Adulting 101: How to Make New Friends When You’re All Grown Up

Growing up in a small town, I had it easy when it came to making friends – they were my classmates, teammates, neighbors, and cousins. I never had to think too hard or put too much effort into cultivating my friendships. Fast forward 20 years, and making new friends is a lot harder these days. Sometimes I really love adulting – making my own decisions, doing my own thing – that’s all good and great. However, I’ve realized that a lot of people grow up and secure this identity of who they are and a routine of “This is what I do everyday,” and that kind of mentality doesn’t lend itself to meeting new people.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve lived all over. I went to college in Indiana, interned in DC, studied abroad in Milan, attended grad school in Denver, and have spent the past 2.5 years in NYC (I can’t sit still, really). One of my favorite parts of living in a new city is making new friends. I’ve had quite a bit of practice doing this, so I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on how to make new friends as an adult.

Shake Up Your Routine

If curiosity killed the cat, routine killed the new friends fairy. If you do the same thing day in and day out, you’re not going to meet anyone new. Look at your schedule, decide on a day or evening to be out and exploring, and stick to it.

Try Something New

Sign up for something you’ve been wanting to do – trying a new group fitness class, becoming a member of a meetup or book club – whatever you find interesting. You’re more likely to find new friends from places where you share a common interest.

For example, a few months ago I went to a fellow skimm’bassadors apartment and had drinks with about 10 other ladies. It was a Friday, and we had appetizers, played Cards Against Humanity, and bonded over our love of theSkimm. It was so much fun, and I’ve kept in touch with a few of the girls that I met that night.

Put Actual Effort Into It

Unlike when we were younger and spent 8 hours a day at school with our friends, nowadays we spend that time at work. You’re going to have to proactively make plans with new friends, and stick to those plans. New friendships don’t just happen as an adult, you have to be committed to getting to know each other and spending quality time together (this is the hardest part for me, as time is my most valued resource).

While making new friends came pretty easily to me as an adolescent, as an adult I’ve really had to work at building meaningful relationships with girlfriends. Luckily, I’ve always known that quality always transcends quantity. I’ve finally become content with my little tribe of girlfriends that I have in my adult life and feel like they’re authentic, dependable friends that want what’s best for me, and I’ll have them for years to come.

How did you find new friends as an adult? Have any other tips for making new friends that I missed? Tell us in the comments below.