How to make friends as an adult

how to make friends as an adult

Remember when you were a kid and you could walk up to someone and ask if they wanted to play and that’s it. From that point on, you were friends for life. Have you ever tried that as an adult? How to make friends as an adult often involves more strategy. There are a few more things to consider besides whether or not your potential friend likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And sometimes, making friends as an adult is tough.

Add to this the transitions we go through as we age. We go from being singled to married, then we might have children, and perhaps divorce. Different jobs. Different houses. Different countries for some. In each one of those situations the group of friends you have around you may or may not be able to relate. And sometimes you might find yourself struggling, wishing you had another adult like you around to connect with. If you’ve been challenges with how to make friends as an adult this article contains tangible tips you can take immediately to increase your social circle.

Why having great friends is critical

Having a core group of friends around you is essential to your survival and your fulfillment levels in life. It’s been scientifically proven (from multiple studies) that having positive friendships is linked to more joy and, it extends your longevity.

It’s important to consider the types of people you bring into your life. You need people who understand you, who you have fun with, who remind you of what is great about life or help you let go of what is not. You also need friends who challenge you, who will help you grow. It’s critical to have friends that help you consider a different way of thinking about the circumstances you find yourself in.

We all need different people at different times and we need to be those friends for other people too. This might be the perfect moment for you to take stock of the friendships you have in your life? Do you have people around that you have fun with or that make you think or that challenge you?

How to make friends as an adult – The process of friend hunting

Have you considered what is most important in a social circle at this moment in your life? It may seem an odd thing to think about but it’s important to consider. Proximity equals power and who you spend your time will either have you excel, feel fulfilled and get closer to achieving your dreams or stagnate.

Making friends as an adult can be a little bit like looking for a new job. I say this not just because it can be time consuming and we may have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones but also because most of us no longer want just a job. We want to work for an organization that values us, treats us well, has a positive environment, shares similar interests and core values. You might feel the same for the friends that you surround yourself with.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. We are greatly influenced by people around us. Our friends have the ability to affect our thinking, our self esteem, our decisions. They can either be positive, supportive influences who help us to be more successful in our life. Or, they can be a negative influence that holds us back from seeking or achieving our true potential.

If you are reading this you’re likely looking to surround yourself with extraordinary people. You’re looking for people who will help you be more, do more and achieve more in your life. 

So just as if you were searching for your dream job, take a moment now to consider: What’s most important to you right now? Are you looking to have more fun in life? Are you looking for others who are business minded? Do you want friends who are more active? How much time are you willing to invest? Do you want an occasional friend? Maybe they don’t need to live in the same country or city as you.

Take the time to think through the type of friends you are looking for. Write it down the qualities and criteria. This will help give you clarity.

Strategize and prep

When you look for a job, naturally you’ll narrow down the industry and the type of company you want to work for as you begin applying and preparing for interviews. You’ll want to do the same with the people you meet. Consider where you should go to meet the types of people you want to be friends with. Then go there and connect with people. It’s okay to secretly “prospect” in your mind. It’s kind of like the interview process during the job hunt.

If you are a curious person, there is nothing better than an entire hour of time dedicated to asking as many questions as you want. If you hate this phase then you need to prepare for it. Do your research and have a game plan so you can make the best possible first impressions with people when you’re out socially.

This may be completely out of your comfort zone but the more often you try to put yourself out there the more competent you will become. The more comfortable and competent you are doing it the more confident you will be in continuing to do it. The first time is always the hardest.

If this is a major struggle for you, picture what your life will be like if you don’t bother trying. Will you feel better or worse about yourself? Amplify your current situation into the future. What does it look like? Will you be lonely if you don’t make a change? Step up, push yourself, and remind yourself of what life will look like without interesting relationships when you feel uncomfortable.

First round, second round…maybe more?

When you know the type of friend you want to find, it’s time to get into action. Let’s use an example of wanting to surround yourself with friends who are more physically fit.

You may choose to look up “meetup groups” in your area, searching specifically on the activity you enjoy most. This is an easy way to find a large group of people doing something you like. You may choose to join a sports team, or maybe you want to volunteer with a big event in your community. Maybe you have a neighbor who is fit that you can connect with? Search out the group, event or situation. It should be something that you are comfortable with and committed to attending.

What tends to be the most challenging part of making new friends is the initial connect. When you arrive at the event or find yourself in a new social situation, remind yourself of your intentions.  Make an effort to meet each person, be genuinely interested in his or her current pursuits, come prepared with general questions in case you can’t think of anything to say. Be curious and open to each person. You may meet one or two people that you really connect with. See if they are open to hanging out again whether it is another similar event or something different.

Just like an interview when you meet them the second and 3rd time they may not be as good a fit as they seemed the first time. It’s important to give the relationship some time and energy.Just like interviews the first couple times may not work out.

Recently, I moved to a new city I went to skiing meet ups, wine nights, running events, I volunteered, it took me quite a while to find genuine friends I really enjoyed being around. Persistence and patience with the process is important. Keep putting yourself out there you might be surprised where and when you meet a great friend along the way.

Proximity is power – Taking it to the next level

Now if you are like Kay and I, you don’t want any old friend you want a friend who is going to elevate your game. Both of us were eager to meet a tribe of people who were similar to us in our interests to pursue our dreams. Which meant in order to meet people who were like us we had to put ourselves in a position where we ourselves were leveling up.

We put ourselves out there, taking as many courses as we could, programs, events. You name it, both of us have been there!  So initiative and find events, online courses, webinars anything that is interesting to you. Go to events, network, connect with people. Get on to facebook pages and see whose thought process really aligns with your own. Follow up with people when you say you will, show up as your true and authentic self. When you are completely genuine in your approach, you reach out with kindness and sincerity you will meet people who are also the same.

Making new friends can take time, persistence and patience. Finding the right group of people to surround yourself with is well worth the time invested.

How to love yourself

I used to wonder if it would ever be possible for me to love myself. In my early twenties I saw this as a place I would never be able to get to. Now, I chuckle as I am reminded of that time. This idea, this struggle of not being able to love myself, I remember it vividly though it’s inconceivable to me now. I’ve done a ton of work on my relationship with myself. A decades worth. It’s ongoing, in fact. And in this post I’ll share some nuggets I’ve learned for anyone who is struggling with how to love yourself.

How to love yourself

How to love yourself 

Loving yourself is not some place to get to, you can flip that switch today. At this very moment. That might tick you off and some of you reading this might want to kick me for saying this (but I’ll tell you how below): Loving yourself is a decision.

It’s a decision you alone can make. It’s a decision you don’t just make once but constantly. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

This is really hard idea to understand, especially when you’re struggling with how to love yourself. So how do you flip the switch?

The first step to a better relationship with you…

Well, first you have to accept the struggle you’re in. Stop asking yourself “why can’t I love myself?” and stop getting caught up in the WHY of it all. Just accept that at this moment, right now, you don’t love yourself.

It’s easy for you to get caught up in trying to figure out why you don’t love yourself and how to get there. But this thinking will only lead you in circles and keep you stuck. So first stop asking why. It’s time to start asking yourself new questions. And commit this to memory: The quality of the questions you ask yourself is equal to the quality of the life you live.

If you ask yourself questions like “why can’t I love myself?” you’ll search for answers. The reason you come up with will only validate the struggle. It will stop you from changing the way you think and feel and how you treat yourself in future. So notice the why questions that you’re asking yourself that are negative and don’t work. Now, fill that space with a new question, like….

How can I learn to love myself?

How can I be kind to myself today?

What can I do – one simple action today – to change the way I feel about myself?

What qualities do I love and appreciate about myself?

These are better questions and they’ll help you to shift how you feel. And remember, you have to be willing to let the love in. Start small. Think of one quality you love about yourself and let that be your focus.

When you internally ask why questions, most of the time you’ll stay caught up in the past. That’ll never serve you to move forward. The why doesn’t matter. The what’s next does.

The only one who suffers from not loving yourself is you. And this negativity will permeate into all areas of your life and all the choices you make. You’ll choose partners that aren’t good for you or don’t treat you well. Your career will reflect the worth you give yourself and that will expand into the areas of finance and your lifestyle. It’s all connected.

Accept the way you feel and give yourself a moment to feel it

When you’re in a space of struggling and wondering how to love yourself. The best thing to do is stop everything and go be by yourself somewhere. Get quiet. Feel how you feel. Give yourself five or ten minutes to feel the negative emotions you have for yourself. If you’re mad about something you did in the past, allow yourself to feel the anger you have for yourself. If you hate you’re body, allow yourself a few moment to feel really sad, frustrated about your body.

Emotions are like the knots of tension you can get in your physical body. When you put pressure on a muscle from physically working it, the build up of lactic acid will cause an uncomfortable knot to occur. To release the knot you have to put pressure on it. You have to push into the knot for the tension to release. It’s the same with emotions. Feel them. Don’t suppress or avoid them, you have to feel them and then they dissolve. Your negative thoughts will literally weaken and dissolve.

So, right now, if you’re reading this and you’re feeling negatively towards yourself, take a moment to close your eyes. Take yourself back to a moment that triggers your feelings and allow yourself to feel them. It’s surprisingly a very calming and therapeutic experience to go through.

Fill the space with something positive, something new

After you feel and release the emotional tension, think of one thing you’re grateful for. Something simple. It could be your heart, a tree outside, the home you live in, or a person you love. Feel how grateful you are.

Then, when you’re feeling positive, think of one wonderful trait about yourself or a great thing you’ve accomplished in your life. Follow this with scheduling one nice thing you could do for yourself today. One small action that would help you to feel good about yourself.

Make this a ritual

Loving yourself involves training. If you’ve spent years having negative thoughts about yourself, it’s going to take a while for your relationship with you to change. So anytime you feel mad, sad, frustrated, angry at yourself or about yourself, stop and allow yourself to feel your negative emotions. Follow this with a thought of gratitude and recognize something great about yourself. Then, take one action that day to love yourself. Consider this your new regular – perhaps daily – ritual.

Any mindset shift requires emotional leverage

Even though you want to change, you’ll continue to be and think negatively about yourself until you get the impacts it’s causing on your life and behavior. If you really want to make a shift, if you really want to start loving yourself more, you need to really get what you’ve been missing out on by allowing yourself to think this way about yourself.

The best way to do this, is to take some time to write out a list of the all the impacts of you thinking this way. What are the impacts on you and your life? If you don’t love yourself, what are the impacts on other people? What are the impacts in your relationships? What are the global impacts? Seriously, what are the impacts on the world.

Whether you believe that there are impacts on the world at large, there are. Every person on this planet has a gift to give. Are you contributing your gifts? Are you making a difference? Are you leaving this world better than the one you came into?

Hating yourself is like a doubled-edged sword. Whatever you think internally expresses itself externally. If you don’t love yourself it’ll be all over your life and the results you can produce.

You really want to get this. Getting the impacts will help you realize that you have to put in the effort to change. When you get the impacts the choice to love yourself becomes easy and critical.

What to do when you really can’t think anything positive about yourself

Find someone to hold you bigger than you hold yourself. Find someone to love you. Find someone to treat you well. A sibling. A friend. A parent. A relative. A colleague. A coach. A therapist. Find someone who will hold you to your greatness. Find someone to love and acknowledge you and who will tell you your great.

Then, it’s your job to listen.

And it’ll probably take you a long time to let the love in. But just keep trying.

I know this from experience. In my early twenties, I am grateful to have had a mentor that took me under his wing. He said to me: “you’re a beautiful gift to the world”. Every time he said it, it felt ridiculous to me. It felt wrong. I didn’t believe it. But the more he told this too me, the more I start to let this idea come into my own head.

Overtime, things shifted and I started to care more for myself. I started to treat myself kindly. I started to see how my negative chatter didn’t work. We all need other people to see us bigger than we see ourselves. Sometimes we need it more.

So find someone to hold you big until you can hold yourself.

One thing you can do today to start loving yourself more today…

Set a timer on your mobile device or computer. When it goes off acknowledge one great thing about yourself. Pat yourself on the back daily for something good you’ve done or a trait you love about yourself. Remind yourself to do this, until it becomes natural.

And don’t forget…loving yourself is a double edged sword. Put the love in and it’ll flow out. Your life will expand from simply loving yourself a little more each day.