It’s no secret that making friends is harder as you get older.
In school and college, most of us hung out with people in our classes or dorms.
We’re surrounded by people with similar interests and goals, so making friends can be pretty easy.
Unfortunately, things aren’t so simple in adulthood.
It’s common to slowly lose touch with your old friends, and meeting new people isn’t easy.
Once people enter their mid-twenties, they start acquiring responsibilities like demanding careers, long-term relationships, and children.
Luckily, there are lots of tried and tested ways to meet new people.
Here are eight ways to make new friends as an adult:
1. Join a busy gym:
People tend to get into a gym routine.
They usually go on the same days each week, and at the same time.
If you start turning up regularly, you’ll start recognizing people.
Getting fit and living a healthy lifestyle is such a vast topic that finding a subject to talk about should be easy.
2. Talk to your neighbors:
How many of us actually know who lives next door?
Make sure you aren’t overlooking a golden opportunity to make a new friend.
Make eye contact, smile, and exchange a few words with your neighbors whenever you see them.
If they seem friendly, start asking them about their day or make conversation about something happening in your community.
3. Take a class at your local community college or adult learning center:
Why not keep your brain sharp and meet some new people at the same time?
Taking a class needn’t be expensive, and you’ll already have a ready-made topic of conversation to hand when talking to your new acquaintances.
You could ask them why they decided to take the class, what they think of the teacher, and so on.
4. Find volunteer opportunities:
If you like the idea of giving your time to help a cause, why not pick a volunteering opportunity that will also let you meet likeminded people?
If you’re not sure where to start, research charities within a few miles of your home.
Call or email them to ask whether they need any volunteers.
If possible, get a position that gives you lots of interpersonal contact.
For instance, you could volunteer as part of a team at a fundraiser or sit on a board or council.
5. Look for hobby forums that have meet-up pages:
Do you have a special hobby or interest?
Even if it’s traditionally a solitary pursuit, like painting, you can still use it as a way to connect with others.
Find forums or Facebook pages that encourage hobbyists to meet up in person.
Of course, you can also use them to make a few online friends too.
6. Join a local amateur sports team:
Do you prefer playing a sport to working out in the gym?
Consider joining a local sports team.
You’ll soon bond with your team mates if you train or play with them for several hours each week.
7. Get to know your colleagues:
OK, some of us have terrible colleagues with very few redeeming traits.
However, we often overlook people at work who could otherwise turn out to be good friends.
If you only make small talk with your co-workers, why not try moving it to the next level by asking them about what they like to do in their spare time or what they think about a recent news story?
When someone joins the company, make a special effort to be a good friend to them.
Help them settle in and offer to show them around the local area if they’ve moved across the country.
Even if you don’t end up as friends, it’s still a golden opportunity to practice your social skills!
8. Ask your family and existing friends to put you in touch with new people:
This might seem incredibly obvious or too simple, but it can work wonders.
Tell your friends that you are looking to meet some new people and ask them whether they have any friends you could meet.
Perhaps you could host a small party and ask them to bring along a couple of new people?
When you find someone you like, let the friendship unfold at a natural pace.
For example, if you’ve been chatting to the same person at the gym for a few weeks in a row, you could suggest getting a coffee together after your next workout.
From there, you could offer to swap numbers.
They might ask you to hang out again – and you’ll soon be on track to developing a friendship.