Why It Is So Hard to Make Friends as an Adult

Without a doubt, the pandemic was a major roadblock in maintaining old friendships and developing new ones. Although as an adult in general, it feels like it’s way harder to make friends now compared to when we were younger. There’s research to prove that there’s some truth to this.

  • According to sociologists, there are certain “ingredients” that need to be in place for us to make friends organically: continuous unplanned interaction and shared vulnerability. But once we're adults, we find ourselves naturally in fewer situations that involve these friendship-making ingredients.
  • There’s also a specific number of hours required to develop a friendship. Research shows it takes 50 hours on average to make a casual friend and up to 200 hours to develop a close friendship. When you’re a working adult with a full-time job and tons of other responsibilities… making a new friend on that kind of schedule isn’t always a realistic endeavor.

However, that isn’t the end-all-be-all. It is still possible to make friends as an adult, in fact, it’s beneficial for us. Friends also help us stay resilient, open-minded, and effectively smarter as we age. We just have to approach it differently from how we did when we were kids. Making friends doesn’t come as effortlessly as it used to. It requires a little planning and some courage.

  • Make an effort to organize group activities with people in your circle.
  • Get over the initial fear of reaching out. Chances are, no one is going to say “eh, actually I don’t think I want to be your friend” like they used to in middle school.


Photo: Getty Images

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