7 Secrets To Making Real Adult Friendships That'll Actually Last

It can feel harder to make friends the older you get, so here tips on how to do it.

friends enjoying a outside lunch together Jacob Lund via Canva 

By Theo Harrison

Have you been feeling lonely lately? Wondering how to make friends as an adult? Well, you should. Having some great friends makes life a lot easier. 

According to a Journal of Health and Social Behavior report published in 2010, having great social bonds helps us live longer. It boosts our immune system and allows us to enjoy a more meaningful life. 

Moreover, studies have found that having strong friendships can help to reduce stress, chronic pain, the risk of heart disease, and decrease high blood pressure. Having friends really does help!


RELATED: 7 Types Of Friendship Every Woman Needs In Her Life

The thing is that making friends as an adult is not that simple. Things were a lot easier when we were kids. We could just walk up to a kid and ask them to be our friends. And voila! You’ve got a new BFF!


But, it doesn’t work like that when you’re an adult. Imagine going up to someone and asking them “Will you be my friend?” Creep alert! But, you are not alone in this dilemma. Most adults are looking to make some social connections and ask themselves how to make friends as an adult.

In fact, a study of over 177,000 people found that adult friendships tend to shrink and dwindle after the age of 25. Moreover, a national survey conducted in 1985 found that most adult respondents claimed they had only 3 friends. In 2004, that number dropped to zero. You read that right. Zero! Zero friends.

As an adult, making friends is not just difficult, it can also be awkward and humiliating, especially if you are an introvert. The biggest challenge to building lasting friendships as an adult is that we are afraid of rejection. We are afraid of judgment. It’s not like how things were back in college where everyone would become our friends, even those who we didn’t want to be friends with.

But as we grow older, we get bogged down with our careers, marriage, taking care of kids, moving to a new city, and other responsibilities. And soon, friendship only means a text on holidays and a birthday wish, thanks to Facebook Notifications. 


Did you know that one of the biggest deathbed regrets of most people is that they wished they kept in touch with their friends? Unfortunately, this regret can come sooner for many of us. 

Researchers have found that having a dwindling social circle or not having enough close friends has a similar risk factor as smoking a whopping 15 cigarettes per day. If you take good care of yourself, you can definitely live a long, healthy life. However, if you want that life to be meaningful and enjoyable, then you need to start making some friends. 

Relationships account for more than 70 percent of our happiness. Our relationship with our neighbors and coworkers, our closeness with our family and siblings, our closeness with our friends, and even the number of friends we have all determine the level of our personal happiness. Friendships are really important to our happiness and overall well-being. 

So, if you are still trying to figure out how to make friends as an adult, then we have got you covered. Get ready to make some new BFFs.


Making friends shouldn’t be difficult when you’re an adult. It should be simple and natural. Here are a few effective and excellent tips on how to make friends as an adult.

Here are 7 secrets to making real adult friendships that'll actually last:

1. Get out there

Yes, you have responsibilities. Welcome to adulthood. But, that doesn’t mean you will put yourself in the backseat and then forget all about it. Neglecting yourself, letting go of dreams, avoiding having fun, and not enjoying life is definitely not the way to make friends. 

Although Netflix does sound perfect at the end of a tiring day, what you need to do is go out there and do things that you love. Pursue your passions and meet new people who are already doing what you love. You need to actively focus on building and enjoying your personal life first. 

Look at it this way: why would anyone want to be your friend if you are not an interesting person? So, go out there and have fun. Be your own best friend first and foremost. Happiness always begins with loving yourself.


2. Reconnect with old friends

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, I am pretty sure you had some friends back in school and college. Or they may be an ex-colleague or a neighbor from your hometown. 

Start by getting in touch with your old friends either through social media, emails, or text. Or you might even call them up and ask to meet them. 

This is a lot easier and less scary than meeting new people. They are people you know, people you are comfortable with, and people you already have a history with. Even though you haven’t been in touch for the last few years, you will immediately feel that connection and friendship the moment you start talking with your old pals.

RELATED: The Truth Is Adult Friendships Change — And That's OK


3. Have an open mindset

Making new friends as an adult requires you to develop the right mindset. If you start worrying about getting rejected or neglected by the people you approach or if you think that you are not “cool” enough to be their friend, then you will never be able to make any friends.

You need to be open and approach the situation as you did as a kid. Don’t think that you will ever be able to make any friends, because what you think will eventually become your reality. Do not worry or overthink. Take it easy and keep things natural. 

Moreover, you also need to realize that your new friend doesn’t have to be the same gender as you. Have an open mindset and just go with the flow.

4. Learn to say "yes"

To make friends, you need to be open to new opportunities. You have to agree to get out there and meet people. You have to agree to be active and not just be a couch potato. 


So, the next time someone asks you to hang out or invites you to an event, say yes! Of course, you shouldn’t compel yourself to spend time with people you don’t like or do things you hate. But don’t lock yourself in your room and hide from people. 

The more you deny attending parties, the more people will think that you don’t like them and soon they will stop asking you. This is the reason why you get rejected. So, get yourself out of your self-imposed prison and start saying yes.

5. Volunteer

Another excellent way to meet like-minded people and make friends is by starting to volunteer in something that you feel passionate about. Granted you won’t like each and every person you meet nor will you become best friends with every person in the group. But, you will certainly meet a lot of new people who are as passionate as you. 

You will make some interesting conversations and experience what it feels like to be a part of a group driven by a common cause. The best way is to volunteer for a movement or a charity. Not only you will end up making some good friends, but you will also feel happy and satisfied about giving back to the community.


RELATED: What Research Says About Whether Or Not Men And Women Can Be Friends

6. Join your local gym

Yes, it sounds like a cliché, but it works. Personally, I love a solo workout, but it can keep you isolated and limit your training, despite you believing otherwise. 

When you work out with others, not only will you learn a lot of new exercises, but you will meet a lot of new and interesting people. And some of them will really inspire you to push yourself.

However, you don’t necessarily have to lift weights if that’s not your thing. You can join a kickboxing class or a Zumba class to have a great workout and meet some excellent people. You never know who you might meet out there and that person just might inspire you to become the next fitness model on Instagram.


7. Get online

Today, there are tons of friendship apps out there that allow you to meet new people from your neighborhood and from across the world. Apps like Bumble, Meetup, and others help you to connect with people who have similar interests or live in your city. You can also use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find old and new friends. 

Approaching strangers online can be a bit awkward, but if done right, this can lead you to some great friendships that might last a lifetime. You can also search for like-minded people online by checking out hashtags that you find interesting or related to your hobbies and passions.

But, that’s not all! Here are some other quick tips on how to make friends when you are already an adult:

  • Try out new things and experiences
  • Visit new clubs in your city
  • Connect with the coworkers you like
  • Reach out to your neighbors
  • Join a meet-up group and participate actively
  • Join a book club in your locality
  • Start or join an online group
  • Take part in a sports league
  • Get a dog and go for a walk at your local park
  • Connect with other couples and parents
  • Find and attend networking events
  • Take a class to pursue your hobbies

Nourish your friendships. Friendship is like nurturing a plant. You need to water them every day to keep them healthy and thriving. 


Once you have created new connections, it’s imperative that you nurture and invest in the friendship. Make sure you keep in touch with your friends regularly and spend enough time with them. Share your stories with them and listen to what they want to share with you.

Show an interest in your friend and what matters to them and watch how easily you build a deep and lasting friendship with an amazing and caring person.

Time to get out and make some new friends. Good luck!

RELATED: 15 Simple Ways To Become A Better Friend

Theo Harrison is an artist, blogger, writer, and former contributor to The Mind's Journal, who writes primarily about mental health, pop culture, and relationships.