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Ask Dr. Zoe – How Do You Make Friends as an Adult?

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‘Taylor’ Asked:

How do you make friends as an adult?

Dr. Zoe Answered:

No one tells us that it’s so much harder to make friends as an adult than when you were a kid. Rest assured, you and a trillion other adults have the same problem.

In adulthood, friendships tend to be pocketed, consisting of different circles of interest. And then there are those that stand the test of time, which can be few and far between.

Making new friends really isn’t much different than dating. I know dating can be nerve-wracking, so let’s go with a shopping metaphor instead. If you want to find a new BFF, you have to first put yourself out there and then be willing to try on a lot of Calvin Kleins, girlfriend! Not all of them will fit and that is just fine. But when you find the perfect fit, it’s worth all the shopping…and vulnerability!

So, there’s making friends and then there’s finding friends. I’ll just address both!

It really is true that to have a friend, you have to be a friend. Oh, and it does require talking and probably leaving your house, just in case you’re the super quiet recluse type.

When you find someone that you think you may click with, take the leap and introduce yourself. Be friendly and curious. Asking questions leads to “me too” moments (not that kind of me too). And me too moments create a connection. There’s nothing cooler than finding out that someone else is the same kind of crazy that you are.

Be careful not to jump the gun and go deep too fast. Start by sharing little things about yourself. When it is reciprocated, you can go a little deeper. Sharing too much demonstrates a lack of boundaries and this can scare someone off. Not sharing at all indicates defensiveness or perfection—both of which just aren’t that attractive.

Most people like to talk about themselves, so asking questions also gets you off the hook of coming up with things to say. Her answers will likely spark conversation. If she has any social skills, she’ll be asking you a few as well.

The rejection struggle is real, so I know it may sound scary, but if you’re feeling a spark of connection, ask her out! Start off with coffee or something simple. The worst thing she could say is no and you’ll be surprised how unlikely that is. Most people are open to new friendships.

If nothing comes from the questions, you probably don’t have much in common and it’s okay to not invest your time and energy in that relationship. Move on. There are a ton of fish in the sea.

So, where exactly do you find these fish when you’re an adult?

1. Use what you’ve got! Do you have a child or a pet? Make time on your calendar to visit the two-legged or four-legged park regularly. Set up play dates with other moms or pet moms.

2. Volunteering. I know we’re all crunched for time, but if you have a little, find your favorite cause and volunteer. The perk is you already have something in common with everyone there.

3. Take advantage of the internet. You don’t even have to leave your house to get started, but you will need to leave when it’s time to meet IRL. Here are some places to check out, specifically for adults looking for platonic friends.

Bumble BFFYes, you may know Bumble as a dating app, but once you download it, you can join the BFF section and start swiping for friends. How cool is that?

Frienderby choosing from over 100 activities and interests, Friender will help you meet people nearby with the goal of creating real friendships.

Patook—Patook connects people through a points system. They even have a flirt blocker that stops people from hitting on you. The app matches you with those who accumulated the most points based on the traits you ranked. In order to connect to a person, the user can either send an anonymous message or both users have to mutually rank each other.

MeetupThis one has been around for a while and I’ve used it personally. It’s great for finding groups of people who like the same things you do. You just enter your interests and decide what dates you’re available and sit back and watch as the app uses your location to pull up relevant events based on the categories you’re searching for. Meeting in groups can be a little less intimidating than meeting individuals, so if one on one friend dating scares you, try Meetup.

Hey! VinaThis app is advertised as “For women, By Women.” Vina offers a platform for women to meet like-minded women who share their interests. Hey! Vina also provides quizzes for users and articles (on The Vinazine) to encourage women in creating your best life and relationships.

It was nice when we were young and friendship just organically happened, but it can still be just as sweet, even sweeter with a little effort. You’ve got this! It just takes a little grit and grace.


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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Great Friends: 9 Qualities to Be One and Find One – 031

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Dr. Zoe is a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert who recently jumped out of a perfectly good plane just for the experience.

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