Making Friends as An Adult (In a Pandemic-and Other Times)

As summer comes to a close, it can feel like the start of a new year. Even as adults, that back-to-school feeling still seems to linger every September. Unfortunately, unlike for kids and teens starting new classes and meeting new people, the opportunity to make new friends as an adult doesn’t come so easily every September. 

In fact, once we’re out of school–where meeting new people and finding new activities is facilitated so easily–making new friends suddenly feels a whole lot harder. We aren’t wandering through the student union on our way to class anymore, we don’t have dozens of clubs asking for us to join them, we don’t have peers to get together and do homework with, etc. 

So how do you make friends as an adult?

It is especially hard right now, with all the ways COVID has changed daily life for us. Before COVID, there were probably more frequent community gatherings you could take advantage of, but now, what do we do?

Below I’ve listed out a few ways you can go about making friends and expanding your social circle as an adult in the midst of COVID 19: 

Join/host a book club: 

If you check out, you can probably find a handful of book clubs in your local area. While currently you might not be able to actually meet up as you would in “regular” times, lots of clubs have shifted to hosting their meetings virtually so that members can still get together and connect with one another throughout the pandemic. If you can’t find a club that suits what you’re looking for, consider hosting one! You don’t even have to host it on meetup–text a few friends about your idea, ask them to ask their friends, spread the word, etc. You can make a text thread or a facebook group and keep it casual, while still giving everyone the opportunity to make new friends through common interests! It doesn’t even have to be a book club. Do you like yoga? See if you can find a 30-day yoga challenge online. See if anyone you know wants to do it with you. If they do, have them ask their other friends if they want to join! Then you can have a group of people all working towards the same goal, who have each other for accountability. Check in with and encourage each other! Working toward a common goal can be a great way to initiate a new friendship. 

Enroll in a class:

There are lots of online classes you can explore, no matter what interest you have. If you’re looking to learn or practice something new, search around a bit for an online class that also offers some sort of community support–whether that’s an online forum for students to get together and give one another feedback, or a private facebook group, etc. You can search teachable or udemy or see if your local community center or college has affordable online class options! 

Make a facebook group:

Ask you friends if they’d like to make a “coping with COVID” facebook group. You can invite your friends, and have them invite anyone they think would be interested! In the group you can post about how you’re filling your time, safe activities people are getting up to, or any ideas you have for things you’d like to do when the world is safe again! This is an easy way to get to know friends of friends without having to risk anyone’s safety at a party or a gathering. 

Join local organizations or make friends at a protest: 

Not only are we in the midst of a public health crisis, but we’re also seeing one of the largest civil rights movements in our history. That means local activist organizations are needing more help from the community than ever, and that huge numbers of people are making the sacrifice to go out and protest for the safety of their neighbors in the middle of a pandemic. These things are important to get involved in, but they are also great ways to meet new, like-minded people. If social justice is an important value of yours, then you probably want friends whose values align with that! Finding locally run organizations or lending a hand at a local protest is a great way to meet these like-minded people, and getting more involved gives you the opportunity to get to know them better. 

Explore dating apps: 

Dating apps are a great way to quickly and easily connect with other people locally. Even if you’re not looking to date, there are options for you! Take Bumble–not only do they have a setting for finding people to connect with romantically, but they also have a friend or networking mode! You can switch to “Bumble BFF” or “Bumble Bizz” depending on what sort of socializing you’re looking to do! If you want to connect with other professionals, “Bumble Bizz” can help you find other business people in your area, and if you’re looking to just make new friends “Bumble BFF” is a great way to use the ease and convenience of dating apps, without having to awkwardly explain to matches that you are only looking for new friends. 

-Brice N Sanner, LMFT
-Linday N Sanner, LSCSW, RPT