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Creating Bonds: How to Make New Friends as an Adult
A shower celebrating Kate – one of my closest friends (met her under 2 years ago) surrounded by new friends since I entered the blogging/influencer industry.
In recent years I’ve created a handful of really close bonds with new friends. Friends I now regularly talk to on the phone, text, and meet – sometimes more often than friends I’ve known for a long time – I love expanding my circle for this reason, you always have something to do with someone at any given time. I used to say I didn’t have time for new friends, and it was lame of me to say, as if I were too busy and thought I couldn’t benefit from new relationships.
The reality was, I didn’t make it a priority and I soon realized I was missing out on great friendships as old ones moved away or shifted as life changes.
No matter where you are in life, it’s important to make new friends. Stages of life change, we move, friends move, get busy with a new lifestyle or chapter, so it’s nice to continually expand your circle. It’s also important because we should love more people and want to help build community, encourage one another and the more lives you can reach and be a part of the better all of our lives are. I quickly realized how wonderful it is to make new friends and now I cannot imagine life without the very close girlfriends I made in the past few years.
I’ve had friends express how hard it is to make new adult friends and asked how I do it so I thought I’d share some tips – and if you have any, please share in the comments because I think we are all here to find out how to make new friends.
Where to make new friends
Get involved – whether it’s through volunteering, a club, community, church or networking for business. When you get involved it makes you feel like you belong. Here are some ideas –
- Church – but don’t just go, be involved and serve
- Clubs – quilting, hiking, special interest, knitting
- Sports leagues – volleyball, golf, my girlfriend has a group of friends because of a volleyball league
- Alumni association – I’ve made some great connections from attending my college alum events!
- Get involved at your kid’s school – if you have kids.
You can also consider philanthropy causes, Girl Scout volunteer, pageant director like through the Miss America organization, think of your interests and start there.
How to approach a new friend
I have been really great at making new friends just by sitting by someone at a conference, or party and swapping numbers or IG handles and chatting!
It kind of feels like you’re hitting on her, so I’ve been told, haha! Honestly you’re just being friendly and striking a conversation, you gotta be social, say hi, ask her questions and chat for a bit.
- Exchange phone numbers. It really is that easy. Just say, hey I’d love to go out to coffee sometime or – let’s meet up before _____ and exchange numbers! Or follow on social and message them to hang out. Or, what’s your number so I can find you at lunch time (if you’re at a conference).
- Compliment her on something to start a convo.
- Spend some time chatting to see if you have friendship chemistry – some similar passions, interests or kids that are the same age.
How to meet up with a new friend
So now you’ve both expressed interest to get together, so make time to do it! Maybe you do a group thing, or you just meet up for lunch because you have to eat anyway! The point is, don’t wait too long, when someone is ready to meeting up again, don’t just say you want to do it, do it!
- Schedule a coffee date or lunch. Or playdate if that’s where you are in life with kids.
- Have them be your +1 at an event. If you already have something to do (this applies if you have similar interests or are in the same industry) invite your new friend because there’s something to do and you also have an instant buddy.
New friends don’t have to become best friends right away. That takes time, or maybe you just become super friendly. Don’t put so much pressure on creating this magical best friend moment, a friendship will evolve the way it’s supposed to over time spent. Creating some great acquaintances is fantastic and the more you broaden your circle of friends is wonderful.
So let’s say you really click with your new friend and you really want to get to spend even more time together because you know you are going to become GREAT friends, here’s how to build and maintain that friendship –
How to Build the new friendship INTO A CLOSE ONE
Me + Kate
The most important advice I would give about making new friends that you have to treat this new friendship like you’re dating. But not creepy obsessive way, obvi. Ha! I just mean be intentional in trying to get to know your new friend.
You need to put in MORE effort at least the first year or two because you are creating a foundation of strength so more texts, calls, checking in, and spending time together.
Of course it has to be mutual too, so your new friend has to have the time and put in the same effort. Don’t over think it or think of it as rejection some people don’t have the same amount of time to pour into a friendship and some do, just love on people!
While it was much easier when we were younger say in high school or college because we had more time, you just have to put in the time. It’s always worth it.
- Try everything you can to make that first connection. When you are invited to a party or a dinner and by chance you cannot make it (it’s ok!) try to suggest another time to hang out to show you WANT to. Because sometimes after a few efforts, the time to connect might disappear due to busyness.
- Invite her to a birthday party, shower, holiday, a life event that usually exclusive long-time close friends and family are invited. The exclusiveness of it says, Hey, I think we’re going to be closer in the future, please come. And if you are wanting to get closer to that new friend, go. If you can’t make it, recommend taking her out to lunch to still celebrate her and give her a gift (assuming it’s a birthday or shower event).
- Talk less, ask them questions more. How will you know your new friend if you don’t ask them questions? Let them finish stories, follow up, dig deeper. It’s important to talk about yourself of course but you want DIALOGUE not MONOLOGUE.
- Put important events on your calendar. Know when she is moving, going on vacation and say, “Good luck with the move!”
- Check in if you know she’s sick. It just shows you care. I do this with all my close girlfriends every few days when I know they are under the weather.
- Know her birthday. Know her address. Put it in your calendar and add her to your Christmas card list (if you have one).
- Share secrets and tell them first before social. I am an over sharer only because I think, let’s cut to the chase, either you’re going to love this about me and my past but let’s see – and by doing so usually you find something very in common with your new friend or it gives them the opportunity to share their secrets. If your friend shares a deep secret or something deep about herself, share one back! You will create a bond.
- Invite them over, double date, or be your +1. Nothing is more intimate like having people over to your house right? Or go on a DD, or invite them to be your guest to an event, there’s lot of time you can spend together.
- Pick them up. I know this sounds so odd, but seriously don’t you jump into your friend’s car without a second thought? When someone picks you up it makes you more familiar, like you are jumping into old friend habit! Plus, you get to chat more in the car. I have found I like to jump into a new friend’s car for that reason – just to chat more.
- Respond to texts and if YOU cancel, YOU reschedule. If you can’t make something, no big deal, life happens but if you had to excuse yourself, you should initiate the reschedule. By initiating a reschedule it shows you want to see that person and you didn’t just drop the ball. After all, no one wants to keep chasing a new friend and also wants to make sure they aren’t bugging you to hang out again!
- Ask for a favor. When a friend can do something that you might ask a neighbor or a family member, you are instantly showing you trust them and you can rely on them. Think, watching your house, picking up your mail, taking you to the airport, these things while you don’t want to bother a friend may also be something your new friend wouldn’t mind doing because it already creates a comfort.
- Let her be there in your brokenness as much as the celebratory times. We all know everyone celebrates happy times but who holds you up when you are sad really can strengthen a friendship. Send food, send texts, be there however you feel comfortable.
- Show her you are a big supporter. A true friend opens up doors, shares connections and shares successes with other friends – same industry or not. If you start to show you are a cheerleader, that’s what a real friend is – it instantly creates a trust and a sense of genuineness and safety. After all, true friends are helpful and not competitive.
Pour in more time, more of yourself, but you should know that it will be worth it when you look back in a few years and realize you are spending holidays, birthdays, or any days ups and downs with that friend. You are building a foundation for your friendship and as adults we have to juggle work, husbands, kids, but there are many ways to integrate a new friendship in any stage of your life if you are willing to put in the time.
I thought I’d share a few stories of my newest friendships that are turned incredibly close friends – like on their way to best friend status.
Kate, Photographer + Blogger
You may have seen her all over my social networks is my girlfriend Kate who is a photographer and blogger. I followed her blog for a while and we finally met on an influencer trip to Rocky Point. I was so excited when I saw her at the initial meeting – I know that sounds stalker-ish – but I wanted to get to know her and I knew this was the time we would. You could say I was like, I am going to be friends with Kate (hoping we clicked). I started a convo with her boyfriend (now husband) at dinner since I sat by him and though him, started to talk to Kate. On the last night of the trip in Rocky Point, she complimented my purse and said we should grab coffee when we got back. She followed up when we got back in town and a week later we met up which ended up being a chat for hours and talked about everrrrything – and I mean everything. We spilled our guts and shared our hearts and realized we had a lot of similarities that were so comforting. I think that instantly bonded us. I invited her over for a pizza night when Benjamin was out of town, and then we just kept hanging out, had a double date on Chinese New Year, we went on a casual hike, went to influencer dates together usually as each other’s +1 if we weren’t already invited individually. She also shared something personal with me before she told anyone, aside from her family and hubby. I would say I talk to Kate just as often as any of my longtime close friends, like regularly if not more – because she has quickly become one of my closest friends. I text her often, ask for feedback (this photo or this photo to post? Did you get this invite, if not do you want to be my +1?) and I don’t think more than 3 weeks goes by when we don’t see each other in person – which is a lot for this stage in life, right? I have to give a lot of kudos to Kate for being an incredible friend this past year, she puts in such great effort and I cannot imagine my life without her friendship.
I asked Kate to share her perspective on our friendship and some advice –
When I met Diana, my first impression of her was she was beautiful, funny, approachable and warm. It helped to have a weekend together in Mexico to get to know each other a bit, but truly our friendship really began once we were back home. For me, I sought out a friendship with Diana because I felt an immediate connection to her. As we got to know each other more through intentionally setting time aside to casually hang out, I learned we had some similar life experiences, valued similar things and shared the same passions, both as bloggers and photographers. I felt like she understood me without judgements and it was easy to talk to her vulnerably and on deeper levels. Diana inspires me to be a better friend because she is such an amazing example of one. She always texts me when I have something going on, and helps me out whether it’s professional or personal. She is always positive, supportive and loving and every time I leave her, I feel happier and my souls feels nourished!
I think my best piece of advice to navigating and deepening friendships in the adult world is to be intentional. Show up and commit to making them a priority. Also-don’t be afraid of friendship. If you see someone you would want to know better, invite them to coffee, then to lunch, or an event. There are so many awesome, inspiring women out there who have the ability to enhance our lives in such positive and significant ways. If I didn’t take a chance in a trip, or a chance on getting to know Diana more, my life certainly would be a lot emptier without her. Friendships, as cliche as it may sound, are one of the greatest gifts we can have in our lives when we open ourselves to them.
Amber, Real Estate Entrepreneur
“I love my friendship with Diana and am so glad fate brought us together! We met and hit it off at church; our paths continued to cross and we realized we had so much in common! It also helps that our husbands have hit it off too, so we enjoy sharing dinners as couples often – either at home or out for fancy date nights. Beyond collaborating on all kinds of work projects, it’s great to be able to just pick up the phone and chat and encourage one another. So- if you meet someone new and hit it off- make the effort! It will be worth it!” – Amber
Another girlfriend is Amber who you may know as the home owner of the vacation rental homes when I shoot my campaigns at random houses that aren’t mine, haha! She’s also guest blogged on here for home trends and owns The Strawberry Inn. She and her husband Carson have flipped over 200 homes together and Amber is always offering to help me ALL the time and she takes my photos and encourages me when I get really upset over anything. We met through church and we go to their house for dinner all the time, she’ll just text and we’ll be over. Carson and Benjamin also are real life friends who talk which is so awesome, the four of us are good friends and we get along with minimal effort, it’s just natural. Amber will jump in for my photos when I need friends over for a campaign, and she’s called me to chat, she’s prayed for me when I needed it and I love that about her. We are also invited to holiday events which is nice to have a friend who thinks of you as family. Amber is a great planner too, she planned the Weezer group concert, the NYE night out, I just feel so right at home with her. She’s always putting in amazing effort into our friendship, trying to get together, and checking in with phone calls (a friend who calls!) I appreciate her so much. We became fast friends and close because of how Amber really made a strong initiation to be friends and I really love her company. We have known each other for about three years.
I hope this posts helps encourage you to be open to new friendships and know you aren’t alone wanting to make a new friend. I realized the more I put out there I was willing to make and build new friendships some girls reached out to me wanting to meet up! There are lots of us wanting to create bonds and if you Google “How to make Friends as an Adult” or “How to Make Friends in your 30s” a ton of websites pop up with advice! So it shows there are women who are looking for your friendship too!
Related Creating Bonds posts:
- Children and Aunties: Friends that are like Family
- Making New Friends as an Adult
- Creating a Group of Friends
- Being Friendly with Neighbors
Loved this post! It can definitely be harder to make friends now that I’m a stay at home mama, but I think your tips describe “moves” I’ve made lately. LOL Taking initiative and being the “planner” is key. Love you, D!