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14 Simple Ways for Shy Adults to Make Friends

Let’s take a moment to reminisce about the uncomplicated days of childhood when forging friendships was as simple as sharing a toy or collaborating on a school project. As adults, the art of cultivating meaningful connections can feel like a more elusive pursuit.

Socializing can be intimidating, particularly for introverts or people considered “shy.” However, it is important to recognize that developing genuine connections is crucial to personal and professional growth.

Friendship not only provides us with a sense of belonging and emotional support, but it also offers numerous health benefits. Having strong social connections can lower stress levels, improve overall mood, and even increase longevity.

In response to a question posed by a member of an online community— “How can one make friends as an adult?”— fellow users have generously shared a wealth of proven strategies.

1. Finding a Hobby Based Social Group

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One effective way to make new friends as an adult is to seek out social groups centered around a particular hobby or interest. By joining such groups, you can connect with like-minded individuals who share their passion, providing a natural opportunity for friendship to develop. 

There’s no need for awkward conversations trying to figure out if you even have anything in common, you already know that this group of people likes the same hobby as you!

2. Accept Invitations

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It’s time to get outside your comfort zone and signal to others that you’re willing to make new friends. Say “yes” when someone invites you to do something. In contrast, if you find yourself declining every invitation, it’ll likely result in fewer future invitations. 

It’s hard to make friends if you’re sitting at home or always hanging out with the same person. Putting yourself out there and participating in community events can be a friend-making game-changer.

3. Work as a Volunteer

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Participating in volunteer activities related to causes you care about is a great way to provide a strong foundation for building friendships. By working alongside others who share similar values, you can bond over a common goal while also positively impacting the world. Examples might include: working at a soup kitchen, participating in a beach clean-up, or volunteering at an animal shelter.

Volunteering can also be a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and perspectives, broadening your social circle. Not only will you feel good about giving back, but you may also develop meaningful connections in the process.

4. Friends of Friends

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Friendships can be found in unexpected places. The key is to take chances and seize opportunities to meet new people through friends you already have.

Everything can change when you are introduced to the right circle of friends. And all it takes is meeting them. When you find the right people with whom you feel comfortable and share enough interests, the rapport can feel instant.

5. Befriend Your Colleagues

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While some people like to keep work and private life separate, you will most likely find like-minded people within your workplace. Plus, you’ll always have at least one thing to talk about.

Start by scheduling occasional happy hours, allowing yourself to connect with colleagues more relaxedly. With luck, these casual gatherings may eventually lead to a desire to spend time together outside of work. 

6. Refresh Old Connections

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When life gets busy, we often lose touch with people for no good reason. Reconnecting with these people years later is a great way to rebuild strong friendships. It might be surprising how much you have in common despite going separate ways.

Additionally, acquaintances from school years may become good buddies when you realize you now have more in common. Don’t be afraid to rekindle those past relationships!

7. Engage in a Conversation With Strangers

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You can expand your social circle and forge new friendships by initiating conversations and assessing compatibility. It’s also a great opportunity to practice your conversation skills until you do find someone you click with.

Don’t be afraid to talk when you’re out, whether at a coffee shop, park, or grocery store line. If that person seems like someone you’d get along with, continue the conversation. If not, cease the conversation and find another person.

8. Join a Recreational Sports League

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Joining a recreational sports league in your city can be a fantastic option if you seek opportunities to meet new people and participate in enjoyable activities. These leagues often organize regular games and matches.

While some leagues may have post-game gatherings at sponsored bars, several leagues offer a range of social events in different settings, both on and off the field.

9. Engage in Sunday School Activities

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Being active in a church community is a great opportunity to make new friends. It provides regular opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, participate in community service activities, and engage in meaningful conversations.

Many churches also have small groups or Sunday school classes focusing on specific interests or topics, making finding common ground with others easier.

10. Connect With Other Parents

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One effective way to expand your social circle as a parent is by connecting with other parents. Engaging with other parents creates a common ground for shared experiences and mutual support, whether through school activities, extracurricular events, or playdates.

It’s also an opportunity to meet other adults who share similar values and priorities, providing the potential for long-lasting friendships. If your kids get along, this is just icing on the cake so you have even more excuses to get together for play dates.

11. Nurture Your Current Friendships

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Don’t forget about the people you are already close to and nurture them. Focusing on quality friendships over quantity is a reality for many adults and can be much more satisfactory.

Schedule regular catch-up dates with your friends to stay connected, and remember that friendships require effort and investment on both sides. By prioritizing and nurturing these relationships, you can create a strong support system of trusted friends who will be there for you through thick and thin.

12. Don’t Forget Family

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Especially as we get older, our parents, siblings, and their partners and friends can be some of the best friends around. Don’t take for granted those built-in friendships.

Make time for family outings and activities; you may be surprised at how much fun you have together. Additionally, spending time with extended family can lead to meeting new people through their connections or events they invite you to. Don’t underestimate the power of family when it comes to expanding your social circle.

13. Be Approachable

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In social situations, we might unintentionally look nervous and unapproachable. Don’t forget to look inviting with eye contact, smiling, etc. No one wants to befriend the grump giving a stink eye.

Being approachable not only makes it easier for others to strike up a conversation with you but also demonstrates that you are open to building new connections. This can be especially helpful in settings where you may not know anyone, such as at a networking event or social gathering.

14. Networking Events

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Attend networking events related to your profession or industry to connect with others in your field. You’ll have plenty in common to chat about! Additionally, networking events can be a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and industries, expanding your potential network and social circle.

Don’t limit yourself to just professional conversations; try to get to know others on a personal level as well. You never know who you may click with and form a genuine friendship.


14 Unexpected Reasons That No One Is Inviting You to Hang Out

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Are you feeling left out of social gatherings? It happens to the best of us. In this article, we will explore 14 common factors that might be contributing to your social drought and offer solutions that can help you bridge the gap and reconnect with your circle.

14 Unexpected Reasons That No One Is Inviting You to Hang Out

61 Growth Mindset Quotes to Live By

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Our mindset plays a crucial role in how we see ourselves and other people around us. It also shapes our beliefs regarding whether we can accomplish certain things in our lives. This is why it matters which mindset we have.

61 Growth Mindset Quotes to Live By

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