Making friends as an adult can be unnecessarily hard, and however, you need to socialize and build meaningful connections with the people around you. Chronic loneliness is one of the most commonly overlooked causes of depression and mortality among adults. Yes, you read it right: Being lonely can kill.
But, for many adults, the golden age for making friends is through childhood to college years. Many adults admit they struggle to connect when they quit school. Why is making friends so complicated as a grown-up?
Unfortunately, life has taught us that we can't trust everyone. Growing older has exposed us to disappointing situations, from friends betraying us at school to students making fun of us. These experiences, while they typically affect everyone, can be difficult and transform your attitude and readiness to put your trust in new people.
Additionally, making friends is a long-term process. It doesn't happen overnight, and requires a lot of investment. When you see people at school every day, it can be easier. But as an adult, being able to spend time with the same person is not a given. So, of course, we often wonder how we can make valuable connections as adults. But, here's the key: Socializing is a skill you can learn.
Seek an environment that encourages socializing
Ultimately, modern life contributes to loneliness. Indeed, remote work arrangements are growing in popularity, helping employees manage their work/life balance through enhanced flexibility. However, many remote employees admit they feel lonely at home. Employees can feel isolated from their organization. Many also struggle to engage in meaningful social conversations with their coworkers, as their living situation can also prevent further social interactions. Gradually, adults are at risk of losing essential socializing skills for the sake of staying at home.
So, it is important to actively look at environments that bring socializing back, such as:
opting for rental apartments in places with strong community amenities, so you get to meet people when you leave home
working in companies with social events, either digital or offline, so you can make friends in a safe setting
Help prepare social events
It can be intimidating to attend social events, whether they are held at work or in your neighborhood. But if you offer to help with the preparation, such as helping clean the BBQ grill in a shared rooftop community or booking a venue for a work event, can make you feel more at ease. You also get to meet some participants early and create a connection.
Helping with preparations can be instrumental in reducing social anxiety as you get familiar with the location or the event agenda. You can also experience a sense of comforting ownership, which can help make you feel safe even though you are getting out of your comfort zone. Everybody can lend a hand, whether you choose to:
Share your photographing skills to capture memories
Help clean the venue before or after the party
Make a list of guests and special requirements, such as food allergies, etc.
Prepare a music playlist
Make party decorations
Build social media buzz with hashtags, images, and mentions
The sky is the limit, so there is more than one way to make yourself useful and ease your fears.
Socializing is a delicate balance between managing social fears and social needs. As a child, you are fearless and therefore more likely to go to people. But, as you develop social discomfort as an adult, you must learn to build new socializing opportunities!
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.