Even though people don’t often think it, learning how to make friends is just as important, if not more important than learning how to date.

You know the expression “boys come and go but friends are forever?” No matter who you’re attracted to, it’s been shown that friendships statistically last longer than relationships. As cynical as it sounds, break-ups can happen, partners can cheat. So having those loyal, strong connections can really make a difference in the long run.

There are lots of positives to having friends around. They can help give you a sense of belonging, support you through tough times, and lessen loneliness and stress. Plus, when you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, making friends and creating your chosen family is a must.

But despite all the benefits, a lot of people don’t really know how to make friends as an adult. How do you meet people? Where do you start? Before we jump into how to make friends, why the heck is it so hard to make friends when you’re an adult?

how to make friends: two people sitting on hood of a car

Why is it hard to make friends in adulthood?

So why exactly is it so hard to make friends as an adult?

When you’re a kid, making friends sure is easy. You’re meeting kids all the time – in school, at camp, at soccer practice, at dance class. Back then, you could just go up to a kid and say hi. It wasn’t weird. It wasn’t awkward. Well…sometimes it was, but nothing compared to now.

As an adult though, making friends is so hard. And when you’re an introvert? Even harder. You actively have to seek out friendships. Not only that, but as life gets busy and you’re not seeing these friends as much, you have to put more effort into building and maintaining friendships.

The struggle is real. So here is your ultimate guide on how to make friends in your 20s.

How to make friends as an adult:

Put that effort in

As amazing as it would be to automatically have a solid group of friends without doing any work, it sadly doesn’t work like that. If you’re wanting to both make and keep friendships, you have to put that work in. Make the first move, send them a text, ask them if they want to hang out.

Take those acquaintances to the next level

Maybe it’s a friend of a friend. Or a co-worker. Or someone you met once and follow on Instagram. Find those acquaintances and work on deepening those connections. You never know when an acquaintance might turn into something more.

Join online groups

If you’re an introvert and are looking to make some friends, sometimes starting online is a good place to start. From Facebook groups to Discord servers, there are lots of virtual spaces where you can meet and chat with people who have the same interests as you.

Try friend dating

Who says dating apps are just for dating? By changing your interests to “friends” on apps like HER or using Bumble BFF, you can start connecting with people platonically. As introverts prefer connecting with people 1-on-1, friend dating is a fun way to do that. When you feel ready, take your friendship offline and go on a friend date.

Join activities

Take a pottery class, join an intramural basketball team, volunteer for a cause you care about, sign up for a book club, whatever you like. Taking up a hobby you enjoy is an easy way to have fun and make friends as you already have something in common and things to talk about right from the get-go.

Attend events

Another great way to make friends is to check out events in your area that you’re interested in. From salsa dance sessions to bar trivia nights, going to events is a great way to meet new people. Plus, the events are usually free or at least pretty cheap. If you’re not sure where to find events, check out Meetup, Eventbrite and Facebook.

Say yes to things

Okay when your Friday night plans consist of a movie marathon and yummy snacks, the last thing you want to do is get dressed up and go to that last-minute thing your friend invited you to. And you know what? Totally fair. Nothing beats Netflix. However, whether it’s a friend’s party or a weekend getaway, do try to say yes sometimes. Best case? You have a great time. Worse case, you leave early and finish your movie marathon.

Keep connected

With school, work, family stuff and everything in between, it’s easy to forget about friendships. So try your best to keep in touch with friends. You don’t need to send them massive paragraph texts every morning. Just a little text here and there will do.

Commit to being social once a week

After a long week, the last thing you probably want to do is socialize. So no matter if it’s attending a fun event or grabbing coffee with a friend, pick a day every week and commit to doing something social on that day.

Final thoughts on how to make friends as an adult

Learning how to make friends as an adult is hard. With these strategies though, you can build quality connections and long-lasting friendships.