Noemi J. Mullins

I hear this theme a lot from my clients. It has nothing to do with romantic relationships. Instead, it is about adult friends. As I write this, I think of the movie I Love You, which stars Paul Rudd. The film is funny, but it’s also very true. You may laugh your head off at the jokes, or you may cringe when you think about trying to make new friends. This hilarious film is about a groom (Paul Rudd) who realizes that he has no friends to fill the groomsmen slots at his wedding. The film depicts the difficult (but humorous) journey he takes to find the best male (Jason Segel) as an adult. This movie is lighthearted and funny, but it also shows how lonely we can be when we don’t have close relationships with other adults outside of romantic relationships. The movie also highlights the awkwardness that comes with trying to form adult friendships, as well as the insecurities and fears we experience when attempting something new.

This topic is interesting and relatable, as most of us are friends with those we worked with or have grown up with. It is difficult for many of us to form deep friendships with brand-new friends (or even with existing friends).

As I said earlier, I truly believe that this is because, at times, it feels more vulnerable to try and make deeper connections with current friends or to make new relationships with new adults. This is all about our fear of judgment because our attempts to make new friends can be misunderstood and criticized. My clients often say to me, “How pathetic am I trying to make new friends at 30? They probably think I’m a loser because they assume that I do not already have friends.

We can be viewed as weird if we’re not new to an area or don’t have a “practical” reason to strike up a conversation with someone next to us in the gym. It’s a shame because we can always benefit from finding new connections and safety with someone else. This could help us feel more secure, supported, and fulfilled.

We must find friends who share our interests and with whom we can feel comfortable. If you’re not lucky enough to still have the best friend you had as a child, it is perfectly fine to seek out new adult friends.

These “tips” for making adult friends may sound “cheesy,” but I think they can be helpful when you are trying to go out and make new friends.

  1. Be open and willing. It can be as easy as being aware of how many times you do not smile at people around you, whether you are in the supermarket, gym, bar, or class. It may mean being forward and open, such as introducing yourself: “Hello, my name is ______ and I noticed that you are new to our class.” Being relaxed will make strangers feel more comfortable and interested in you.
  2. Make a friendly compliment. A genuine compliment is always appreciated, and it feels more comfortable if the person is not trying to initiate a romantic relationship. For example, “Nice beard, how long did you take to grow?” Or “I think you’ve got great style. Where do you shop?”
  3. Ask About Themselves When you are developing adult friendships, it is important to ask about their interests, where they were raised, and what they do. Your friendship will naturally develop if they believe you are genuine and share something in common.
  4. Plan, Invite, and Initiate: Start friendships with them by adding them to social media or giving them your number. You should also find an interesting event to invite your friends to. It’s important to ask them to as many events as you can. We aren’t children anymore, and sitting in front of the television at each other’s houses isn’t enough. It’s a great way to maintain your adult friendship and build your friendship.
  5. Be Aware Of Expectations: We have busy schedules as adults and cannot hang out as much with our friends as we did in high school. So don’t stress or worry if your friend does not text you as much or is unable to make it to Sunday brunch. Enjoy your relationship, and be patient.
  6. Don’t let your insecurities take over: Just be yourself, and remember that we all have our insecurities. It’s normal to want friendships in adulthood.
  7. Be flexible: Don’t be discouraged if your new friend’s interests are inconsistent or if you find that you don’t have much in common. It’s important to remember that not everyone will be open to friendship or compatibility.

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