How To Create New, Lasting Friendships As An Adult

Like dating, creating new friendships in adulthood is easier in some aspects but more challenging in others. In principle, you should have reached full maturity by then, which makes it easier for you to know instantly who's fit to be in your innate circle. On the other hand, most of the friends you make as an adult are probably married with kids and too busy to throw parties regularly. Your other work and family responsibilities also make spending time with new homies a challenge, not to mention your possible lower energy level may make you less excited about going out.

The fewer hours you spend bonding with someone, the longer it takes for your friendship to flourish. A study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships shows that it takes around 50 hours of interaction to develop a casual friendship, 90 hours to develop a basic friendship, and more than 200 hours to label someone a close friend. According to therapist and friendship researcher Miriam Kirmayer (via Global News), some adults even experience shame when it comes to making new friends, which gradually leads to social anxiety and a lack of willingness to invest in new relationships.

An adult friendship takes time, but it will happen. Here's how you can create new, lasting friendships as an adult.

Go to the right places

If you'd like to make new friends, go to the places where you're most likely to find them. People tend to be drawn to people with shared interests and values. Therefore, participating in events that require shared activity, where coordination is needed to complete a mission or achieve a goal, helps you make friends easier, Harvard Business Review advises. GoodRx Health recommends hitting book clubs or local libraries if you enjoy reading or sports clubs if you're a fitness enthusiast.

Many community centers offer educational classes and occasional workshops for adults, with content ranging from arts to cooking to photography. Local churches with ministries catering to people of various age groups are also great places to make new connections while engaging in collective activities. You can join a church choir if you enjoy music or participate in a cell group where participants often come together for Bible study and fellowship. The same goes for those from other religions or with an interest in politics. Community-based associations exist in every country. Most of these places boast playgroups where both kids and their parents can mingle and get to know one another.

Take your casual relationships to the next level

We all have those people in our lives whom we can't label as "friends" but are those who brighten our days and lighten up our moods. They can be a caring neighbor who greets us every morning, a masseur who sometimes gives us free pedicures or a supportive colleague who always stands in for us. If you enjoy socializing with these people, why not befriend them? One way to do that is to invite the person you deem your potential bestie out for a one-on-one chat to foster intimacy, aSweatLife advises. This way, you'll get to see a different side of the person, learn more about them, and determine if you can become friends.

According to Succeed Socially, you should make an attempt to hang out with the person outside of the places or hours you regularly meet them. This gesture makes the person feel that you're serious about developing a genuine friendship with them, and you don't see their company as merely convenient. For instance, invite your favorite masseur out for a coffee instead of conversing in a massage parlor just because you happen to drop by around that hour. Or, you can invite the person to an experience that you think they might enjoy so that you can see a more personal side of them. Although you should call them back to maintain the connection, keep it slow and steady. If you go too fast, you might come across as needy.

Show up to group activities

If you want to befriend someone who happens to be a part of a close-knit group of friends, there's a high chance you'll have to make friends with that whole bunch of friends — like what usually happens on "Friends." This is not going to be easy and might take a longer time. According to Liveabout, you shouldn't expect to become all chummy with the group from the get-go. Usually, people in a pre-existing group of friends with a well-established dynamic don't take kindly to new arrivals. The group will take time to size you up, and you need to give them time to warm up to you.

As Winnie The Pooh famously said, "You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." The easiest way to get all the group members to know you is to show up to group activities consistently rather than waiting for them to remember you, Succeed Socially advises. If you meet the group regularly at fun events, you'll have more opportunities to know every member of the group, learn about its personality, and get people to be comfortable having you around. Once group members are all familiar with you and enjoy having you around, you'll easily become a part of them.

Volunteering opens doors to meaningful friendships

According to Harrogate Life Care, a great way to make friends while improving your life quality is to volunteer in your community or at your favorite charity group. People you meet while volunteering usually share your core beliefs, and you want a friend to have the compassion and fellow-feeling spirit that you do. Hospitals, hospices, churches, animal shelters, and orphanages are all always looking for volunteers. Volunteering is not so much about the activity as it's about contributing to a good cause, The Vector Impact points out. You could just enroll in a charity organization for fun, but with so many possibilities accessible to you, you're sure to find something exciting and a community worth belonging to.

Or, you can visit a senior citizen facility or join an open game night where you'll get to meet and mingle with older adults. The elderly tend to struggle with social isolation and are those that are most open to new friendship opportunities. Joining them in fulfilling activities will help open the conversation and allow you to cultivate a new relationship.

Use friendship apps to find friends online

You don't have to meet someone in real life before you can become friends. Apps and social media are also great places where you can connect with people who are interested in the same thing that you are. AARP recommends logging onto Meetup, a social networking site for hosting in-person and online events and activities for individuals and communities with common interests, hobbies, and professions. Some other apps that help you find the Joey to your Chandler are Meet My Dog, where dog owners in the area schedule pet playdates, WINK, a Tinder version for friends, and VINA, specially designed with dominantly female friendships in mind, among others, per Science of People. An online platform allows you to meet new people with shared interests from the comfort of your own home, where you can discuss everything from gardening tips to cooking recipes.

Making friends after entering adulthood is not easy. After many years in the school of hard knocks, adults have more self-awareness than youngsters and take a longer time to trust. Plus, most adults are snowed under by work and family obligations and lack the time to invest in friendships. However, no man is an island and we all need a friend. If you want to forge a meaningful, lasting friendship, you need to give it time. Be patient, enjoy yourself, and try out the methods we've mentioned. When the time is right, the stars will align.