people who are generous with their time, but you’ll also meet the people you’re there to help.
Another way is to utilize the parents on the school run, invite them to parties that are designed for the whole family, ask if they need help for the school bake sale and chat about the kids – bonding with other mums and dads is a really good way to make friends for both you and the kids!