When we are little, it is easy to make friends.
We are surrounded most days by other kids our same age in school.
And in the summertime, we head off to camps where we meet new people too.
But then we leave school and enter adulthood.
Suddenly it becomes difficult to make new friends and expand our social circle.
We are working with people of all different ages.
We might be in a new city and not know anyone.
And since we never developed a plan for making friends, we feel lost and alone.
But fear no more.
I am going to show you how to make new friends.
I’ll walk you through the various types of friends we have in life so you can focus your efforts on making life long friends and friendships.
I’ll show you the many benefits of friendships and how to spot and avoid toxic people.
And I will outline the best ways to meet people.
By the end, you will have a blueprint for how to start making friend and building friendships.
How To Make New Friends
Understand The Different Types Of Friendships
Before I get into how to make new friends, we need to understand there are different types of friends out there.
Not all of our friends are the same.
This is critical when it comes to making new friends.
You might meet someone who is a casual friend and end up being lazy in growing or maintaining the friendship because they are not a close friend.
This is a mistake.
We all need various types of friends.
Here are the 3 main types of friends you will have in life, according to Aristotle.
Each friendship quality is different and it is important to have friends in each category.
Don’t aim for a certain number of people in each, just try to have quality connections that fit into each area.
#1. Friendships Of Utility
These are casual friendships and you are friends with the other person because of the benefits you provide to one another.
For example, a co-worker is a utility friendship because you each benefit from helping one another at work.
A hi-bye friend could fall into this category because they meet a short term need of yours.
#2. Friendship Of Pleasure
These are better friendships compared to casual friendships and are formed by mutual interest in things.
For example, you might have the same hobbies or like the same sports teams.
You could also have hi-bye friends here too.
#3. Friendship Of The Good
This the most important type of friendship because it is based on mutual respect, appreciation and empathy.
These are your true friends because of the close relationship you have.
For example, your best friend for life would be considered a true friend.
Most people have a small inner circle of these types of friends, so don’t think you need to have a large number.
It is important to remember that we need all types of friendships.
But you want to develop and build close relationships as much as possible.
This is because close friends are there for you in both the good times and the bad throughout your life.
The other types of friends come into and go out of your life all the time.
Try to keep these friendships in mind as you learn about how to make new friends.
Why It’s Hard To Make New Friends As Adults
It is a fact of life that it is hard to make adult friends, regardless if you are introverted or extroverted.
Why is this?
When we are younger, we are surrounded with others all the time.
It is easy to interact with your classmates or others on your sports teams.
Even in college, you are surround by others in the same life stage as you, so there are many opportunities to make new friends.
But after college, things change.
We aren’t surrounded by so many people anymore.
And we have a lot on our plate.
Some people are focused on climbing the career ladder. Others are juggling that along with a relationship.
And others are doing that, plus raising a family, and trying to keep a house in order.
In other words, not only do we have fewer people to make new friends with, but we are also a lot busier with life.
So in order to make new friends as an adult or even as an introvert, you need to be intentional.
You need to make it a point to want to meet new people and take the steps to make it happen.
Learn How To Spot Toxic Relationships
Before we get in to the many ways to meet people, we need to talk about toxic people.
These are the people that bring you down and hold you back in life.
The problem is this type of person is tough to spot.
We typically have an idea of what a bad person looks like.
But some toxic people do not fit this stereotype.
We end up making friends with some nice people, only to later find out they aren’t driven or make excuses all of the time.
It is critical that you end toxic friendships as soon as possible.
The longer you keep these people in your life, the more damage they will do to you and your life.
It’s not always easy to cut ties, but it has to be done.
Importance Of Friendship | Benefits Of Having Friends
There are numerous health benefits of friendship that most of us don’t realize.
Sure we feel good when we spend time with friends, but we never connect the dots and fully understand the importance.
Here is a short list of the many positive effects of friendship.
Some of the happiest people tend to have the most real friendships and close connections with others according to studies.
This study from Harvard has shown that people who have real friends have lower blood pressure, better body mass index, stronger immune system, and lower risk of diabetes.
Their overall well being is much better when compared to people with few friends or those living in social isolation.
Another study showed that people with life long friends have a significantly lower risk of dementia and overall improved mental health.
The effect of having friends was more beneficial than exercising when it comes to how long you will live.
The bottom line is having meaningful relationships in life avert early death.
Handle Tough Times
We all go through hard times in life.
What makes these times harder is when we don’t have anyone to talk to.
Just having someone to vent to helps us cope with the stress we are feeling.
And by talking to someone, it helps us potentially see things in a different light and come to a different conclusion.
13 Tips For Meeting New People
#1. Get Over Your Fear
The first step in meeting new people is to get over your fear of rejection and out of your comfort zone.
Being nervous to find new friends is normal.
It feels awkward to try to make friends.
Work on taking the pressure off and not trying to make everyone you meet a new life long friend.
Just go out and have a fun time and let what happens happen.
Maybe nothing will come out of it.
Maybe you will have a new social friend.
The only way to find out is to get over your fear and get out there.
It’s a lot like dating.
When you try to find the perfect match, you never do.
But you usually do when you are not trying and are just having fun instead.
#2. Expand Your Circle Of Friends
We all have our circle of friends.
But our friends have friends that we aren’t close with or maybe even never met.
Since there are common interests between like-minded people, chances are you will be able to meet new people through mutual friends.
So set up a time to get everyone together and meet some new people.
#3. Join Groups For Activities That Interest You
An easy way to make new friends is to join groups.
By having similar interests, you naturally have common interests.
There are a number of options when it comes to this.
First is MeetUp.com.
Just type in your zip code and an area of interest and MeetUp will list all the groups in your area that meet your needs.
They have all types of groups too and is the best place to start.
A second option is FriendMatch.
This site will allow you to find potential new friends.
They also hold matchmaking events where you can quickly meet others in person.
This post has some more great friendship apps to consider.
Another option is joining a book club.
Not only will you discuss a book, but you might be able to go out to eat together as well and have your book discussion there.
Additionally, you can see if the local YMCA or school district offers any classes or groups to join.
Where I live, there is a community program that offers various courses one night a week for a few months out of the year.
I enjoy playing basketball and there is a pickup game once a week. It is a great way to meet new people and make friends.
Another option is to volunteer for causes that matter to you.
This works because you know others volunteering are also passionate about the cause, so you have an ice breaker there.
And even if you aren’t passionate about a cause but still interested, you should still volunteer.
You will get a lot out of it and who knows, you might meet someone.
So take some time to think about what matters to you and see if there are any volunteer opportunities out there for you.
#5. Take Advantage Of Co-Workers
Just like classmates in school became natural friends, so too can co-workers.
The key is figuring out the people you get along with most and what you have in common.
From there, you can start out simply by going to lunch from time to time.
Eventually it can evolve into friendship outside of work too or just remain a close work friend.
#6. Join Forums
Having social friends will never replace in person friends, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have any social friends.
The best way to find social friends is online forums.
Do a search for the interest you have along with forums.
For example, if you like personal finance, search “personal finance forums”.
There you can comment on posts and get to know others virtually.
And who knows, the community might have a meet up at some point and you will get to meet in person.
Having the social connection will make the in person meeting a lot easier.
You could even do this with social media interests as well.
#7. Join Facebook Groups
Another option for online friends is Facebook Groups.
If you play it smart though, you can easily turn these friends into in person friends.
Just find local groups, and go from there.
If everyone is from the same area, it will be easy to meet up in person, whether as a group or individually.
#8. Search Facebook
Just about everyone is on Facebook.
This includes childhood friends you’ve lost contact with.
By reaching out to these people who you had a close friendship with, it is easier than starting new.
Just understand that you and the other person have grown up, so even though they were a real friend as a child, you might not have common interests today.
#9. Go Early To Social Events
I use this trick all the time and it works great.
When I first started playing pickup basketball, I was scared.
I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t sure what to expect.
So I went early.
There was only one guy there shooting baskets. Since we were the only ones there, we started to talk.
Then as more people came in, they joined our conversation and it was easier to meet a lot of the guys.
Had I come later, there would have been a bunch of people there already and I would have be nervous to join the conversation.
So the next time you have to go to a social event, go early.
Then start a conversation with the other person that also came early. It works like a charm.
#10. Have A Wing Man
At my last job, we had to go to a lot of networking events.
It was the least favorite part of my job since I am an introvert.
At first, I was flustered with the large group of people.
But then I learned a trick.
I took a co-worker with me who was an extrovert and I used him as my wing man.
He joined groups of people talking and then introduced me to the group as well.
It was a simple way to get in with a group of people without feeling stressed about it.
#11. Go Out By Yourself
This is scary, especially for introverts.
But going out is critical to making new friends.
After all, you won’t meet a lot of people if you stay inside all of the time.
To make it less stressful, pick places that aren’t overly crowded.
Smaller groups tend to be easier to be proactive and strike up a conversation.
Also, pick places that offer your favorite activities.
It will be a lot easy to come up with conversation starters when you are both interested in the same thing.
#12. Take Continuing Education Courses
Another overlooked way to meet people is going back to school.
You don’t necessarily have to go to college either.
Maybe you want to learn how to paint or learn Microsoft Excel.
There are many places that offer these classes for a small fee.
You meet one night a week to learn a new skill or hobby.
And while you are learning, you can meet other like minded individuals as well.
#13. Stay In Touch
This isn’t really a way to build close relationships, but in keeping the relationship strong.
Make sure you stay in touch.
This can be as simple as a text message or phone calls from time to time.
The more you keep your connection alive, the stronger the friendship will be.
Frequently Asked Questions
I get a lot of questions about ways to meet people and making friends.
Below are the most common questions I get.
How to make new friends at school?
Making friends at school is a lot easier than making friends as an adult.
You can talk to people sitting next to you in class.
You can sit with a group of people at lunch.
These are all potential friends waiting to happen.
The list goes on and on.
Just make it a point to sit down next to someone and start a conversation.
Most people are friendly enough to have a conversation with.
How to make friends when you have none?
There are many ways to make friends when you don’t have any.
The easiest is to find groups of people doing the activities you enjoy doing.
For example, take a photography class or a yoga class.
Another way to make friends is to just go out and do the things you live doing.
You will naturally meet people doing the same thing and can start talking to them.
And who knows, this could turn into a budding friendship.
How to make friends as an introvert?
Making friends as a socially reserved person is hard.
I know because I am shy myself.
The way I make friends is to find things that I enjoy doing and making friends that way.
For example, I enjoy playing basketball, so I joined a pick up league.
By doing something I enjoy, I focus on that and not making friends.
But during pregame, postgame and in between, there is natural small talk going on.
There is no pressure to make friends, it just happens naturally.
So I suggest you figure out what you love to do, and then see if you can find a group of people to do it with.
What is friendship all about?
Friendship is a relationship between two people.
The level of friendship depends on the types of people you are meeting.
Some friendships are casual, whereas others develop into life long friendships.
At the end of the day though, friendship is about two people spending time together and enjoying each other’s company.
Why are friends important?
As I mentioned throughout the article, having friends is important if you want to life a longer, happier, and healthier life.
Study after study has shown the positive effects of having people in our lives.
At the end of the day, we put a lot more pressure on ourselves than we need to when meeting new people.
The best way to make new friends and have a bigger social life is to simply go out and live your life doing the things you enjoy doing.
Then as you are doing these things, start talking to others and naturally friendships will happen.
And the benefits of having friends is immeasurable.
Study after study shows the many positive influences having friends has on our lives, our mental health, and our overall well being.
So get out there and start living life and make it a point to talk to people.
New best friends will soon follow.
Jon Dulin is the passionate leader of Unfinished Success, a personal development website that inspires people to take control of their own lives and reach their full potential. His commitment to helping others achieve greatness shines through in everything he does. He’s an unstoppable force with lots of wisdom, creativity, and enthusiasm – all focused on helping others build a better future. Jon enjoys writing articles about productivity, goal setting, self-development, and mindset. He also uses quotes and affirmations to help motivate and inspire himself. You can learn more about him on his About page.