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Sweet biscuit sugar plum. Halvah chocolate bar jujubes. Dragée donut candy.

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Sweet biscuit sugar plum. Halvah chocolate bar jujubes. Dragée donut candy.

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It can feel scary to admit you’re looking for friends as an adult when there is so much pressure around having really close friend groups. Whether you just moved to a new place, you work from home, or you’re feeling lonely, and you’re struggling to make a connection, know that there is nothing wrong with you, and you aren’t alone in feeling like this. Here are 5 steps to finding friends as an adult, even during a pandemic.

1. Accept and announce

A huge first step in facing any difficult situation? Self-acceptance. It can be hard to announce to yourself (let alone out loud to other people) that you’re looking for friends. The thing is, being honest about what you’re experiencing can feel freeing. Letting other people know about your struggle might even bring new opportunities to meet new people who they think you might like. Making new friends as an adult can be awkward, that’s probably a reason that so many of us choose not to do anything about it. But once you say, “Hey, I want to make friends, and I know this journey might be a bit awkward at times and that’s okay” things really do shift. So accept your needs and wants and communicate them.

2. What kind of friend are you looking for?

Think back to some of your favorite friends throughout your life. Where did you meet them? What did you do together? How long did your relationship last? We experience different types of friendships in our lives, so take time to ask yourself who you’re looking for. It might a workout buddy, a pen pal, a neighbor, or you might be looking for “the one”. Of course, you might have friends in multiple categories, but whether you’re looking for a situational friend or a lifelong companion, be clear to yourself about who you would like to include in your life.

3. Say yes

Say yes to things that in the past, you might have said no to. Look at the local events in your area (at this point in the pandemic, most in-person events are socially distanced). Look at events online, like workshops, webinars, and other community-focused experiences that are happening every day all around the world. Say yes to that ceramic class that you were too afraid to go to alone. Say yes to the coffee date that your coworker invited you to. If you’re afraid of being too vulnerable, too seen, or awkward, remember, uncomfy, awkward moments are a part of being human. There is nothing more connecting than when someone says to you, “Hey, I’m feeling pretty nervous right now”. You know that feeling! And you probably feel it too. So say yes, and see what happens.

4. Where to find your people

Think back to who you’re looking for, maybe it’s a friend to watch trash TV and drink wine with on a Friday night, or maybe it’s someone to just complain with, there is someone for you and somewhere to find them. There are so many community websites now like The Lounge, a membership platform (offering a limited time deal of $12/month) for connecting online and in-person, similar to Friend Forward, a membership for connecting with other women, and my personal favorite, Quarantine Buddy, which uses a machine-learning algorithm that strategically matches you up with someone based on a matching form, hosting free weekly virtual events like their speed friend finder event, or their women’s group. Other ways to find people online can be through social media and social media groups. Pro tip: search your favorite podcast and find their community groups – usually on Facebook. These communities are usually really welcoming spaces, plus you already have something in common! Bookclubs, volunteer opportunities, and classes at your community center are other options for in-person connection.

5. Friendship maintenance

So you’ve accepted your situation, narrowed down the relationship you’re looking for, stepped out of your comfort zone, said yes, and you actually really like this person, now what? Making friends is hard enough, maintaining them can feel even harder. Here’s the key: Follow up! So many good connections fall through the cracks because neither person communicates how they really feel, leading to both people assuming the worst. So follow up after you meet and let them know you had a good time. Letting people know you’re interested in being friends is cool. Trust me. After you hang out, keep the conversation going by mentioning something you enjoyed about them or your time together. Send them something that reminded you of them over the week, like a song, podcast, or meme. Take this friendship seriously. When you make plans, follow through.


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