6 Ways To Actually Make New Friends As An Adult

By Anna May
3rd Jul 2017

6 Ways To Actually Make New Friends As An Adult

So, you’ve moved countries. Or cities. Or suburbs. Or something. Either way, you’re looking to expand your circle, and making friends as a grown-up is really hard. Really, hard. Like, sitting on the side of the year six disco while the other kids are doing The Macarena, hard.

It’s not like the good old days, when you had uni lecturers to roll your eyes at and then bond over. You don’t have group projects to pretend to do, you don’t have uni dorm rooms, and you sure as hell don’t have after school care. When you’re an adult, people have already formed their groups, so breaking in can be hard.

Here are six ways to expand your circle, and work towards an invite to the group WhatsApp conversation, the holy grail of new-friend making.

1. Network

Eugh. The worst. But since we spent the vast majority of our time in the office, it’s a veritable breeding ground for friendships. See that guy sneaking a beer out of the office fridge at 3pm? Join him in a cheeky pre-EOD brewski, and form a bond. If this means doing a casual pre-stalk on social media, gathering information, and dropping said info into the conversation, so be it. I’m not here to judge. Also, I’ve done it and it works like a charm. Hi, current and former colleague-friends, you better believe I already knew you liked travel and obscure 90s comedies before I casually dropped them into conversations.

2. Exercise

Another eugh. Unless you like bending yourself into weird positions or pulling your T-shirt over your head and running around in circles every time you kick a bag of air into a pit. But nothing says “shall we go for a drink and discuss things” more than a win, loss, or yoga pose you nailed. Once, I fell into the machine in a pilates class and got tangled in the cords. The girl that helped me out of it ended up taking me for a wine after to soften the blow. That was a lie (the friend part, I really did get tangled in a Pilates machine). But there’s no reason you couldn’t see someone do that and offer them a wine. That, or find a social sporting team.

3. Steal Other People’s

We’re not in year nine anymore. No one is going to get jealous that you invited their friend over to talk about you on MSN while plotting your social demise and lack of acceptable Pokémon cards. If you’ve got a sprinkling of friends, or at least some warm leads, latch onto their social gatherings and form some good old-fashioned bonds. If you have a partner, go to some fun group activities and get to know your partner’s friend’s partners. If that makes sense. People (well, good people) want each other to be happy, so they’ll be more than glad to expand their friendship groups. Mnawww.

4. Learn Something New

Yes, I’m sure you’ve read this in every book out there. But it’s a thing. There’s a lot to be said about seeing people a few times and forming a bond that way. Take this opportunity for a new lease on life. Always wanted to drink wine and do life-drawing classes? Now’s your chance, friend. Because when you’re trying to draw the gentle curve of a stranger’s nether regions, you need someone to make side eyes at. Or you could try pottery. You could even learn a language. I hear Pig Latin is making a comeback among the hipster community.

5. Follow Up

It can seem really embarrassing, but remember that person you met in passing that kindly offered up her phone number or Facebook name and suggested you should totally hang out together in unison? Message them. Do it. Now. You’re never going to form a lasting bond with the girl you met in the line for the bathroom that time unless you send a nice, little sober text. I promise you, they will reply. If they don’t, then you definitely wouldn’t want their bathroom line presence in your life anyway. No matter how funny they were, or how generous they were with their make up.


This is the golden rule. If you ignore every other suggestion on this list, please, for the love of God, pay heed to this one. Say. Yes. To. Everything. Even if you’re tired. Even if you’re hung over. Even if you’ve lost your voice because you said yes to everything the night before. People will stop inviting you if you turn them down. And bonds are formed over time. So go to the pub quiz, go to the obscure gallery opening; go to the bloody alien themed rave. Just go. Side note: there is a time limit to this rule, or you might just die. Six months ought to do it. Then you can be a little pickier. And by that I mean you can finally admit you hate art galleries. Phew.

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Image credit: Friends

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