How to make (and keep) friends as an adult

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As our lives become more busy and demanding, knowing how to make friends as an adult and maintaining friendships can easily drop down our list of priorities. What with juggling life and work commitments and trying to stay healthy, keeping on top of social obligations and checking in on friends can fall by the wayside. 

But if we allow this to happen, we do so at our own peril. Without a close network of friends, we miss out on a level of understanding, support and love that is difficult to find anywhere else. It’s important to keep those connections alive – they might introduce you to new adventures, interests and perspectives.

At Flash Pack, we recognise the importance of meaningful connections, especially in adulthood. That’s why we’re dedicated to creating opportunities for people in their 30s and 40s to forge lasting friendships through transformative travel experiences.  Check out our adventure trips to get inspired.

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Why adult friendships are important

When it comes to our wellbeing and happiness, our friendships can make a huge positive impact on how we live our lives, and how we feel about ourselves. Having a network of people who understand us can help with issues from mental health to dealing with our workload. Strong friendships are pretty much a prerequisite for dealing with the hardships of adult life.

One 2020 study found that people with friends and close confidants are more satisfied with their lives and also less likely to suffer from depression. Research drawing on data from 97 countries even found that friendship was more key to happiness in adults in their 30s and 40s than connections with family. 

Having a good support network can also help with your work-life balance. That might look like having a close friend within your workplace or striving to ensure you make time for friends outside of work.

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It can be hard to make friends as an adult

That said, forging and maintaining close bonds with friends isn’t as easy as it may sound, and certainly not as simple as it was in our earlier years. As we enter our 30s and 40s, different life decisions may launch the closest of pals to opposite sides of the country – or planet – or different jobs or family ties could mean that making time for each other is difficult. 

In terms of forming new friendships, while a fresh connection can be super-rewarding, social anxiety and fear of being rejected by potential new friends can hold us back. A recent study found that 45% of adults struggle to make new friends. A lot of this has to do with fewer opportunities where we are forced to be vulnerable with others and find sources of “continuous unplanned interaction”. In other words, we can be too busy and stuck in our own minds and routines to forge new connections.

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Strategies for forging adult friendships

If you’re left wondering how to make new friends as an adult, we have a few simple tips. While taking specific actions can be helpful in making new friends, above all it is your mindset that matters. You need to be open to being vulnerable putting yourself out there in social situations while also being patient in regards to other peoples’ personalities and schedules.

The power of female friendships

It’s also helpful to acknowledge that there’s something of a gender gap within the topic of enduring friendships. Finding out how to make friends as an adult woman is something that involves both a proactive mentality and ability to reach out to others. And statistics suggest that women may find this easier than men. 

Forging male friendships

Significantly, experts have found that men struggle to both make and maintain friendships. A YouGov poll also found that 18% of British men did not have a best friend, while 32% had no one they would even call a close friend. A 2021 study saw 1 in 5 men reported receiving social support from guy friends in the week prior, versus 2 in 5 women, leading to experts referring to male friendships as being “in recession”. Another poll found that more men (23%) than women (17%) say their relationships with close friends have been weakened by the pandemic.

Finding out how to make friends as an adult man is something that involves overcoming stereotypes, and fostering vulnerability in social interactions. It requires breaking down barriers and embracing the importance of emotional support and connection in male friendships. Building a network of supportive peers entails stepping out of comfort zones, actively seeking opportunities for shared experiences, and nurturing open communication channels.

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Where to make new friends as an adult

While the task can seem overwhelming, investing the time in your friendships, and making new ones, is more than worth the effort. If you’re thinking about how to make more friends as an adult, there are plenty of ways to go about it. From finding someone who shares the same interests as you to bonding over a solo travel trip, find the right activity or opportunity for you.

Picking up a new hobby

Exploring new interests – be that a sport you never tried out or a craft that makes you feel at peace – will put you in touch with others who might be reaching for the same new purpose. A friendship could well blossom as a result. 


Donating your time to a worthy cause will undoubtedly connect you with people who have the same charitable, compassionate values, and are likely to be looking for a new community themselves. It’s a win-win, helping out with a deserving campaign and meeting new people along the way. 

Solo travelling

Linking up with fellow solo travellers on a trip opens up the chance to make lasting bonds for life, sharing meaningful and unforgettable experiences in once-in-a-lifetime locations. This is particularly true if you’re sharing an adventure with small groups of people of a similar age and life stage. Whether it’s on a pre-arranged trip or you pluck up the courage to talk to a stranger when you’re travelling, you’ll be surprised what friendships you might uncover on the road.

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Joining clubs or groups

While it may seem daunting, joining communities of people who are interested in the same things as you – from political issues to a book club – will put you in a better stead for meeting people who are well-suited to friendship with you.

Attending networking events

Having a “work wife” or workplace friendship group has been proven to make your professional life better, so looking out for a potential pal at networking events is always a good plan. You’re likely to be compatible with people you find there: after all, you’re interested in the same careers and may have similar schedules. Throw in some laughs and friendship chemistry and you never know what might happen.

Nurturing and maintaining adult friendships

Of course, once you’ve found and started to build these new friendships in adulthood, nurturing and maintaining them can be challenging. It’s crucial to be flexible and understanding with communication, understanding when your friends’ routines may not align with your own – whether that’s due to childcare, differing work hours or the barriers of a long-distance friendship

If you find yourself in a different life stage or continent to your friend, remind yourself of the feel-good factor they bring to your life and be sure to build boundaries and check-in times that work for you both. Above all, you should always be coming to the friendship from a place of love and understanding – for your friend and for yourself.

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Making friends as an adult can be an adventure

While cultivating new friendships in adulthood isn’t easy, it may be the most rewarding thing you can do – it can make you feel more present and accepted, whatever interests you have or professional stage you might be at. Maintaining and nurturing these bonds can bring so much fulfilment. 

It’s never too late to seek out new connections and adventures by expanding your social sphere. Join a group solo tour with Flash Pack to meet like-minded individuals and explore the world together.

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