I’m not going to write a book about making friends as an adult, but I do realize that I have a knack for making new friends or introducing myself to people.
What I do is… speak to people. I don’t insert myself into conversations where I’m unwelcome (which requires a degree of social awareness that you may need to form), but I just go and say hello and start a conversation. It took me a while but I knew it was essential for me to be able to make friends as an immigrant so my loneliness didn’t have an adverse affect on my other relationships.
People want to make friends and most of those people are socially anxious enough to not be the first person to say hello. You have to be that first person. You have to push yourself until you are comfortable enough with yourself to be comfortable around strangers.
Put yourself out there and don’t worry about being awkward – everyone does awkward shit all the time and you don’t notice it because you’re too busy thinking about all the awkward shit you’ve been doing. Go say hello, ask them questions about themselves, and let the conversation flow. Not flowing? That’s fine, just tell them it was nice to meet them and you can go and chat to someone else.
If you do get along with them, don’t forget to grab their number and follow up. Set that friend date hanging out somewhere, grab dinner, go bowling, throw some axes, have a picnic in a park. Anything that moves that person from someone you briefly met to someone who you want to spend time with time and time again.
An important thing to note is that if you’re changing your personality to be friends with someone, that is going to be exhausting. Your entire relationship with that person will be a facade and, if they don’t like who you really are, then they aren’t friends with you – they’re friends with a person who doesn’t exist. Be yourself unashamedly. If you’re into board gaming or reading, you will be able to find like-minded friends. I promise.
To make friends as an adult all you need to do is spend more time out of the house and strike up conversations with people. Not everyone will like you and you won’t like everyone you meet, but love yourself and be yourself and you will make friendships that last a lifetime.