You probably made your first friends accidentally. Your parents took you to play with their friends’ children, and you became friends through proximity. And once you started going to school, it was even easier! Most children either become friends with their classmates, or just amble up to other kids during break and utter those magic words, “Do you want to be friends?” In high school, you tend to be pickier when making friends, choosing to spend time with people who have similar hobbies and interests to you — and university is more of the same.
But what do you do after uni or school? You may be lucky enough to stay in the same area as your already established friends, but many people move away after uni, leaving you to be Nellie-no-friends. I was lucky enough to meet my best friend at one of the jobs I had during university, but not everyone is so lucky. Making friends once you’ve started seriously considering using an anti-aging cream is hard.
How do you go about making friends as an adult?
The easiest way to make friends as an adult is to forge bonds with your coworkers — that is, if you’re lucky enough to work with interesting people. Luckily our office is filled with a great group of people with interesting personalities and stories, and we have a fun office culture to boot. It’s not hard making friends when you regularly go out for after work drinks or team activities! If you’re one of the unlucky ones who works in an office with people from a different generation, or who you just can’t seem to connect with, there are a few other ways to make friends though.
Get out of your comfort zone
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As an introvert, I rarely leave my comfort zone — it’s called a comfort zone for a reason, after all. But in order to make new friends, I’ve had to step out of my routine a little bit. You can’t meet new friends if you keep going to the same places and seeing the same people! I always used to just go to work, do my job and go straight home to Netflix and my bed, but recently I started mixing it up a bit. I’ve started saying “yes” to more invites, which has lead to me meeting a few new people. I’ve said “yes” to going out with a friend’s colleagues who I’d never met, I said “yes” to going to games night with my boyfriend and his friends, and I’ve said “yes” to impromptu get-togethers with acquaintances and people I don’t know that well.
Of course, not everyone is going to ask you to spend time with them, so sometimes you’ll have to take the first step and ask those difficult questions to people you might not know that well, like “do you want to grab a drink?” How else are you supposed to get to know someone better?
If you’re too shy to take the plunge meeting brand new people, why not reconnect with old friends? I saw an old friend at a braai recently, and (after a few drinks, TBH) I went up to her and asked her if we could be friends again. And surprisingly enough, she said yes! Neither of us could remember why we stopped being friends in the first place, so why not pick back up where we left off?
Find your hobbies
My boyfriend has always told me that I need to get a hobby, to which I’ve always told him that I’m perfectly happy spending my free time reading on my own, or trying out new things in the kitchen. What I didn’t understand was that my current pastimes technically fall under hobbies, I just choose to do them alone. So, now I’ve found myself looking for a book club close to home, and I have started considering going for cooking classes once I can afford it, because meeting someone doing something you both love is the perfect way to fast-track a friendship!
Apps are the future
I tried out both these apps, and I have to say, I’m loving them so far! Both work similar to Tinder, where you swipe left or right depending on whether you want to connect with the person or not. Both apps allow you to customise your profile with your preferences, and hey! VINA even has fun quizzes to help you expand your profile. They also allow you to join communities, such as foodies, working moms, literature lovers and more, to help you meet up with like-minded people.
I’ve decided to channel my inner millennial and keep swiping for friends, but in the meantime, you’ll catch me outside my comfort zone, at a cooking class, or maybe even a bookclub (if I can find one)!
Anyone want to start a bookclub with me? Let me know in the comments!