A group of White friends laughing and chat together in PJs to represent the topic of the article - Being A Good Friend And Making New Friends As An Adult

Being A Good Friend And Making New Friends As An Adult

When were we children, it was a lot easier to make friends. We often became friends with the people on our street, the kids we met at the park, or through school and other after-school clubs. We had a smörgåsbord of people to pick from delivered to us on a platter. But when you’re an adult, it’s a lot harder when it comes to making new friends or even just being a good friend, with all the hardships of life we have to manage. Hopefully, this article can help you with that



Why It’s Important To Keep Making New Friends As We Age


The main reason we need to keep making friends as we age is because friendships are an invaluable source of emotional support, as well as a resource for problem-solving and knowledge acquisition (Hartup, 1992).


Because of how life is, we grow apart, move away, have families, and people die. Therefore, it’s important to keep making new friends so that this source of friendship and the resources they bring remain available because it’s important to our mental wellbeing.


Expanding and maintaining friendships is especially needed for men, who often lose their friendship circles and sources of emotional support the older they get. A trend that is much less in our female counterparts. The result of this is a much higher suicide rate in men. So be there for a friend when you can.


40% of countries have more than 15 suicide deaths per 100,000 men; only 1.5% show a rate that high for women





How To Be A Good Friend


First off, being a good friend doesn’t mean you have to put everyone else’s wellbeing before your own. That’s people-pleasing, and that’s in no way healthy. That road only leads to burnout and unhappiness. You can be a good friend without having to sacrifice yourself in the process.


The main thing a good friend needs to be is to be a safe space. As I said in my article on creating a safe space, “Many issues can be resolved just by having a safe space to talk about your struggles. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all”.


An important part of friendship is understanding your friends for who they are (Vox), which can only really be achieved when everyone involved feels safe to be vulnerable. The best way to create that safe space where your friends feel comfortable about being vulnerable is to be vulnerable yourself. So talk about your problems and ask your friends about there’s. Do you know what else is great about being a good friend by creating a safe space? It also works as a good way to make friends as well.


Another way to be a good friend, as stated by @Survivor_John7 (account no longer exists) for my ‘The Best Tips For Maintaining A Relationship According To Twitter‘ article, is to “Respect boundaries“. And I couldn’t agree more. The sign of a healthy relationship with anyone in your life is the ability for all involved to respect boundaries.




The Benefits Of Making New Friends As An Adult


Making new friends as an adult offers several benefits, both emotionally and socially. These benefits I’ve put into a handy little list which you’ll find below.


Meaning and purpose

Similar to what I talked about in my article about finding purpose, you can get that sense of purpose and meaning in your life from your circle of friends, and not just from your family or work. As Stavrova and Luhmann (2016) stated, positive social relationships are an important source of meaning in life.


Enhanced wellbeing

Social connections are linked to better mental health and overall wellbeing. Thus, engaging in meaningful friendships can reduce feelings of loneliness and boost happiness (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2010).


Stress reduction

Having supportive friends can help buffer the effects of stress, as well as other negative states. According to (Seeman (1996), this is the result of a strong social support network being associated with lower cortisol levels and reduced stress responses.


Increased longevity

Studies have shown that having strong social ties can lead to a longer life span. One such study was conducted by Holt-Lunstad et al. (2010), who found that strong social connections are linked to a reduced risk of mortality in adults.


Improved coping skills

Our friends can provide emotional support during challenging times, helping us to develop better-coping mechanisms. Thus, our social support system can aid in overcoming obstacles and dealing with life’s difficulties (Cobb, 1976), which life loves to throw at us.


Expanded social circle

Making new friends as an adult allows for exposure to different perspectives and interests, broadening our social horizons and enriching life experiences (Hays, 1988). I know if it wasn’t for my partner and friends, I’d probably never do anything.


Networking opportunities

Making new friendships can create networking possibilities, both personally and professionally. The more diverse your social circle, the more doors to potential career opportunities will be open to you (Stavrova and Luhmann, 2016).


Increased empathy

Growing a more diverse group of friends can cultivate empathy and understanding for different backgrounds, leading to a more tolerant and compassionate outlook (Batson et al., 1997). I know a few people who could benefit from this.


Cognitive benefits

Social interactions stimulate the brain and have been associated with improved cognitive function and memory retention in older adults (Seeman, 1996).


Positive influence

Surrounding ourselves with supportive and positive individuals can encourage personal growth and self-improvement. Friends are also a good source of inspiration and will help motivate each other to achieve their goals (McPherson et al., 2001). We can all do with more positive influences in our lives, as our world is taken over by doomscrolling.


Increased happiness

Engaging in social activities and building friendships has been linked to increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction (Diener and Seligman, 2002).




Making New Friends As An Adult


Let’s start with some of the basics of making new friends as an adult. As mentioned at the start of the article, it’s far easier to make friends when we were children because we all found ourselves in the same position and were constantly in situations where friendships could grow. Being an adult makes it a fair bit harder.


Internal motivation

As stated in the New York Times, making new friends as an adult starts with internal motivation. You need to decide for yourself that you want to make friends, then, much like when you were a child, put yourself in situations where that can happen.



According to Laursen (2017), similarities are important in friendship formation. While we’re toddlers, this similarity is more basic and can be best seen as people who look like them. Thankfully, we become more nuanced as we grow up and can bond over similarities, such as shared interests, views, and hobbies.


Websites like Meetup.com can help with this because it allows you to find people with similar interests to you, which will make it easier to bond over that shared interest.


Connect with coworkers

Much like making friends at school, an easy way to find a new pool of friends is through work. If you have a job, try to connect with your coworkers outside of work, like suggesting going out for dinner or a drink after work sometime.


The picture is split in two, with the top image being of a two White women, one of which is putting mustard on their friends hotdog. The bottom image being of a group of Asian people sat arm in arm looking at the scenery. The two images are separated by the article title - Being A Good Friend And Making New Friends As An Adult


Attend social events

Attending events such as parties, concerts, or festivals can be another way to meet new people. Even going to the dreaded work events can help meet new people or improve your friendships with people you already know at work.



Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people, and it has the benefit of making a difference in your community. I met one of my closest friends through volunteering at a substance dependency charity.


Take classes or join a club

Joining a club or attending classes can be a great way to meet people while also having fun. Before the pandemic, I used to go ballroom dancing with my partner and we met some good people through that. My partner also attends aerial hoop class, and they’ve made some really good friends through that as well.


It’s also worth looking at your local adult education centre for classes to take where you can then meet new people with similar interests.


Join online communities

Join social media groups or online forums related to your interests. Although they may start as only an online place to connect with people, these relationships can develop to be more than that. I have a few friends that I made randomly through Facebook, who I became friends with in the real world and developed our friendships that way. But even if it stays online, those friendships can still be really good for us.




Making New Friends: What To Do Next


Now that you’ve taken steps to put yourself into situations to meet new people, now comes the next phase. Developing and maintaining those new friendships.


Being there for a friend

As I said before, don’t sacrifice your own wellbeing for others and remember to maintain healthy boundaries, but when you are able, show up for people who matter to you (Vox).


Follow up

As the New York Times pointed out, it isn’t enough to just meet people. You need to follow up. When you’ve met someone or a group of people you want to develop into a fuller friendship, then you need to put that at the top of your to-do list. If you don’t follow up with them, make new plans, and send messages, then how will the friendships develop?


Remember to reciprocate

When it comes to making new friends, now’s not the time to play coy. Take the initiative, tell people that you value them, that they’re fun to be around, and show them you’re interested in developing the friendship (Vox).



Remember, it will take time and effort to develop a friendship, and it’ll take time and effort to maintain it. But the end results speak for themselves. So remember, your friendships are with people who are your equals (Hartup, 1992), and there will be some give and take involved.



One thing I’ve noticed since moving to London is the issue of people being flaky. I know there’s a lot to do in London, as there is in any big city, but if you’re flaky, you risk ruining any potential new friendships. As my partner keeps telling me when they talk about their dad, it’s about what matters to you. If it matters, you make the time. So be realistic about your commitments with your friends and what you want to do.






Remember that making new friends and building friendships takes time and effort. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, be open to meeting new people, and take the initiative to initiate conversations or suggest activities.


Making new friends as an adult may require effort and stepping out of one’s comfort zone, but the rewards in terms of emotional wellbeing and personal growth can be significant. So, be yourself and let your personality shine through. Because you want people to be friends with the real you, not a version of you. Good luck!


As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with making new friends in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.


Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, you can make a donation of any size below. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.







Batson, C. D., O’Quin, K., Fultz, J., Vanderplas, M., & Isen, A. M. (1983). Influence of self-reported distress and empathy on egoistic versus altruistic motivation to help. Journal of personality and social psychology45(3), 706. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.45.3.706.

Cobb, S. (1976). Social support as a moderator of life stress. Psychosomatic medicine38(5), 300-314. Retrieved from https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1097/00006842-197609000-00003 and https://web.archive.org/web/20180413150124id_/https://campus.fsu.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/academic/social_sciences/sociology/Reading%20Lists/Mental%20Health%20Readings/Cobb-PsychosomaticMed-1976.pdf.

Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological science13(1), 81-84. Retrieved from https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=00cdee3fd5d851394692a36eb7a3a80b9abae64c and https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9280.00415.

Hartup, W. W. (1992). Having Friends, Making Friends, and Keeping Friends: Relationships as Educational Contexts. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED345854.pdf.

Hays, R. B. (1988). Friendship. In S. Duck, D. F. Hay, S. E. Hobfoll, W. Ickes, & B. M. Montgomery (Eds.), Handbook of personal relationships: Theory, research and interventions (pp. 391–408). John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1988-97881-021.

Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review. PLoS medicine7(7), e1000316. Retrieved from https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article/file?type=printable&id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316.

Laursen, B. (2017). Making and keeping friends: The importance of being similar. Child Development Perspectives11(4), 282-289. Retrieved from https://srcd.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/am-pdf/10.1111/cdep.12246.

McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Brashears, M. E. (2006). Social isolation in America: Changes in core discussion networks over two decades. American sociological review71(3), 353-375. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/000312240607100301 and  https://isidore.co/misc/Physics%20papers%20and%20books/Zotero/storage/M8L4EM4G/McPherson%20et%20al.%20-%202006%20-%20Social%20Isolation%20in%20America%20Changes%20in%20Core%20Discu.pdf.

Seeman, T. E. (1996). Social ties and health: The benefits of social integration. Annals of epidemiology6(5), 442-451. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8915476 and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1047279796000956.

Stavrova, O., & Luhmann, M. (2016). Social connectedness as a source and consequence of meaning in life. The Journal of Positive Psychology11(5), 470-479. Retrieved from https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Social-connectedness1.pdf.

17 thoughts on “Being A Good Friend And Making New Friends As An Adult

  1. Good tips. Making friends is definitely harder as an adult. I work in London and a lot of my colleagues have moved down from their hometowns and have to make friends again as an adult. I’m super grateful I have my girls from school still.

  2. This is a great guide for anyone who has recently moved and is looking to get connected to a new community. While it’s harder as an adult to make friends, this list breaks it down into actionable ideas.
    The follow up piece really resonated with me. And it’s now easier than ever to do that. Use your phone to jot notes or schedule reminders for follow up. One of my friends shared an app with me that I found quite helpful too! You type in notes and some info and the app will remind you to check in with them. Because, I agree, reciprocation is integral to friendship.

  3. I have struggled for a long time making friends as an adult. At a certain point I started to realize a lot of the people I was trying to befriend weren’t like minded in many ways to me. It’s hard, but when you find the people that align with your ideals and beliefs, it is so worth it.

  4. Great post. I was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery in 2022 (cancer free now). I joined a support group for my particular cancer and found quite a few friends there.

    • Thank you. When moving to somewhere new, not only do you need to make new friends, but you often lose contact with your old ones at the same time. Thanks for commenting

Leave a Reply

Skip to content