“It’s hard to make friends as an adult” is something I used to hear quite a bit and, worse, I believed it. Full stop. Believing nonsense like that is exactly what makes it true. It is NOT hard to make friends as an adult. Getting out of our own heads and off our phones is the hard part, but once we do, the making friends part… well, it’s actually quite friendly!
In case you’ve been told this and believed it, here are my top tips for making pals and biz besties in your community.
KNOW THAT NO ONE IS LOOKING AT YOU // I’ve talked myself out of a lot of opportunities in the past, especially networking events, but finally I realized this: everyone is too busy caring about who’s looking at them to worry over looking at you! Pay attention next time you go out and you’ll notice there are ones that want everyone to look at them, ones that prefer to go unnoticed, and there will be a few that have figured this out. It’s a freeing thought to know no one really cares what your hair looks like or what shoes you’re wearing.
SHOW UP // Go places. Actually show up in the coffee shops, community events, or even online groups where like-minded people frequent. If it’s easier to hang out in a Facebook group or share likes on Instagram, that’s a start. Then get out of the house and go to that event you’ve been thinking about. Just show up!
SMILE // I’ve always been a generally happy person. In middle school I was even voted “best smile.” In my anxiety ridden high school cafeteria days, however, I went into shrink mode. It was only years later that a friend told me he thought I was a total B for the longest time because he never saw me smile in the lunchroom. Yikes! Don’t be that girl. Smile to brighten someone’s day. Smile to maybe make a friend. And definitely smile so you don’t get tossed in the B-word bucket!
SAY SOMETHING // A simple “Hi” often works well. And a compliment can be a great conversation starter. Follow it with a question and you’ll make your friend-to-be feel good about themselves while serving the verbal ball into their court. Good job!
MAKE PLANS // So you’ve made a friend and, presumably, you want to keep them. Make plans to meet again. We all get busy and weeks later realize how time really does fly. So be sure to follow up and set a date to grab coffee or attend a local event. No “someday soon” chatter. Actually, put pen to calendar and set a date. You’re welcome.