10 Effective Ways to Make and Keep Friendships as an Adult

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As we age, the dynamics of our friendships change. The commitments of marriage, parenthood, and other life responsibilities often push our friendships to the sidelines. It’s not uncommon to find ourselves struggling to keep up with old friends or make new ones amidst the chaos of our daily lives.

However, it doesn’t have to be like that. There are effective ways to ensure that established friendships continue to be a healthy part of one’s life and ways to develop relationships with new people who cross our paths.

Both are equally important for maintaining a positive attitude to life. Having sounding boards and support systems of close confidants is an integral part of good mental and emotional health. And we all need someone we can laugh with (and at) on occasion, too. 

5 Positive Benefits of Having Friendships

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There are countless benefits to developing deeper connections that go far beyond superficial engagements and conversations. It’s important to laugh and create memories that result in an increased life span, overall better health, and warding off cognitive decline.

1. Better Mental Health

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According to Psychology Today, friendly interactions can boost feelings of well-being and decrease feelings of depression. It’s essential to build and maintain friendships for better overall mental health.

2. Improved Physical Health

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The same report indicates that friendships also improve physical health. Getting out and joining in activities increases energy levels and gets the blood pumping. Physical activities can lower blood pressure and decrease the development of cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. 

3. Decreased Risk for Dementia

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According to the NIH, staying socially connected can help slow down cognitive decline and help lessen the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s.  

4. Stronger Sense of Purpose and Belonging

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Strong relationships with others have been shown to boost self-esteem, increase feelings of fulfillment, and build lasting bonds. That can positively affect other positive health behaviors, such as eating well, being more active, and shedding those bad habits.

5. Increased Longevity

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Healthy friendships increase life spans. Harvard Health says social connections are as vital for longevity as getting enough sleep, eating well, and quitting smoking.

10 Ways to Keep and Make Friendships

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It can be tricky to keep up with and make new friendships as we age. It requires time and effort, which isn’t always readily available when already stretched thin. Here are ten suggestions to help maintain and develop the connections we need for a healthier existence.

1. Join Social Groups

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Joining a local social group that interests you, such as a book club, music group, or bike club, is a great way to meet new people with similar interests. This opens up many opportunities to make new friends with like-minded folks. 

For many, putting themselves out there can seem daunting, but the benefits that come from doing so are worth it. 

2. Develop New Hobbies

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Most people have a hobby or two as they enter adulthood that either rolls over with them or, unfortunately, gets left behind. Perhaps, you used to paint, wrote poetry, or built toy trains, but those activities have been ignored and not fostered in recent years. Now is the time to pick them back up or develop new hobbies altogether. 

By pursuing forgotten pastimes or creating new ones, you put yourself in situations that require you to interact with other individuals. Whether it be at the craft store picking up supplies or joining in group activities for your new-found interest, this is a great way to make new friends. 

3. Stay Connected

woman talking on phone.
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When it comes to maintaining established friendships, it’s essential to stay connected and engaged with your friends. Life happens, and we all know how messy and chaotic it can become, especially if you have children. However, it would help if you made an effort to stay connected.

It can be as simple as sending a text letting your friend know you’re thinking about them and want to catch up soon. If you do request a catch-up, follow up on the invite. If you don’t, the sentiment comes across as insincere and performative. Grab that cup of coffee or a quick bite. You won’t regret it. 

4. Accept and Extend Invitations

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As an extroverted introvert, it can be difficult for me to accept invitations to social gatherings sometimes. The idea of getting together sounds appealing, but when the day of the event rolls around, I often don’t want to attend because my battery is running low. 

However, this is counterintuitive to making and keeping friendships. Accepting and extending an invitation to something you’re both interested in is critical. As they say, “Friendship is a two-way street.” Canceling at the last minute or declining an invite is bad manners and can result in the other person losing interest in the friendship.

5. Enroll in Continuing Education

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Enrolling in a continuing education class is an excellent way to make new friends. Since you share interests, there’s already an established foundation of commonality. 

Learn French, pottery, or writing for beginners. You will likely find people who share your passion when the topic interests you. Local colleges, senior activity centers, and libraries often have classes you can participate in. 

6. Strike up a Conversation

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Introducing yourself to a stranger can feel awkward or intrusive, but asking questions can help break the ice. How’s that book you’re reading, or What’s in the drink you’re ordering? Listen and share in return; you might make a new friend. 

This might be easier said than done, especially if you’re not typically a social person. And that’s okay. Don’t feel obligated if striking up a random conversation with someone isn’t your cup of tea. However, many people have successfully met new friends in this manner. 

7. Volunteer

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I’ve made friends doing volunteer work, so I personally know this is a great way to meet new people and develop friendships with like-minded individuals. 

Strong connections are formed by working together in an impactful and meaningful way.  There are countless opportunities to volunteer in every community, such as a museum, local food bank, hospital, or library.

8. Join a Fitness Studio

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Joining a gym or fitness studio is another excellent way to make new friends. I have formed some of my closest friendships by meeting in a yoga class. It’s a great conversation starter, and you often see the same faces each time you take a class. 

You already have something in common, and it’s so easy to suggest grabbing a coffee or juice after your workout to ensure a deeper connection. If it’s not in your budget, cities often offer free classes in local parks, like Tai Chi classes. 

9. Don’t Put Pressure on Existing Friendships

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One thing to remember when maintaining existing friendships is not to put too much pressure on the relationships. Curb your expectations and show grace when plans fall through.

I often like to say that “expectations are premeditated resentments,” so it’s best not to get your hopes up about every planned get-together. Life happens sometimes, and disappointment will occur if there is undue pressure regarding plans or your friendships in general.  

10. Join a Community Garden

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If you love to garden and get your hands dirty, joining a local community garden is another surefire way to meet new people and form friendships. Sharing tips and tricks of the trade while you plant, maintain, and harvest vegetables and flowers can result in a deeper connection with someone with similar interests. Bonding over your love of nature and planting the seeds of friendship is a great way to meet new people and develop a lasting relationship.

14 Little Frugal Luxuries To Make Life Better

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Living on a tight budget and diligently saving money can create frugal fatigue. It’s hard to avoid spending temptations, which can lead to impulse or binge spending.

Enjoying tiny luxuries every once in a while can make sticking to your budget easier. This way, you can fatten your savings account without depriving yourself of all pleasures. These small treats feel luxurious but cost next to nothing.

12 Subtle Behaviors That Says Someone Don’t Like You

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Navigating interpersonal relationships can be complex. While verbal communication is direct, the subtleties of body language and behavior sometimes reveal more than words alone. Certain behaviors serve as subtle indicators of an underlying animosity.

Understanding subtle cues that indicate someone may harbor negative feelings towards you can be invaluable. Here are some behaviors that might suggest someone dislikes you.

  • 12 Subtle Behaviors That Says Someone Don’t Like You
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With a passion for travel, great food, and beautiful art, Julie put aside her 15-year career in the tech industry and dove head-first into a more creative sphere. Utilizing her degree in Communications, she is pursuing freelance writing. An avid traveler, Julie has experience writing and documenting the amazing spots she has visited and explored, the delicious food she has tasted, and the incredible art she has admired and purchased! When she’s not writing, she can be spotted around Austin, TX, at various art gallery openings, having a delicious meal with her husband and friends, and playing with her two dogs.

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