Humans are social beings. This means that we need people in our lives to thrive and, essentially, feel happiness. The idea that we need people for fulfillment might insult our sense of independence, but it’s no understatement.
If you’re familiar with psychologist Abraham Maslow, you might have heard of his hierarchy of needs; to achieve self-actualization or one’s fullest potential, we must satisfy our basic and psychological needs.
These include physiological, safety, esteem, and yes, you guessed it, belongingness and love needs! So, it’s true, you need me, and I need you.
We can fulfill these belongingness and love needs through the relationships we create with each other. A massive portion of our happiness stems from the friendships we gain throughout our lives.
Think back to some of your best childhood memories. I’m sure they involve friends.
But as we become adults, many of us find that the nature of our friendships changes. It becomes difficult to maintain friendships due to our careers, marriage, and kids, and sometimes we simply grow apart from those we were closest to. What’s important, though, is that we continue to establish relationships and enjoy each other’s company, but how do we do this in adulthood?
Well, here are some tips for making new friends as an adult. And to our socially anxious baddies, don’t worry, we got y’all too.
keep an open mind
The last thing you want to do is get in your head about “fitting in” and “not being cool enough.” We’re long past that age. It’s also important to check your biases.
So many of us miss out on what could be lifelong connections, just because someone doesn’t fit into a certain prototype or aesthetic. Enter your networking phase with an open mind and heart. Hold onto the idea that things will work in your favor.
just say yes
Put your shoes on and walk out the front door. Start accepting invitations because we’re all guilty of sweeping those under the rug; plus, if you were invited to an event, you’re already on your way to making a friend; someone out there wants your presence.
try something new
Sign up for that yoga class you always wanted to go to or start your Saturdays running on the beach. Whatever interests you, just try it. The cool thing about trying things you like is that whoever you meet there also likes what you like. Shared interests are a great starting point for any friendship.
This will do good for you and the cause you choose to support. Volunteering is a great way to meet people who share some of your core values, and you’ll be sure to feel a renewed sense of gratitude that you get to experience with others.
make the effort
Consider your friendships like plants; without water, they will die. Friendships require investment, but this should become effortless once you find your people.
The friendships we cultivate in adulthood will be some of our most meaningful relationships. Adulthood isn’t easy, and we need a support system (or five) and some good vibes now and then. But, despite the challenges we encounter making new friends as we age, it is well worth the effort and has a multitude of benefits.
After all, we know you’re destined for great things, and what’s better than celebrating those wins with people you cherish? So go out there and claim your besties.