Making Adult Friends Is Hard (Part 1)


Here’s The Truth

While I’d like to stand here and say I’m thriving daily and basking in the glory of the “present” with my toddler, the hard truth is some days I miss the old days of high school and college when making friends was so easy. I’m not very good at making new adult friends.

Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult? Adult life is full of changes: marriages, babies, careers, moves, soccer practices, carpool schedules, and so many sleepless nights. Trying to keep up with friends in the midst of it all is challenging, if not exhausting.

So I Asked Other Women

I turned to ten different women I know between the ages of 21 and 60 to ask them how they maintain their friendships and make new friends. Do you know that 95% of them told me that making and maintaining friendships as an adult was hard for them as well! A few said they just didn’t take the time to reach out but wished they did. Others told me that they would only hang out with friends once a month, if that much. Most of them admitted that they were disappointed in their lack of pursuing friendships and realized just how complacent they had become.

making friends as an adult, adult friendshipsI am sure a lot of us can relate! I know I can! Because I can’t even remember the last time I hung out with just girlfriends. And it’s been a really long time since I’ve made a new adult friend.

Almost every woman I interviewed said they do not have as many friends now as they did when they were in high school or college but wish they made more of an effort. Interestingly enough, several of them were grateful for my questionnaire because it made them stop and realize just how long it had been since they reached out to their friends or made any new ones.

When the Dynamics of Life Change, so Do Our Friendships

Since the dynamics of life change as we get older, so do the dynamics of friendships. The way we maintain friendships and the way we make new friendships has to change with us. So what do we do? I think we need to rethink the way we connect and the way we reach out. Several of the ladies I talked to shared some very insightful tips to help me consider how I can be a better friend and cultivate new friendships. Read on!

Advice to Your Younger Self

At one point I asked each one, “If you were to give advice about friendships to a younger version of yourself just graduating from high school or college, what advice would you give?
T. (Age 23)
Reach out. When you’re thinking about a friend, TEXT THEM and don’t think twice or talk yourself out of it. Ask how they are, what they are up to, or how you can pray for them. You don’t have to wait for someone to reach out to you first. And you don’t have to wait for the perfect friend who likes all the same things you do, is the same age, in the same season, or even has the same struggles or joys as you.
R. (Age 30)

I would say to not be afraid to be uncomfortable and actively involve yourself in activities with new people. To embrace the awkward moments! They lead to some great new relationships.

A. (Age 58)
Make at least two very close female friends in every place you live. Don’t expect your husband to meet all your friendship needs.
K. (Age 24)
I would encourage myself to make a list every week of individuals that I want to make an effort to see. I have met so many amazing individuals that I do not want to lose connections with, but it’s difficult to reach out to everyone all of the time. Writing their names down is an easy way for me to remind myself of just how important it is to invest my time in others and keep developing stronger connections with the friends that I have.
H. (Age 25)

Find people who understand you and value your beliefs and time. Find people who will care about you and who will be there for every stage of life. The ones who still make time to talk and check in are usually the ones who stay close!

T. (Age 47)

Make an effort to keep in contact. Invest. Love. Pour into others. Keep learning how to be a good friend and keep trying. You can be a good friend by loving others well. Put a list of friends into your calendar to check in on every day. A simple hello, an encouragement, a prayer, a joke. Let them know you care.

Check out Part II of this article for more about making new adult friends.

Originally published October 2020.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.