Personal Development
8 Ways to Make (And Keep) Friends as an Adult - Shiken

8 Ways to Make (And Keep) Friends as an Adult - Shiken

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Building Meaningful Connections as an Adult: Benefits and Tips

Building relationships as an adult can be a daunting task, particularly when juggling work, family, and other obligations. But beyond the social benefits, research suggests that having close friendships can lead to improved physical and mental health--including reduced stress, anxiety, and improved self-confidence. Additionally, research indicates that adults with strong social ties are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases and tend to live longer.

Tips for Developing Adult Friendships

Making new friends as an adult can be intimidating, but there are a few steps you can take to get started. Here are some tips for building meaningful connections as an adult:

  • Take initiative and introduce yourself to someone new, even if it feels uncomfortable.
  • Make time to participate in activities and hobbies that interest you.
  • Invite someone to do something with you--like grabbing coffee or seeing a movie.
  • Reach out to old friends and acquaintances and suggest catching up.
  • Look for volunteering and get involved in the local community.
  • Sign up for a book club or join a team sports league.
  • Don't be afraid to take risks and put yourself out there.

The Challenges of Making Friends as an Adult

I've moved five times in my adult life: from Indiana to Ohio, Ohio to Illinois, Illinois to California, and finally, to Colorado. Regardless of the reason for each move, there was a common denominator: it's not easy to make friends as an adult. Data from the May 2021 American Perspectives Survey supports this. Many Americans have a limited number of close friends, with 49% reporting having three or fewer. Additionally, it's common for people to make situational friends--those they only see in certain places or environments, such as the workplace, college, or fitness club. Nearly 70% of survey respondents indicated having a friend that they only connect with in certain situations.

The global pandemic has caused further challenges in building adult friendships. COVID-19 has forced many individuals into social isolation, making it difficult to meet new people and creating additional obstacles in fostering relationships. Additionally, the trend of getting married later, working long hours, and traveling more for work can complicate friendships.

The Benefits of Friendships in Adulthood

Although it can be hard to make friends as an adult, research continues to demonstrate the physical and mental health benefits of social connections. Adult friendships can provide emotional support, reduce stress, and improve overall mental health. In addition, individuals with supportive networks have lower blood pressure and stress hormones, and tend to have a better overall physical and mental health.

In the end, building adult friendships comes down to a growth mindset. It's important to be open to introducing yourself to new people, taking risks, and trying new things. Making friends can serve as a new form of personal growth and expand your perspectives while helping you to challenge yourself. Remember, making friends doesn't happen overnight--it requires effort and sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

Making Friends as an Adult: Tips and Strategies to Try

Creating meaningful friendships and connections with new people in your life may require a shift in perspective, time, and effort, but the results could be invaluable. Researching your own community is a great first step to figure out how to tap into it and potentially cultivate strong adult friendships. Consider joining a local meetup group, taking a class, signing up for a club or activity, or looking to your current social network to see if you can connect with people. Don't underestimate the power of community � your community has many avenues and resources that can be beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing.

10 Tips to Help You Make Friends

Making and sustaining relationships require certain levels of intention and effort. Here are 10 tips to help you make friends and get along better with others:

  • Avoid gossiping or talking down about others
  • Respect other people's boundaries and differences
  • Use open body language to signal your approachability
  • Ask questions and show an interest in other people
  • Meet new people at group events or activities
  • Make yourself the best version of you
  • Reach out to someone and offer to help
  • Join a sports team or club
  • Find like-minded parents in places where you already go
  • Be proactive about initiating conversation

Find Common Interests with Others

Taking the time to engage with other people and figure out what makes them unique is a great way to build meaningful relationships. Here are 10 tips on how to find something in common with someone else and build a genuine relationship:

  • Be genuine, honest, and open with others
  • Join a gym or workout studio with like-minded people
  • Attend an art class or workshop
  • Use platforms like Airbnb, Groupon, or MeetUp
  • Volunteer with a local nonprofit
  • Join a faith or religious community
  • Attend a library or bookstore book club
  • Spend time with your kid in activities such as story time or baby yoga
  • Be willing to try something new
  • Commit to making an effort

Taking a chance, even if it's a bit scary, can help you embrace new friendships. Making friends as an adult takes work, but the end result can provide numerous rewards such as overcoming social isolation, boosting longevity, and promoting cardiovascular health.

Finding Common Interests with Others

Creating real connections with others begins with honest conversations. Show your true self and be open about what you like, don't like, and what shared interests you have. Listening actively to the other person can help you to understand their interests and values in life.

You can do a bit of research to learn more about someone's interests and passions. This can lead to discovering common interests that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Additionally, consider your own interests as this can be helpful in finding a common ground with someone else.

Getting Connected

Joining online communities or interest groups can help you to develop your talents and find people with the same passions as you. Consider getting involved in a local project as this is a great way to build relationships within your community. Moreover, stories are a great way to get to know someone, so be sure to take the time to listen to their stories and experiences.

Participating in activities with others is another great way to find common interests and build relationships. Be patient as it takes time to get to know someone and find common interests. With patience, understanding, and an open mind, you can develop meaningful connections with others.

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