Laughing in a hammock with friends in Portugal

Navigating Friendships: 6 Tips for Making Friends as an Adult

Making friends as an adult is rough. Remember the good ol’ days when we were rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL literally) on a daily basis with our besties, playing sports together 3x a week, and bar crawling on a Wednesday night just because we could? When did we go from “see you tomorrow” to “let’s try and Facetime next week to catch up!” only to realize 6 months have gone by and we still haven’t heard from them?

Sharing drinks with new friends on a group trip

Welp, our priorities and environments changed when we became adults. We’ve shifted our focus to building our careers, starting a family, and running marathons (when did this even become a thing?!) to which our friendships have sadly taken a backseat. One of our BFF's is now a mom of 3 with zero time on her hands. Our college homie moved to Spain back in 2020 and now we see them once a year if we're lucky. The ONE childhood friend who still lives in close proximity to us has postponed grabbing dinner 3 times this month. No wonder we feel like navigating friendships is impossible. 

The reality is that we’re all on different paths (and timezones) making it incredibly difficult to maintain that connection. Or, maybe our friends are just boring. In any case, being an adult doesn’t mean we’re stuck with twice a year phone calls and the casual “miss u, hope you’ve been well.” Chances are if we’re feeling some type of way about making friends as we get older, other people in the world are too. So, how do we find our people while navigating all the complexities of adulthood?

Surfing in Fuerteventura Spain with friends on a group trip

Below are 6 tips for making friends as an adult that may just connect you with your next favorite person!

Tips on Making Adult Friendships:

1) Make the First Move

It sounds daunting at first, but really what do you have to lose? We miss all the chances we don't take, so the next time you second guess messaging a stranger on IG, you see someone reading your favorite book at a cafe, or you find yourself wanting to join a beach volleyball game but you're nervous, SHOOT YOUR SHOT! 

Worst case scenario, you share a few words and the convo fizzles. Okay, bummer - on to the next. Best case scenario? That person reading your favorite book invites you to their book club where you meet a group of people traveling to Nicaragua and they ask you to tag along for the trip of a lifetime. Crazy? Maybe. But you get the idea. You seriously never know what can come from one simple "hey!"

2) Join Groups

If you already have a hobby you love and would prefer sharing your passion for it with others, put yourself in a position to meet people that also share the same passion. Best way to do that? Join groups! Love hiking but your friends aren't interested? Want to host dinner parties but no one is ever available? Recently moved to Costa Rica but don't have anyone to go surfing with? There are groups for that! FB groups like The Unboring Club, Whatsapp chats, and local clubs are really good places to start.

Joining a group of people who share the same passion as you is a surefire way to making adult friends who you can spend quality time with while also getting to do what you love. That's a 2 for 1 worth investing in! 

3) Try New Things

Maybe you don't yet have a hobby but you have a list of activities you'd love to try. Here's your push to try them! Sign up for that language course, that pottery class, or that scuba diving certification. Experimenting new classes or activities not only puts you in a position to grow on a personal level, but also provides a natural environment for meeting others in the same boat as you.

We all have to start somewhere, so as uncomfortable as it may feel to start something new, remind yourself that everyone is probably feeling the exact same way and that gives you something to bond over. Who knows, maybe you'll end up at a yoga retreat in Bali with the friends you make from joining a Saturday morning yoga class. 

4) Hop on Social Media

Social media is AMAZING when it comes to connecting people from all over the world. Try taking advantage of the fact that we can begin a conversation with virtually anyone at anytime just from the comfort of our phone. Especially if starting a conversation with a stranger in-person isn't something you're up for just yet, try it out this way and see what unfolds. 

Comment on your old classmate's post congratulating them for their new job op. Slide through the DM's of your favorite influencer and ask for tips to improve your business. Suggest getting drinks with your long lost friend that recently went through a breakup. C o n n e c t. One message could turn into 100 real quick. 

5) Say “YES”

With our exhaustingly long list of adulting responsibilities it's hard to even find the time to put effort into making friends. BUT, if someone else is taking the initiative to invite you out, say "yes!" Co-workers invited you to go bowling after work? Do it! The FB group you joined is hosting a social at the beach? Grab a towel and get out there! Add "connect" to your to-do list if you have to in order to make it a priority.

Whether you're nervous, excited, or unsure: Do it anyway. Prioritize friendship and connection in your life by saying "yes" to that invite. The laundry and grocery shopping can wait, promise.

6) Travel

Passionate about traveling but your friends are never down? Keep hearing the same excuses that they're too busy or don't have enough PTO saved up? Stop waiting around hoping for the day they have more time or money on their hands. Instead, take a trip and connect with strangers! 

Group travel is an incredible option for people wanting to meet new friends while simultaneously exploring the world. *Ahem,* that's you! On group trips you have the opportunity to connect with like minded individuals from different cultures, countries, and backgrounds who've all come together for the same purpose. Plus, everything is planned out and tailored to your interests so all you have to do is sign up and enjoy. Fancy diving in Los Cabos? Thirsty for sunset drinks in El Salvador? Dreaming of cozy campfires in Lofoten? Prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime on one of our Next (Unboring) Trips. You might just meet your forever travel pal! 

Scuba diving on a group trip in Los Cabos Mexico

Part of growing up is realizing that we're not exactly the same person we used to be 5, 10, or 15 years ago, and in-turn our priorities and friendships have changed along with us. Yes, it's challenging and frustrating at times. But, isn't it also beautiful knowing that there are still so many more incredible people to connect with that align with the person who we are now

Maybe these are old high school acquaintances that before you didn't have anything in common with but now you're both on similar paths. Or, maybe it's the person you meet in a travel group that reminds you how nice it is to be around people who think the same as you. Regardless, the best way to build these connections is by embracing new opportunities and putting yourself out there. Don't be afraid and do.not.settle. We're all on this journey together. 

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