Why do we find making new friends so hard as adults? - Deepstash

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The challenge of friendship

The challenge of friendship

If you've ever tried to make new friends as an adult, you'll probably see why loneliness is at an all-time high: making, developing, and maintaining friendships can be much more difficult than it used to be.

And that was before the pandemic made it much harder for us to see our friends.


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Lack of trust

When researchers interviewed adults about making friends in a recent study, the most important challenge cited was a lack of trust. That is, people found it harder to put their trust in someone new and fully invest in them as a friend compared to when they were younger.

Perhaps that’s why many people try to keep their circle of old friends as long as possible, given the trust they may have built up over many years.

If we’ve had previous rejections as friends or suffered a breach of trust, we may find it harder to be trusting of others in the future. To trust a new friend means opening ourselves up and being vulnerable, just as we do in relationships.


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Friendships need time

“Lack of time” was the second-most common reason people gave after “lack of trust” when asked why they found it hard to make friends as adults.

When we have demanding work schedules, very involved family lives, or a combination of the two, our time for investing in friendships drops. Even when we meet a promising new friend, it can be hard to carve out time to invest in it. This is a bigger problem for older adults, given most people find their obligations increase with age.


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Get better at making friends as adults

Get better at making friends as adults

  • Build friendships for ten minutes a day. If you put in ten minutes a day, you can maintain existing friendships and build new ones. Send a text, forward a meme, add to the group chat or give someone a quick call.
  • When you do get to properly spend time with a friend or acquaintance, make the most of it. Avoid distractions if possible, keep Instagram for the couch at home, and be present with your new friend.
  • Lean into your vulnerability. If you struggle with trust, consider sharing personal information slowly, rather than all at once.


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