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  • 1.  Making friends as an adult

    Posted 02-11-2022 16:27
    I heard on the radio this morning that today is Make a Friend Day. (I did a Google search and found that it's every February 11th-- who  knew??) It made me think about friendships and how it can be challenging to make friends as an adult. (Especially during a pandemic!) 

    My kids are young and they have dozens of friends--  their classmates, their tee ball teammates, the neighborhood kids, etc. In some ways, I envy their openness and ability to see everyone as a new friend. (Ah, the sweet innocence of youth!)  But if you want to make new friends as an adult, it's not as easy as it was on the playground at school. You can meet people through work, networking events, in the PTA, or in the neighborhood, but I find that some of that openness to make new friends fades as we age and have less free time and more responsibilities.  

    So that makes me wonder-- how do you make friends as an adult?

    (Tagging @Beth Power since she is a wonderful example of how "work friends" can stay in your life long after you've left that job. ​​​


  • 2.  RE: Making friends as an adult

    Posted 02-11-2022 17:10
    I'm so grateful for the lifelong friendship with @Brianne Haxton that it remains one of the best things about that job!

    I moved to Chicago over 20 years ago as an adult and didn't know a soul. So all of my local friends I met as an adult and it can definitely be hard. Here are some unique ways I've met people outside of work. May it be inspiration that you can make friends in the unlikeliest of places!

    - While at numerous street fests to see a favorite band, we would often see the same tall guy dancing with such joy that every time we saw him, we used him as our meeting point. Without him knowing of course. Until one day we finally told him that he was how we found each other in a crowd - just stand near him! Which he thought was hilarious! And years later, not only are we friends, but through his circle I have met some of the closest friends I have.
    - While this started as a work friend, I attended a friend's birthday party where I didn't know anyone else - which was at a trapeze school! Where I hit it off with his sister. While learning to fly through the air! In fact, I talked to him today and referred to me as part of his family, because even though he's moved away, I see his sister regularly!
    - While sitting at a bar visiting with a bartender friend, I started chatting with the woman sitting nearby. Turns out we had a lot in common. She asked if it was weird to exchange numbers. And a couple years later, we're still friends!

    So - never be afraid to take a trapeze class with mostly strangers​, to ask for a stranger's number at a bar if you hit it off, and definitely don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with a guy dancing with abandon at a 80s cover band show.​

    I sometimes worry that my world is getting smaller as life goes on. Because not all friendships last a lifetime. But I'm grateful for the friends I had, the friends I have - and the friends I've yet to make.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    Beth Power

  • 3.  RE: Making friends as an adult

    Posted 02-12-2022 08:23
    @Beth Power - I'm sipping my coffee and giggling about using The Tall Guy as your meeting point. Especially because I'm definitely short, I often use tall things as meeting points, but now I'll expand that to tall things and people! And I agree, not all friendships are meant to last a life time, though I will also say that I am really bad at letting friendships (and things in general) go. 

    @Brianne Haxton - great question! In fact, one that a friend and I were just having the other day. For me, it starts with being open to strike up a conversation and then, as Beth said, being bold enough to ask for a way to keep the conversation going. For example, I'd been going to the same bike shop for a few years, and every time I went, I chatted with the mechanic for a really long time. Like, I'd drop my bike and then we'd chat for most of my lunch hour. It was great! I talked about our conversations with other friends, haha. And finally - literally after years - I said, "hey, want to go grab a beer after work one day?" And tada! We moved from "people who are friendly at the bike shop" to "people who are friends!'

    Speaking of beer invites, @Amy Hopkins and I are getting one on the books! From getting to know her over the last year or so, I bet she's got some good "how to make friends" thoughts, too. ​​​

    Stay awesome,

  • 4.  RE: Making friends as an adult

    Posted 02-12-2022 08:50
    @Brianne Haxton this is one of those "million dollar question" threads!

    With a career in elementary education, I see friendships made and broken in the same day...then made up again!

    Adult friendships seem so much more intimidating than when we were little at the playground and just happened to chat with someone waiting in line for the slide. Other than work in adult life (and with more remote work, less opportunities it seems), there aren't many opportunities to be in the same space with the same folks like when we were in school.

    After a major breakup where we shared ALL of the same friends, I wanted to branch out, so started seeking organizations or opportunities to meet other folks with similar interests. Through this exploration and putting myself out there, I have found not only my closest friends, but feel like the circle is expanding as time goes on. By exploring new places/different haunts with these folks, I've expanded my favorite places. (Which also has led to me juusst missing @Quinn Drew at several breweries!) This also led me to help a colleague who moved to Chicago in late January 2020 and is still exploring the city (thanks COVID), leading the two of us to become even closer.

    @Beth Power has a good point though - not all friendships last forever, and that's ok! Each person becomes a part of the collage that makes up the amazing person you are, whether that connection is long or short term!

    What I have also found is that through adult friends, sometimes time between things doesn't matter. Sending that random text of "Hey, just thinking about you, hope things are good!" can reignite or pick things up right where you left them. This can also come at exactly the right time. I have one friend I joke about having a sixth sense - he always sends me a random meme or text exactly when I need it, whether it's been two months or two years since we've connected.

    I guess my biggest takeaway is, along with Beth - don't be afraid to strike up the conversation, put yourself out there, and just ask! I think many of us are just as intimidated about adult friendships and someone just needs to make the first move!


    Amy Hopkins