When we're young, anyone who treats us with kindness and shares his/her toys is an automatic friend. Maybe we met because our parents were friends, we went to the same church, or we were in the same class at school. No matter what brought us together, we rarely looked for compatibility because we simply enjoyed having a companion.
As we grow, something changes. We become adults, and our search for friends becomes similar to a long line of failed blind dates. Some people never grow out of the drama and others are already paired off and aren't as serious about the friendship as we had hoped. Friendships can also seem less loyal the older we get. One disagreement and we go our separate ways. Opinions are stronger and wounds penetrate deeper so arguments aren't worked out as quickly as when we were young, and a hug or friendship bracelet trade off would suffice.
So what's the recipe for making grown-up friends?
Let's start by naming and understanding two types of adult friends:
- Locational: Friends because you live nearby and enjoy hanging around at the same places doing the same things.
- Confidant: Friends because you can trust one another and share the deepest parts of who you are–the good, bad, and the ugly.
Where do we meet these friends?
1. In the office
At work, you are surrounded by potential friends. Start up a conversation or invite a group to meet up after work. Maybe “sparks” will fly and seeing each other daily will help turn the sparks into a steady flame. You won't connect with all of your coworkers, but the fact you work together gives you automatic conversation topics!
2. The gym
Working out takes personal focus, but other regular gym members may need outside motivation. Challenge and encourage one another during workouts and see if a powerhouse friendship can develop.
There are lots of social media groups and forums centered around common interests. What's nice about online friendships is they typically go deeper because you don't have activities distracting you, and small talk isn't worth the time spent online. Therefore, vulnerable conversations happen organically, and online friendships have depth.
4. Become a regular
Coffee shops, restaurants, or other local spots are great places to become a regular. Familiar places will start to bring familiar faces and friendships will grow.
If you need to be convinced of the importance of friendship, Happify created the graphic below about the relation of friendship and our happiness.
Tell us in the comments about your experience making grown-up friends.
Amanda is a wife, mother, writer, and certified life coach. Pen and paper make her spirit come alive. She spends her creative time reading, decorating, and handwriting fonts. Her world is better with an assortment of chocolate and a stack of books packed and ready for travel. She is a writer for Downs Ups & Teacups. When she’s not writing, she’s planning outdoor adventures with her husband and two children. She believes life feels best when it’s truly lived!