Making friends as an adult can be tricky. As children and teens, many of our friendships were built-in at school. As adults, a number of people find themselves trying to balance between maintaining a home, job, or family. For some, it can even be challenging to find time for themselves so it’s no surprise that making friends is often put on the backburner. 

While this is common, forming connections with other adults is important. Humans are social creatures who have an innate desire to belong. Part of fulfilling that natural sense of belonging is through friendships. Making friends with people who you identify with is a necessary part of life. 

Some people don’t care to have many friends. Sometimes having just one or two is good enough. Others prefer to form entire friend groups or sisterhoods. Either way, having a trusted friend that you can open up to and spend time with can contribute to your overall wellbeing.

As more and more Americans express feelings of loneliness and isolation, the need for creating healthy companionship becomes greater. Studies show that more than 60 percent of Americans struggle with feeling lonely with one of the reasons being a lack of friendship. Unfortunately, in a study by the Survey Center on American Life, nearly half of those surveyed admitted to having less than three friends. 

Feelings of loneliness largely affect Black women as well. As adults, many of our connections form at work. But with so many Black women sharing their experiences with workplace racism and microagressions, it’s no wonder that a lot of Black women have a hard time finding like-minded companions at work.

As a result, many Black women are open to finding friends elsewhere. Fortunately, there are many ways to do it. Whether you’re looking for the Molly to your Issa or the Gayle to your Oprah, Black women making friends is a whole vibe. Let’s take a look at seven tips for making friends:

1.

Show Up

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As an adult, it can be difficult to find the time to spend with others. After a long week at work, you might prefer to spend your weekend at home. Making friends requires energy and sometimes, we just don’t have it in us. While it’s perfectly reasonable to want some alone time, declining too many invitations to hang out might hinder your chances at building healthy friendships.

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To make friends, it’s important to show that you’re willing to commit to a friendship. Setting aside a day or time when you’re most available can help to take the load off of planning to hang out. Maybe you’re busy during the week but have some extra time on the weekends to meet for a quick coffee or brunch. Or if your weekends are booked, perhaps you can make time for friends during the week at happy hour or to enjoy a meal after work.

2.

Choose Like-Minded Friends

 

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When trying to make friends, it’s good to remain openminded about who you choose to spend your time with. You may hit it off with someone you never expected to. However it’s also good to be mindful of what you’re looking for in a friend.

One of the easiest ways to make friends, is to find someone who shares your common interests. This includes befriending someone whose beliefs, values, hobbies, and other shared interests you identify with. Although it’s important for friends to maintain their unique identities, it can be challenging to sustain a friendship with someone who you don’t connect with.

3.

Be Open to New Experiences

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The process of making friends should be fun. Part of the fun includes creating lasting memories with potential friends in the form of an activity such as a dinner or night out. Trying an activity that’s new to both of you however, can further enhance your friendship. Sharing new experiences with a potential friend is a great way to bond with them. Some fun ideas for friend-dates can include taking a cooking class, going horseback riding, or trying out an uncommon sport like disc golf or handball. Part of the fun is deciding what to do!

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It’s important to let loose and not take yourself too seriously. Since you’re both new to the activity, showing that you can have a good time is helpful for drawing people to you.

4.

Go For It

Making friends is often challenging, especially as an adult. But like many things in life, new friends don’t just fall into your lap. Building friendships requires some effort and energy. Of course, some of the best friendships are those that unexpectedly come about. However, for many adults this is not as common.

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Initiating a conversation with someone is the first step towards building a relationship. Whether you choose to initiate small talk at work, school, or while volunteering, it’s important to go after what you want.

Be mindful that starting a conversation with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be receptive to beginning a friendship. You might start a conversation that ultimately leads nowhere. Don’t feel discouraged if this happens. The person that you engage with may be busy with other things or perhaps they’re shy or introverted. The most important thing to understand is that this isn’t a reflection on you. Part of making friends is to keep trying until something (or someone) sticks.

5.

Be Consistent

A challenging part of making friends as an adult is being proactive about seeing each other consistently. Juggling between work, school, or family can put a damper on your plans to make friends. The key to building lasting relationships is to set aside time to see each other regularly. Many people find it easy to make a connection with someone, only to lose that connection because they weren’t able to commit to meeting up consistently. Although this is common, it can be avoided.

Regular contact doesn’t always look the same for every friendship. For some, this can mean weekly hangouts, while others might be more comfortable meeting up monthly. Either way, part of building bonds with someone involves consistency. It’s crucial to make time for regular contact with someone, especially in the earlier stages of the friendship.

6.

Communication is Key

 

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Communication is important in any relationship whether romantic, platonic, or familial. Sometimes, a lack of effective communication can lead to false assumptions, disagreements, and hurt feelings. This is also true for budding friendships.

Maintaining regular communication in the form of texting or talking on the phone is vital to forming bonds. Without it, the momentum of getting to know one another can easily become lost. Also, some people just aren’t interested in texting and may prefer in-person contact so it’s important to consider this before feeling discouraged. However, if you begin to feel as though you’re the only one reaching out, it might be good to take a step back to evaluate whether your efforts are truly being reciprocated.

7.

Ask Your Friends For Help

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Similar to dating, meeting your friends’ friends is a quick way to make new connections. Many times, these friends already share your common interests so the transition towards building a relationship is easier.

Ask a close friend to introduce you to their friend group. You can meet them at a party, over drinks, or at dinner. You can also build relationships with your friends’ family members. Plenty of people connect with their friends’ siblings, cousins, and family friends.

Three Black female friends hugging each other while smiling
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While forming new connections is fun, it’s important to not neglect the friend that brought you together. Including them in plans with your new friend is a great way to create a close circle of friends.

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