10 Tips to Making New Friends (As An Adult)

BY Cheng Ma

Ok, so you are no longer a child, but making friends is still really REALLY tough. 

Luckily we are here to help with a not so subtle guide to making, and maybe even keeping, new friends at uni. 

It’s Okay to Feel Nervous 

What you are feeling right now is perfectly normal. It’s typical to feel anxious when you are starting something new or when you are entering a new environment for the first time and aren’t sure if people will accept you for who you are.  

Once you have acknowledged that it’s normal, how are you going to approach these feelings? Will you embrace it, or will you shy away from other people because of it?  

Just remember that these feelings of nerves will be ever-present wherever you go, with the important factor being your attitude and approach towards the feelings. 

Others are Nervous Too 

Your university peers will also be feeling nervous as well and are probably more preoccupied with whatever is on their mind than to critique anything you are worried or self-conscious about. Remember that you are your worst critic, and even if you act awkwardly or say something uncool during your interactions with others, stop obsessing about the things that have happened and continue to live in the moment. 

Spend Time Doing Things You Are Interested In 

Join a uni club, volunteer or try new activities that you are interested in. This is a great way to make friends because you and your peers participating in the shared activity will already have one thing in common that you can converse on. Not to mention, the regular meetups because of the activity will ensure that you remain in contact long enough to become friends. 

People are more likely to trust those that are authentic and easily embarrassed 

We are not saying that you should go and publicly humiliate yourself, but people tend to trust those that are authentic and willing to embrace their embarrassing moments. What this means is that it’s okay to be yourself and make mistakes and sometimes be in an embarrassing situation.  

Friendships Aren’t Formed Overnight 

No matter how smooth of a talker you are, friendships aren’t formed overnight. Trust, which is a foundation of friendship, is built over time and via experiences shared together.  

To put numbers to how long it takes to become friends: 

  • The average adult needs to spend 50 hours of time with a person to consider them a casual friend. 

  • 90 hours are spent before you become real friends. 

  • 200 hours spent together to become close friends. 

Talk to people in class and take an interest in other people 

It’s very easy to become engrossed in the uni course content and to isolate yourself from others, but did you know that talking to new people in class and taking an interest in them means a higher chance of making new friends? (Really obvious right?). First years tend to be better at this than upper years partially because of the increased work load in higher years.  

Smile (it's free)

Smiling is proven to put you in a better mood making you appear more sociable with others. By smiling you come across as a more open individual to conversing and people will be more likely to communicate with you. So, smile more and spread that warmth of yours! 

Detach your self-worth from the outcome of your meetings with others 

Your self-worth should not be determined by your interactions with others, although this may be very hard. Talking to new people is like rolling a die, sometimes it won’t work out and it’s usually nothing personal. However, you’ll hit jackpot eventually and meet someone that you will become close friends with somewhere down the track! 

Listen (it's also free) 

People love to talk about themselves, and people will become more receptive to someone that appears more open to their ideas and perspectives. Not telling someone about how awesome you are will be hard, but perhaps others may have some interesting things to say as well! 

Make Friends through other Friends 

If making friends solo is just too difficult, buddy up with one of your social butterfly friends and ask them to introduce you to their friends. They will be more than happy to do so, as they are helping you out. In most scenarios, they are generally likely to adopt a positive attitude to merging a few of their social circles to help a pal out.

OK, SO! At the end of all of that, remember that you have in fact, GOT THIS!