How to make friends as a grown-up

By Kristen Roman, CBT/DBT Associates Director of the Young Adult Program


I’ve recently been talking with several friends and clients about how difficult it can be to make friends once you are out of the context of a school environment. Whether you have moved to a new city, or find that many of your friends have moved out of the city you’re in, it can be an isolating experience to try to build connections later in life. Here are a few tips to increase the likelihood of expanding your social circle:


  1. Get involved in an activity 

Whether it’s a hip-hop fitness class, volunteering at an animal shelter, a kickball team, an improv class, or a meditation studio, having an activity to bond around can make for easy friendships. Set the tone by introducing yourself to others in the first meeting, so that people know you’re interested in chatting.


  1. Make use of technology

There are a multitude of websites and apps to help facilitate connections. Check out to find a group organized around an interest of yours. Download Bumble BFF to swipe your way into new friendships. You’ve probably heard of Bumble as a dating app, but check out its other “mode” focused on friendship. Sign up for Greet to attend a coordinated hangout with others looking to make new friends. 


  1. Frequent the same places repeatedly

Studies on the mere-exposure effect (also known as the familiarity principle) tell us that the more we see people, the more we like them (how easy is that?!). Capitalize on this by becoming a regular at places in your neighborhood. For example, head to your favorite café or dog park around the same time each Saturday afternoon and see if you run into any of the same people. 


  1. Say yes to invites

We’ve all had that party invitation that we dread saying yes to because we don’t know anyone other than the host. Instead of saying no this time, commit to going and throwing yourself fully into the event See it as an opportunity to practice small talk, even if you don’t click with anyone.


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