It’s National Best Friend Day! This is one of my favourite days because I have some of the best friends in the whole wide world. But it wasn’t always that way! Making friends can be tricky, especially as an adult, so I want to offer up some advice on how to make new friends as an adult!
Being an only child, I’ve always always always wanted sisters, and at some point in my life I just decided that my besties would be my sisters. I truly treasure my friendships and make them a high priority. I didn’t always have this circle of sisters, in fact I struggled to make long lasting friendships in high school. Although I had a lot of friends, none were truly my soul sisters. Luckily that all changed when I went to college and made some of the best friends a girl could ever imagine! We did everything together!
After college we all went our separate ways for a bit, but then somehow we all ended up in the same city within a 1-mile radius of one another! Now, we are all married and whether they liked it our not, our husbands are super close too 😉. We hang out almost every weekend, do exercise classes together, go shopping together, meet for dinner, and even go on vacations together.
We are truly a friend family.
Moving Away From the friend fam
We thought it would be this way forever, but about a year ago, my husband got a job in Chicago and we had to move away from Cincinnati. This meant relocating from both our family-family and our friend family, which was not easy. We tried to see the silver lining that Chicago and Cincinnati are only a 5 hour drive apart. We didn’t think this would be a huge deal, but it has definitely been a lot harder to cope with than we originally suspected. I miss that friend family dynamic more than I could possibly explain!
One thing you never really think about as you go through life is how to make new friends as an adult. Typically, you grow up with people who stick around forever; you meet people at school, your job, or church. But those relationships tend to have developed at a younger age. So when we found ourselves in a new city where we knew absolutely no one we of course wanted to make new friends – and boy has that been tricky!
At this age (30 something) most people have their crew and they aren’t really looking to broaden that circle. I completely get that because that’s exactly how we were back in Cincinnati, but it’s really hard to cope with as an outsider. A year and a half in to our Chicago experience and we are only just now starting to form stronger bonds.
I always joke that it’s almost like dating! I went out to dinner with a few girls on separate occasions and we just did not click, we had nothing in common! So I chose not to invest my time and energy in those relationships just like I would have done if it were a romantic interest. Always be protective of your time and your energy and don’t apologize for it!
Eventually, we have navigated this “will you be my friend” landscape at the ripe old age of 30 😉 So I wanted to share my tips and tricks on how to make new friends as an adult should you ever find yourself in a similar situation one day…
7 Tips for making new friends when you're new in town
- Put yourself out there. Don’t wait for an amazing new group of girls (or guys) to seek you out because you’ll be waiting forever. Like I mentioned, most of us already have our circle of besties and aren’t necessarily looking to expand. Go to the block party where you don’t know anyone, find a Meetup group you’re interested in and don’t flake out on it!, mention a team happy hour at your office. Be brave and take initative.
- Keep an open mind. Your new group of besties might look completely different from your group back home – and that actually makes a lot of sense! Most of us have had our besties for AGES and when we met we were probably one person that we might not be now. It’s natural to grow and evolve, but that original group of besties grew and evolved with you. This new group did not, so you’re starting fresh. Be open to befriending people with a different outlook on the world – who knows, you might learn something!
- Take an interest. If there’s someone at your office or in your neighbourhood that you find intriguing then be sure to take an active interest in their life. Whenever you see them, ask them about themselves, and the next time you see them be sure to reference those tidbits of information that you’d already learned. It shows that you care and grows a thread of trust, which as we know is the foundation of any relationship.
- Be selective. (But didn’t you just say to keep an open mind?!) What I mean is that if you have literally nothing to talk about, if you are the only one carrying the conversation or trying to hang out, then that tells you something about the future of this “friendship”. You wouldn’t want a romantic interest to make you do all the work; so don’t let a potential friend treat you that way just because you’re lonely.
- Stay attentive and in touch. Don’t just hang out once and then wait forever to make another plan. Keep the momentum going! If you find a funny meme or a pretty dress that your potential new friend might be interested in – send it! Once again, this goes along with taking an interest. It shows you care and that you’re truly invested, which is important because people’s time is precious.
- Don’t give up or get down on yourself. It’s not like everyone has a million besties and it’s not like those deep, meaningful relationships happened over night. They took time to develop and flourish. So if you don’t have 5 new best friends in the first month of living somewhere new THAT’S OKAY! You’re not weird or unlikeable it just takes time.
- Don’t go home every weekend. This sounds pretty obvious, but it really wasn’t for me at first. I missed my best friends in Cincinnati so much that I drove home almost every weekend to be with them. Well, how was I supposed to make new and meaningful relationships if I was never in Chicago to meet anyone?! I’m not saying NEVER go home, but just space it out. Your besties back home will never forget you and you will never mean less to them just because you’re in a different state. They will understand and even encourage you to try to lay down some roots. Also, when they come to visit you it’ll be much more fun when you have new people to introduce them to!
P.S. Since you’re here and we’re basically besties 😉 I’m sure you love style! Check out my post on Must-Have Summer Style at Target!