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Alcohol and Mental Health

How To Make (and Keep) Friends as an Adult

Published:
July 13, 2023
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8 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 13, 2023
·
8 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 13, 2023
·
8 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 13, 2023
·
8 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Reframe Content Team
July 13, 2023
·
8 min read

As we navigate the unending list of challenges of adulthood, our social circles often seem to shrink faster than our favorite jeans after a tumble in the dryer. As we juggling careers, family life, and personal pursuits, it can feel like there's barely time to breathe, let alone forge new friendships or nurture existing ones. But fear not! Just as those jeans can be stretched back into shape, so too can your social life. Here are nine simple steps you can take to improve your relationships now — your ultimate guide to making and keeping friends as an adult.

1. Embrace Openness and Approachability

The first step on your friendship journey is to become a beacon of openness and approachability. Think of yourself as a human welcome sign, inviting others to step into your world. A warm smile, direct eye contact, and genuine interest in others can be as inviting as a freshly baked batch of cookies. Remember, it's not about showing off your latest accomplishments or your shiny new car, but about connecting heart-to-heart.

2. Dive Into Social Activities

Next, step out of your comfort zone and dive headfirst into social activities that suit your interests. Whether it's a book club, a Zumba class, a cooking group, or a volunteer organization, these environments are ripe for friendship formation. Joining a hiking group, for example, not only gets you out in the fresh air but also offers countless opportunities to bond with fellow nature-lovers.

3. Be the Friendship Trailblazer

In the world of adult friendships, waiting for others to make the first move can often leave you stranded. So, be the trailblazer! If you meet someone who sparks your interest, seize the opportunity and suggest a coffee date, a leisurely walk, or a casual get-together. Think of it as inviting them to join you on a mini-adventure — and who could resist that?

4. Become a Listening Superstar

Listening is a superpower in the realm of friendships. When someone shares their thoughts, feelings, or experiences, show them you're genuinely interested. Resist the urge to interrupt or steer the conversation back to yourself. People who feel heard and validated are more likely to trust us and want to open up to us.

5. Be the Friend Who's Always There

Reliability is the sturdy foundation upon which friendships are built. If you make plans, stick to them unless there’s an emergency and you can’t follow-through. If you promise to do something, honor your commitments. Being consistent and showing up will make it more likely that others will want to spend time with us and get to know us better.

6. Keep the Friendship Flame Alive

Keeping the friendship flame alive requires regular contact. This doesn't mean you need to chat every day or meet up every week. But a simple text message, email, or phone call can be like a spark that keeps the friendship fire burning brightly. Showing you care can go a long way!

7. Practice the Art of Patience

Friendships are like fine wine; they need time to mature. So, practice the art of patience. Don't rush the process or try to force intimacy. It's like planting a seed and waiting for it to grow, knowing that with time and care, it will blossom into something beautiful.

8. Be Unapologetically You

Authenticity is the secret ingredient that makes friendships truly satisfying. Pretending to be someone else is like wearing a mask — it's uncomfortable and people can see right through it. By being yourself, you attract people who appreciate the real you, leading to more fulfilling friendships.

9. Foster Friendships Sans Alcohol

Finally, in a society where socializing often revolves around alcohol, it's important to remember that meaningful connections can be made without it. Opt for activities that don't involve alcohol, like coffee dates, outdoor adventures, or hobby clubs. These environments allow for genuine connections based on shared interests, not just shared drinks.

Making and keeping friends as an adult might require a bit more effort and intentionality than in our carefree younger years. But the rewards — a robust social network, a shoulder to lean on, a partner in crime for life's adventures — are worth their weight in gold.

So, step out of your comfort zone, seize the initiative, and start cultivating those friendships today. Remember, it's never too late to make a new friend. After all, every friend was once a stranger. So, get out there and start turning those strangers into friends!

As we navigate the unending list of challenges of adulthood, our social circles often seem to shrink faster than our favorite jeans after a tumble in the dryer. As we juggling careers, family life, and personal pursuits, it can feel like there's barely time to breathe, let alone forge new friendships or nurture existing ones. But fear not! Just as those jeans can be stretched back into shape, so too can your social life. Here are nine simple steps you can take to improve your relationships now — your ultimate guide to making and keeping friends as an adult.

1. Embrace Openness and Approachability

The first step on your friendship journey is to become a beacon of openness and approachability. Think of yourself as a human welcome sign, inviting others to step into your world. A warm smile, direct eye contact, and genuine interest in others can be as inviting as a freshly baked batch of cookies. Remember, it's not about showing off your latest accomplishments or your shiny new car, but about connecting heart-to-heart.

2. Dive Into Social Activities

Next, step out of your comfort zone and dive headfirst into social activities that suit your interests. Whether it's a book club, a Zumba class, a cooking group, or a volunteer organization, these environments are ripe for friendship formation. Joining a hiking group, for example, not only gets you out in the fresh air but also offers countless opportunities to bond with fellow nature-lovers.

3. Be the Friendship Trailblazer

In the world of adult friendships, waiting for others to make the first move can often leave you stranded. So, be the trailblazer! If you meet someone who sparks your interest, seize the opportunity and suggest a coffee date, a leisurely walk, or a casual get-together. Think of it as inviting them to join you on a mini-adventure — and who could resist that?

4. Become a Listening Superstar

Listening is a superpower in the realm of friendships. When someone shares their thoughts, feelings, or experiences, show them you're genuinely interested. Resist the urge to interrupt or steer the conversation back to yourself. People who feel heard and validated are more likely to trust us and want to open up to us.

5. Be the Friend Who's Always There

Reliability is the sturdy foundation upon which friendships are built. If you make plans, stick to them unless there’s an emergency and you can’t follow-through. If you promise to do something, honor your commitments. Being consistent and showing up will make it more likely that others will want to spend time with us and get to know us better.

6. Keep the Friendship Flame Alive

Keeping the friendship flame alive requires regular contact. This doesn't mean you need to chat every day or meet up every week. But a simple text message, email, or phone call can be like a spark that keeps the friendship fire burning brightly. Showing you care can go a long way!

7. Practice the Art of Patience

Friendships are like fine wine; they need time to mature. So, practice the art of patience. Don't rush the process or try to force intimacy. It's like planting a seed and waiting for it to grow, knowing that with time and care, it will blossom into something beautiful.

8. Be Unapologetically You

Authenticity is the secret ingredient that makes friendships truly satisfying. Pretending to be someone else is like wearing a mask — it's uncomfortable and people can see right through it. By being yourself, you attract people who appreciate the real you, leading to more fulfilling friendships.

9. Foster Friendships Sans Alcohol

Finally, in a society where socializing often revolves around alcohol, it's important to remember that meaningful connections can be made without it. Opt for activities that don't involve alcohol, like coffee dates, outdoor adventures, or hobby clubs. These environments allow for genuine connections based on shared interests, not just shared drinks.

Making and keeping friends as an adult might require a bit more effort and intentionality than in our carefree younger years. But the rewards — a robust social network, a shoulder to lean on, a partner in crime for life's adventures — are worth their weight in gold.

So, step out of your comfort zone, seize the initiative, and start cultivating those friendships today. Remember, it's never too late to make a new friend. After all, every friend was once a stranger. So, get out there and start turning those strangers into friends!

Build Better Drinking Habits (and Make New Friends!) With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet hundreds of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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