How to Make New Friends as an Adult

As an adult, it can be difficult to make new friends. Since getting married (so long ago now!) we have lived in five different cities, including the one we live in now. Granted, we’re back where I grew up, but so many of my high school friends either no longer live here or we haven’t kept in contact.

Making new friends as an adult is harder than it might seem from the outside, but it's not impossible. Here are 7 actionable things to do to make new friends, no matter your circumstances!

Each move we’ve made, it seems like it’s harder and harder to make new friends. This doesn’t seem to bother my husband as much; each time we’ve moved for his job, so he has people lined up ready to be friends, it seems.

Because I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have people just ready to be friendly. I used to go to the grocery just to talk to someone over the age of 3!

I remember whining to my husband and being all sad because I didn’t have friends. I’d talk his ear off in the evening because I hadn’t talked to anyone else. And even though I totally love my husband and he’s my best friend through everything, I needed other girl friends. You get me?

After the first few moves, I had figured out the some good ways to make new friends as an adult. These tips work whether you are new to the area or just need new or different friends.

Just saying, it can be uncomfortable at first for some people, to put yourself out there; you have to really work and be willing to get past the awkward stages of meeting someone. This can, on some levels, be more awkward than a first date. But keep working at it and it will get easier, and you have the opportunity to completely change your life with great new friends.

  1. Be willing to put yourself out there. Go out of your house with the mindset that you are going to talk to people, you are going to smile at strangers and you are going to be friendly. Like, give yourself a pep talk. This isn’t something you can just wing and hope it works. You have to make a concerted effort. This is a waaay throwback, but I remember sitting in the gym my very first day of high school as we waited to be grouped into homerooms; keep in mind, I had been homeschooled up to this point, and my new high school had over 4,000 students. To say I was a little overwhelmed is an understatement! But I remember sitting by myself with the 1,000 other new 9th graders and thinking that I can’t sit like this for four years, by myself. I had to do something! Two rows ahead of me on the bleachers was another girl sitting by herself; she looked nice so I forced myself to walk down and sit next to her and start talking. We didn’t have any classes together, but we agreed to meet at lunch time. I’m still friends (on Facebook) with her! But I never would have met her if I hadn’t been willing to put myself out there.
  2. Get friends before you move. This is easier now than it was when I was first starting our moving-every-few-years journey. Utilize the Internet and Facebook. Tell all of your real-life friends that you are moving and ask them if they know anyone who lives there. They can help with an introduction before you’re even there. This is a great way to have a friendly voice or face greet you in the new town, show you around and maybe have them include you in their group of friends.

    Have a current friend introduce you to a friend of there's who lives where you are moving.

    Have a current friend introduce you to a friend of there’s who lives where you are moving

  3. Go to where your people hang out. For me, that was church. We are Christians, so we go to church anyway. But when we move, we go the first Sunday we’re in our house, even when the boxes aren’t all unpacked. We typically have to visit several, but when we visit, we don’t just go to the service. We go to a class as well. We do this for several reasons; we want the kids to get a feel for the children’s department and we want to meet a few people face-to-face. You can decide pretty quickly if you like or will get along with the people of a church based on a classroom setting. We’ve found our best friends in each city in those classes! If your people hang out somewhere else, go there! If you run and want to make friends with other runners, sign up for a run in your new town, or do training runs through a running shop.

    Make new friends who enjoy doing what you like to do!

    Make new friends who enjoy doing what you like to do

  4. Go to the park. This is especially handy if you are a stay at home mom to littles. Guess who else goes to the park? Other moms of littles! So throw on some shoes, pack a snack and sit for awhile. You may even want to try different times of day and days of the week, to get a good feel for the different people who show up. And talk to them! You can talk to the mom beside you on the bench or the one pushing her kid on the swing next to you. These aren’t supposed to be deep conversations at this point, so keep it light; “Hi, nice to meet you, we just moved here…” type of stuff.

    Meet the other moms at parks and playgrounds.

    Meet the other moms at parks and playgrounds

  5. Join a Facebook group for your area. Simply type your city’s name and “mom group” into the Facebook search bar and you will probably find a lot of different groups pop up. Join the group and get involved online; this might make it easier if you “know” some people before you actually meet them. If you want a friendly place to just hang out on Facebook, like our page. We (probably) aren’t in your city, but we’re friendly!
  6. Volunteer at your child’s school. If your children are all school-age, get to know the people there. If they have an active volunteer group or PTA, join in. Those moms are always friendly, and you’ll already have the school in common. You might even get a chance to make friends with the moms that have kids that your own kids are making friends with!
  7. Keep in contact with old friends. While trying to reach out to new people, you can feel a little bit invisible; these new people know absolutely nothing about you! They don’t know (yet) that you hate nicknames for yourself or that you dislike driving at night or even that you wish you had more children. Keeping in communication with old friends who DO know these things about you can help you feel more grounded. But don’t let that be your only friend interaction, because it’s just not enough anymore.

    Keep in contact with old best friends.

    Keep in contact with old best friends

I hope these help you make friends when you move, or when you enter a new stage of life. I understand, it can be difficult and hard to make new friends, but you know what’s even harder? Going through life without friends. I’ve done that, too. The first place we lived…it was rough. I’ll have to tell you about that another time. I’m just thankful we only lived there 9 months! (It wasn’t a terrible place; the people were very nice. I just didn’t have ANYTHING in common with ANYONE.)

So go out there and make new friends! If you have any other tips on how to make new friends, tell me in the comments! I’m always looking for friends, and could use some more tips.

15 Comments

  • Brittany comeaux December 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    When I saw your title the first thing that came to my mind was church! So I love that was your suggestion too.

    We’ve never moved but I had kids a few years before all of my friends and church is the number one place I was able to make other mom friends. Our church has a young moms bible study and I’m still friends with most of those women four years later.

    Also ive never tried it but I hear the MOPS organization is a great way to make friends. I think they have one in most cities.

    Reply
    • Rebekah @ My Circus My Monkeys December 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Yes, I was part of a moms group in all of our churches! I have never been involved in a MOPS group, although my sister and cousin are, in different churches. I hear they are awesome!

      Reply
  • Julie McCullough December 1, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    These are all great ideas.

    Reply
  • Casey December 1, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    It is difficult and I love these suggestions! “Go where your people are” brilliant!

    Reply
  • Tammy December 1, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Thank you for all the great suggestions. We have relocated several times and making new friends can be challenging. I found that getting involved with my kiddos activities- church, school, or sports- was very helpful!!

    Reply
  • Jessica December 1, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Oh my gosh making friends as an adult is so weird and hard ha! Throw having kids into the mix and it gets even more fun! Good post!

    Reply
  • Tiffany December 1, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    These are great tips! We’re making a big move to a different country in the new year, so these will come in handy. Although there will be a language barrier, haha!

    Reply
    • Rebekah @ My Circus My Monkeys December 1, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      Ah, how fun! Totally new experiences! I will admit, I have never moved to a different country. That would be intimidating! The one thing I would add to this, for you, is to try to join an expat FB group for your new country/city, before you get there! Good luck!

      Reply
  • Sara Brunsvold December 1, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Church and school are two of the biggest ways I connect with other moms. Of course, one of the other biggest ways is introducing myself to neighbors. I have formed some great relationships that way too.

    Reply
  • Katrina December 2, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I can relate to this so much! Social media definitely played a big role in my making new friends after our move. All of my mom friends that I met here are through Instagram!

    Reply
  • Millason @SimplyNaturalMama December 2, 2016 at 12:45 am

    I wish I had this post several years ago when I moved from South Carolina to Illinois, especially the tip about making friends BEFORE you move!

    Reply
  • Samantha December 2, 2016 at 9:42 am

    I’m pretty introverted, so I often have a hard time making friends. These are great tips. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Amaris December 2, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Great tips! I’m thankful that I’ve had the same friends for 12+ years now. It would be so hard for me to start over.
    Xoxo, Amaris // http://www.crumbsandglamour.com

    Reply
  • Sane Mama December 3, 2016 at 9:58 am

    It’s been a lot of trial and error for us. We keep a lookout for people with similar interests as we go about our daily lives. We’ve actually picked up great friendships from our favorite diner, local kids activity centers, and even a local couple we sold baby equipment to on eBay.

    Reply
  • Girl December 4, 2016 at 11:21 am

    These are great tips! Thank you for this list.

    Funny how I wouldn’t need these tips before, but ever since my mental health took a tumble, I could really use a hand.

    Isolation is one of my symptoms. And I face a reluctance to meet people (though I used to love that) because of various issues such as low self-esteem and not knowing how to answer if someone were to ask about my job.

    Will be sharing this on my FB Page, because I know there are people finding difficulty making friends too, after certain chapters of their life.

    Reply

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