Six Ways to Make a Friend

The older we get, the harder it is to make new friends. How to bond with fresh faces.

By Karen Karbo, published on November 1, 2006 - last reviewed on October 3, 2014

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.