Six Ways to Make a Friend

Since the 1980s the number of Americans who say they have no one to talk to has doubled. Where and how do adults make friends?

  • Sign up for a group travel adventure: People tend to bond more easily when out of their comfort zone. The experience will provide an instant group of people with whom you share a unique memory.
  • Take a class in something you love; enthusiasm is contagious.
  • Get a dog (a pet is also good for your heart) and show up every morning at your local dog park. People love to chat about their pooches.
  • Track down old high school or college pals who live in your area, and see if old friendships can be resumed.
  • Take a fresh look at your neighbors, coworkers, classmates, fellow gym bunnies—the people you meet and greet on a regular basis. If you've been standoffish, say hello. If you've traded hellos for months, engage them in conversation.
  • Smile.

How to Rescue a Friendship

First you talked to each other every day, then once a week, then a few times a month. She got pregnant. You moved to another city. You got pregnant. She got divorced. Soon you were only speaking a few times a year. How do you rescue a friendship?

  • Make the friendship a priority. In adolescence, "hanging out" is de rigueur, and thus teenagers tend to have a lot of friends. The multiple demands of adulthood limit opportunities to connect in this informal way. If you want to revive a dying friendship, you've got to set aside the time.
  • Hug it out. Since intimacy is the keystone of friendship, tell your friend how you feel, that you miss her and don't want to let this friendship slip away.
  • The miracle of free long distance. E-mail is the obvious easy way to keep in touch, but the phone is better. Make sure your cell plan has a lot of minutes and vow to call your friend a few times a month. Put her name on speed dial, and when you arrive at an appointment 10 minutes early give her a buzz. You do call her on her birthday, right?
  • Face time. The best remedy is spending time with your friend. If the friend lives in town, arrange a standing coffee or movie date. If the friend lives out of town, make an effort to visit each other once a year or so.

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