How do adults make friends?

A letter writer wants to expand her social circle beyond her boyfriend and her coworkers.

From online groups to meeting her boyfriend’s friends, our elder has some ideas of where to start.


Dear EWC

How do adults make friends? I’m 19 and can’t seem to meet anyone. I dropped out of high school in 2016 to go to college early. I ended up moving on from college after a couple years and have just been working full time instead. Since 2016 I’ve had multiple full-time jobs at the same time and bought a house that I’m focused on now. I grew up in an extremely harmful household that has affected my ability to be social or enjoy most of anything (diagnosed PTSD, anxiety, and an unspecified depressive disorder). I only ever talk to my boyfriend and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that even though he is my only friend, I’m not his only friend. It’s been hard for me to let him hang out with other people knowing I’ll just be sitting home alone. It’s starting to put a wrench in our relationship but he is truly the only person that ever talks to me besides talking to my coworkers at work. What should I do?


Paul-Dad replies

I read your letter and thought, wow, what an awesome young woman! She’s only 19 and she’s already had some college, has worked at several jobs, has a boyfriend, and owns a house! Few people have accomplishments like that at 25, 30, or even 40. You’re a very special and accomplished person. 

I’m an elder, but I’m like you. I’ve never found it easy to make friends, and I’ve had relatively few close friends in my entire life. I believe that making friends is a special gift or talent that some have, and some don’t. I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ll never have a lot of friends, but I’ve also been honest with myself in that I’m comfortable with my own company. I also have been fortunate to have a wife of 42 years who has been my best friend. 

You implied that your boyfriend has friends. Do you know them? Can you ask to meet them? If your boyfriend’s friends have dates, relationships, or wives, could you ask to do things as couples? The women in his friend’s lives would be great potential friends for you. 

Do you have hobbies, interests, sports, workouts, clubs, collections, religious or political leanings? Could you join like-minded groups online, or (as the pandemic permits) in person? People with similar interests or beliefs are naturally prone to be candidates for friendship. 

Might you find charitable work to participate in? You may find friendship with other volunteers; plus, the assistance you provide will warm your heart and boost your self-esteem. If you want to do charitable work, be prepared to shop around. You may have to visit several possibilities before you find one that’s right for you. That’s what happened to me. 

Family members are often friends as well. Do you have sisters, cousins, aunts, nieces, or other family members who you could try to spend more time with and get to know better?

I hope this might help. Keep doing what you’re doing. Be patient. I know you will do well. 

Article #: 479569

Category: Friendship

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