Cultivating Friendships as an Adult
Cultivating friendships as an adult can be challenging, especially as we become busier with work, family, and other responsibilities. However, having strong friendships can improve our mental health, reduce stress, and provide a support system during difficult times. According to research, social support can help us cope with stress, reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, and improve our immune function. Additionally, social support has been linked to better cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
One study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, found that social support can have a buffering effect on the negative health consequences of stress, and that this effect is particularly strong for individuals who are facing chronic stressors. Another study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that social support is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, particularly for individuals with lower levels of education.
However, many adults find making friends outside of work to be a challenge. 45% of American adults report they find friend-making difficult. Despite 45% of respondents believing making friends to be difficult, the same 45% reported they would “go out of their way” to make friends if they knew how to!
If you’re struggling with the friend-making process, here are three ways to get out there and meet potential friends for life.
Join a group or club
Joining a group or club that aligns with your interests is an excellent way to meet like-minded individuals and make new friends. There are countless groups and clubs that cater to a wide range of interests, from book clubs to running groups to cooking classes.
For example, if you enjoy hiking, you could join a hiking group in your area. You'll have the opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new people, and potentially form lasting friendships. Participating in group activities can also help build a sense of community and provide a sense of belonging.
Volunteering is another excellent way to make new friends. When you volunteer, you're contributing to a cause you care about and connecting with others who share similar values. Volunteering can also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, as well as opportunities to learn new skills.
For example, if you're passionate about animal welfare, you could volunteer at a local animal shelter. You'll have the opportunity to meet other animal lovers and form meaningful connections while helping animals in need. Volunteering can also be a great way to meet people who are passionate about the same causes and issues that matter to you.
Attend events and meetups
Attending events and meetups is another way to meet new people and potentially make new friends. There are many social events and gatherings that cater to a wide range of interests, from wine tastings to art exhibits to tech meetups.
For example, if you're interested in technology, you could attend a local tech meetup. You'll have the opportunity to network with other professionals in the field, learn about new technologies, and potentially form new friendships. Attending events and meetups can also provide opportunities to connect with people who share similar interests and passions.
Cultivating friendships as an adult can be challenging, but there are many ways to meet new people and potentially form lasting friendships. By taking the initiative to put yourself out there and connect with others, you can improve your mental health, reduce stress, and potentially form meaningful friendships that can last a lifetime. If you’re struggling to establish your social support system, we’re here to help equip you with tools and process the feelings along the way! Reach out to Therapy Beyond Healing today to chat with a counselor and start that social connection journey. We look forward to hearing from you!