Everyone gets some pieces of advice from family and friends while they are growing up as a child. Unfortunately, some of the more important pieces of advice seem to get left out. We are not told how to do our finances, how to recognize if we are falling in love or how to break nasty habits.
It’s an unfortunate fact that learning how to make friends when we become adults is also not something we get taught. It’s not something we learn in school, and most people don’t sit down with their parents to learn this either. Many of those same parents don’t know how to properly make friends themselves.
It seems like making friends is something we are supposed to know how to do naturally. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to find friends with ease. Because of the lack of guidance, you may find yourself as an adult having trouble making real friends. Thankfully, it is never too late to learn some lessons on how to find friendships that will last a lifetime.
If you’re having a hard time finding friends as an adult, here are some lessons that have been learned through trial and error. It is never too late to try and make new friends, but it is best to go into the process of trying to make friends with a little guidance.
Below are some tips and advice to help you learn how to form friendships and bonds with other adults:
- Put In Some Work
You have probably never even thought about making friends until after college. It was easy to make friends while in high school. You’re surrounded by peers that are similar to you in every way. This made it much easier to find friends with a common interest. You can also sub-group these individuals into various like-minded groups by organizing various activities. All in all, it was just a better time to make friends in school compared to being at work.
Now that you are older and working, things are a little different. It’s possible to see people at work to consider making friends with, but the pool of potential candidates for the friend department job is typically smaller. Some people are similar to you in many aspects of life, but they may be a bit shallow. Sadly, you just won’t come into contact with as many people you like the same way you did in school.
If you work from your home, you probably go days without seeing other humans. This makes your pool of candidates dry up. Even if you go grocery shopping or to the gym, it’s difficult to start up conversations with strangers in hopes they will be someone you will like. Many people who work from home end up going into depression and suffering from loneliness.
Most grown-ups don’t have the built-in structures that can automatically push them into forming friendships. Instead, they try to avoid cultivating those relationships by continuing to do nothing. The biggest lesson to learn is that making friends in adulthood will require a lot of effort and commitment. It doesn’t always happen naturally or easily.
Being intentional about building up your social connections will help you connect with other people. This can be done by attending a church, joining a gym or finding a group that’s related to your interests. Being more social means intentionally inviting someone to hang out with you outside of the group or activity. This will help deepen the bonds that you’ll form in such situations. For example, if you see start chatting with someone often at church, invite them to come over to your place for dinner. If you see someone at the gym that does similar exercises as you, ask them if they would like to work out with you.
One of the best ways to get people to become lifelong friends is by forming a group. It could be a book club or a discussion group that meets once a week or monthly. With a group, you start with a set amount of time and effort to get it going and then put in less effort later on in sustaining it. Having a set day or time that works for you and your friends will help keep your relationships organized.
- Remember It Takes A Lot Of Time To Form Friendships
Getting a group get-together started will take more time than most people think. It took about 40 hours for college students and 90 hours for adults to make friends. When someone is turned into a regular friend, it took about 120 hours for students and 100 for adults. It takes about 220 hours for college students to move through the stages of friendship from some being their acquaintance to their best friend.
It takes a lot of time to build a friendship, especially if you’re young. Young people tend to get into more intimate relationships, while adults are more likely to avoid hanging out in more structured settings.
In high school, you probably had two hours of classes, two hours of extracurriculars, and eight hours of hanging out with a friend each weekend. That’s how long it would take to meet someone new once a week. For many, this can seem like something impossible to achieve. While it may not happen as quickly or easily as it did in high school, forming friendships is still possible when you devote enough time to getting them started.
For a grown-up, this means that you may spend multiple hours a week with a friend, and they may also hang out once a month. This suggests that it takes three years for a new friend to become a good one. If you start making friends with people who are similar to you in your youth, you might end up frustrated and not knowing why things aren’t coming along nicely. Instead, try to remain patient and believe that things will eventually work out for you.
- Some People Initiate Friendships and Some Don’t
When you’re young, plans just kind of materialize. You and your friends always seem to come up with new ideas. It takes real intentionality to make plans. To make them happen, one must first think about their expectations and intentions. Not everyone is inclined to grow up and learn new ways of interacting. Instead, people are often divided into two groups: hosts and guests.
A host is a person who makes plans for social events, and they typically corral people into doing something. In high school, this person was the one who organized the house party for your friends. They are often considered popular by their peers because they are known to bring everyone together. They make it easier for people to stay social and have a good time.
Although guests are often happy to hang out and attend events, they don’t like to host themselves. This can create conflict and confusion for the hosts of the world. A guest-type couple doesn’t want to be invited to dinner by the host couple. So the question remains, does the guest couple like the host couple?
If you are the type of person that likes to host get-togethers, don’t expect people to automatically accept your invitations. If they do, then they probably like you. If they don’t, then they probably don’t like you. However, it is not always this simple to understand.
If you are the host type, you might feel like you have to be the one who initiates an event or a certain behavior. This can sometimes be frustrating and make you feel like no one wants to invite you to their group get-togethers. It’s also helpful to consider if your hosting proclivities are a calling in life. Always make sure you are fully invested in planning a get-together before you spend time and money on it.
If you’re the host, ask your guests to express their appreciation for the good times they have had with them. If you are unable to accept an invitation, politely decline. If you’re the guest type, express your appreciation for the ways that your host-friends make good times. This will encourage them to continue planning these events that you enjoy attending and making friends at.
While most guests are not eager to host a formal dinner party, they typically welcome the opportunity to get out and socialize with their friends. When planning an event or gathering, make sure that the invitees are also the ones who propose the hangout. If you are hosting a party, never put pressure on people to attend. This can lead to resentment and declined party invitations going forward.
As you can see, there is a lot of advice to consider before trying to make friends as an adult. Even though it can be a lot of work, it will be worth it in the long run when you have plenty of blossoming friendships to enjoy.
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