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How to Make Friends-Simple Steps to Adult Friendship

Updated on February 2, 2012

There are many reasons why some people struggle with meeting other people. Personalities vary, and some people are more social, (extroverts), then other people, (the introverts). They may have had painful childhood experiences in which an abusive situation occurred, damaging their self esteem; or a betrayal of a ‘friend’ that left its mark in a negative way.

As we grow older we get set in our ways and expect others to accommodate our unique preferences. Our tolerance for other’s uniqueness wanes. But, it is human nature to draw into a clan, not stand alone. It is part of our innate survival. Even with our movement toward independence we need the recognition of other people to know that we count in this world.

Some of the ways we lose friends are: we go away to college and meet new people; we get a job somewhere else and relocate; we have an argument that never gets patched up; we grow apart from a lack of common interest; we lose a friend through death.

Whatever the reasons that are particular to our situation, it is important to renew old friendships and harvest new ones. If we are a parent, we will also want to role model this for our children, while helping them foster their own friends.

Where to meet friends

Informal gatherings can be social venues to foster new friendships.
Informal gatherings can be social venues to foster new friendships. | Source

Where to Meet Friends?

Here are some places to meet potential friends: 

1.      At the gym-not every gym experience has to be for a solo workout.  If you join a class or group activity chat with the people that you may be interested in getting to know.  If they have kids your age that is a common bond for the two of you.

2.      Join a club-there are plenty of listings in local papers under the ‘community’ section.  If you are interested in speaking, join a regional Toastmasters Club; if you enjoy gardening, join a gardening club.  If you like nature, join a conservation club… 

3.      Your local church or temple may be the ideal place to meet someone who you can share a similar spiritual interest.  Most religious organizations have social activities.  Make it a point to participate in a few.

4.      Attend a class at a local community college or university.  Not only will you learn more about a subject you are interested in, you may find a friend who is like minded.

5.      Volunteer-find out if there is a local hospital or organization that you can spend time helping other people.  Or, take a training course in becoming a Girl Scout or Boy Scout leader or Big Brother / Big Sister.  When you move out of your comfort zone and help others less fortunate, you forget your own loneliness and do not appear as desperate.  

6.      Online-use this one with discretion.  I’ve known both successes and disappointments when going online to meet someone.    


The First Step

Once you meet a person who you are interested in getting to know more look for an opportunity to engage in conversation. If you are attending an activity or class that meets for several weeks it may be possible to chat before or after the class begins. If it appears that you are getting a positive connection, ask to meet for coffee after class one day.

If you happen to initiate a conversation with someone that you are meeting at a one time activity approach them to offer an exchange of email addresses or phone numbers. This way you will be able to touch base with them and continue exploring common interests via a phone dialogue.

Don’t push yourself onto another person and appear needy. If the person you are attempting to get to know turns down more than two invitations, take that as a ‘not interested’ sign and move on. It’s important not to let this deter you from seeking friendships elsewhere, so don’t take someone’s disinterest personally.

Initiate the meeting by approaching someone and starting a conversation. Be friendly, smile and relax. Body language is a key ingredient to what image you are presenting.

Keeping a friendship going

Don’t be too quick to judge someone on a first impression status. Yes, there is much to be said about ‘first impressions’, however, sometimes those first impressions are wrong. Imagine that you rejected someone based on a first impression that happens to turn out to be someone who has a lot to offer in a friendship. This ‘hidden gem’ will never be discovered if you walk by.

Don’t be too picky. Again, building a circle of friends takes time. If you reject someone because they have a few quirks or different opinions, then you may be alone for a long time. Of course, you must use discretion if the person has major character flaws, like being a pathological liar or thief. That is the good part about getting to know someone.

Assuming you set a ‘date’ to meet, follow through with the plan and be on time. It is important that you start the friendship on the right foot and avoid annoying bad habits such as tardiness. If you know you cannot make the meeting give the person a call. No one likes to feel they’ve been stood up.

After the initial meeting, if it appears that you both want to develop the friendship choose an activity to attend-a lecture, a movie, etc. The activity gives you a topic to discuss following the event.

Continue to foster the friendship with brief contact(s) throughout the week to ‘touch base’ but not overburden the person with keeping the friendship going.

Reciprocate phone calls or chat time by making yourself available if your new friend calls. If it is an inopportune time, i.e. sitting down to supper, take a rain check and don’t forget to return the call when you say you will.

Be a good friend by keeping confidential matters to yourself. Trust is built this way.

Be wise with friend choices. If you discover that the person you initially were attracted to turns out to have misrepresented himself, and you are uncomfortable about keeping things going, move on. It is best to stop a dysfunctional or negative relationship early on.


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    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you for your comment, DDE I appreciate it. :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      How to Make Friends-Simple Steps to Adult Friendship, interesting hub on making friends it can be awkward but once you get going in conversation one can feel comfortable with group sound advice here thanks for this hub.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks-unless we go through the 'my kid plays with your kid' phase it gets harder and harder to make adult friends it seems.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      This is a useful hub with good suggestions on where to meet new friends.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I don't know about timid, Vinaya, because we do not see each other face to face...only through the pages of Hub community and comments. Your warmth and pleasant personality comes out clearly here...but, it is always easier to communicate behind the pen (er, computer) isn't it?

      Some people are more introverted and quieter than others-it's just their personality. Some people (like my sister), find it more difficult to reach out to people and make social contacts.

      I know you as a sensitive soul who has beautiful words of interest and wisdom to share with others. I'm glad that you found this hub useful. May you utilize these tips to increase the number of friends in your personal life outside of hubpages. Many Blessings to you.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      I'm a timid and reticent guy. I want to make friends but cannot. I found this article very useful.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi B-Thanks! I enjoyed your comments. :)

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      What a Wonderful, Upbeat, and DoAble Hub...We all suffer from some form of going forward and making New Friends. You've given Excellent (simple) Ideas to try... and follow. Thank you Denise.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Klara-I know what you mean. Many men have more of a difficult time making friends as an adult, and that is too bad. We all want to have a friend or two. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 6 years ago

      Nice hub, Denise! I have better luck making friends than my husband. He tries too hard sometimes, while I only call my friends every once in a while and we see each other from time to time, yet I know that I can always count on them whenever I need them and they can count on me as well.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Eiddwen-thank you for your comments. They keep me encouraged to keep writing in this months hubchallenge.

      Hi dahoglund-thank you for reading and commenting. :)

      Yes,b.Malin-it is a bit more challenging as adults isn't it? Children just are (usually ) so bold they march up and say "want to be my friend?" LOL Thanks for the comment.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Wonderful Hub Denise. Good suggestions. We met a lot of couples during our stay in Florida...Hope through phone and e-mail to keep in touch.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      sound suggestions.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Some great ideas that I am sure many will benefit from.

      take care


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Kathryn-thanks for stopping by and commenting. Nice to meet you.

      acaetnna-you're sweet. Thanks! Just trying to keep motivated and moving through the challenge, LOL

      Audrey-thanks for your comments. I see you've been very busy.

      Danette-you make some very good points. I meant to include that in the hub-how simple it is when kids are young; not so when they've grown. Thanks for the comment

      Hey Marky-I'm sorry about your fair weather friends-fooey on them anyhow, LOL Thanks for reading I left a message in response on the forum to your comment about my score. Don't ask me HOW that happened, LOL and anyway, tomorrow it will be gone the other way I'm sure-it's so fickle.

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 6 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Denise I wrote one comment but never showed up here, but this hub is excellent with great ways and places to meet new friends. As you may know I had... many friends until I quit drinking and they all just vanished, in fact some never even came to my parents funerals. I guess they weren't true friends and they are not the friends I wish to have in that case. Voted UP and Awesone!!!!

      Thanks Denise and one more till 100 I see. Great Job!!!!


    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      I think this is an important topic for a hub and an interesting one.

      Friendships with old friends can change over the years and as we become involved in our families and raising children, we may drift apart a bit. But often those friendships can be rekindled.

      Making new friends is easy when you have young children (we meet them at parks or share class room duties, etc). But I think making friends as older adults can be challenging. You've given us some good tips here on making that a little easier.

      Voted up and useful.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      This is great, Denise. You have given good advice on how to meet new friends...and I especially like your reminder to renew old friendships. An abiding hub. And I am thankful for you - Just one more reason why hubpages is #1 for me. Rated up, awesome and beautiful.

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 6 years ago from Guildford

      A great hub with sound advice Denise. Voted up and pressing your buttons.

    • profile image

       6 years ago

      Denise , very well written hub with excellent ways to meet nice people and have them for hopefully long time friends. I had many friends until I gave up drinking, then they all disappeared and some never even cam to my parents funeral. Those are the friends I do not need. I guess I didn't have anything in common with them except drinking, Oh well their loss.

      Keep at it Denise as I will too and we will make it!!!

    • kathryn1000 profile image

      kathryn1000 6 years ago from London

      Good ideas here.