How to make new friends
29 Jun 2023

How to make new friends as an adult


How to make new friends as an adult.

People start to lose friends from around the age of 25, and particularly in midlife, a person’s social network begins to shrink. Unlike when we are younger, a consolidation process commences in these middle years as people choose to spend time with family members and familiar people they feel emotionally attached to, rather than new people.

This choice fosters a feeling of well-being and social embeddedness but, of course, this isn’t possible if your best friends, family and oldest acquaintances no longer live nearby. This isn’t helpful for people who may be looking to expand their social life as part of dealing with bereavement or becoming a single parent. Your social world can also be changed by marital, family or relationship breakdown or separation, where existing friends or family members have picked a side, and it isn’t yours.

You might also find yourself in a new home and perhaps a new part of the country due to family or job changes, which means you have to start afresh to make friends and build connections. If this is the case, you’re going to have to make a conscious effort to get out there and meet new people, because stumbling across new friends doesn’t often happen by chance.

With more of us working from home, there is even less possibility of new social interactions and opportunities to meet new people, so opportunities have to be created by you. Here are some action points to consider.

  • Get a dog. This will force you to get out and about – but don’t put your earphones in, be available to chat. If you go to the same area at the same time of day, you’ll meet the same people and can start up a conversation – even if it is initially about your dog!
  • Do some charitable work. Now that you have updated your values, choose a charity which reflects those values. When you volunteer you are more likely to meet people who share those values. For example, The Global Red Cross Network has values centred around compassion and inclusion and Save the Children values accountability and ambition. Do any of these resonate with you?
  • Look online. Here you can search for local groups because then at least you’ll know that any members will live close by. You’ll have more chance of regularly seeing any friends you make in the group elsewhere, too, as they won’t live too far away.
  • Start a local group. Choose an interest that you love, that way you get to control who joins and the focus of the group.
  • Start online. If you are an introvert or tend to shy away from groups, it can be a good idea to recalibrate your social life by starting online and then moving into in-person groups.
  • Shift the focus off friendship. Join a group where friendship is not the focus, but people meet to discuss books, to dance or to create an object like pottery or a furniture upcycling workshop. It could give you something to focus on, which allows friendships to develop more naturally. This can be particularly useful if you are shy about meeting new people initially.
  • Social network platforms such as offer varied local social events for people to meet as friends. The emphasis here is not on dating, so that takes a lot of the pressure off, especially if you are already in a relationship. Meetups include groups where you can learn a new language, chat about books or philosophy, or try out new restaurants as part of a regular supper club. They are local, which means you’ll be more likely to find people who live near you should you decide to meet up outside of the group.
  • Be charitable. Commit to doing something for charity, such as a walk for your local hospice, which ideally has a few weeks’ training programme or practice walks to get all the walkers in shape, so you’ll see the same faces a few times as you get fit.
  • Be practical. If money is tight, arrange a picnic with friends and take your own food – it’s the company that’s important, not where or what you eat. • Visit the library. Instead of buying books, head down to your local library and see if they have details of any interesting talks or workshops coming up. Look for details of local community groups that give talks of interest, such as U3A, or help out at a local community project.
  • Use social media. Follow influencers and join Facebook groups for tips on confidence building and on making a change in your life. Learn a new skill by watching YouTube videos such as upcycling or calligraphy or photography or learning to write. These skills and abilities may enhance your ability to then go out, feel more confident and make friends

If you would like help with your midlife transition or to find direction in the second half of life, why not read The Midlife Crisis Handbook or attend a course at The Midlife Academy.