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Three Not Scary Ways to Make Friends As an Adult

Three Not Scary Ways to Make Friends As an Adult

I did it. I made the move to a new city. The hard part is over — wasn’t it?

That’s what I told myself when I moved halfway across the country on my own last year. I thought getting there was going to be the most difficult part, but after the boxes were unpacked and I figured out how to get to the grocery store without using Google Maps, I realized there was a big part of my journey that was going to be more difficult than I realized: making friends.

I figured I could make new friends easily. After all, I’d done it before in college. I met people in class, at church, at the coffee shop who became close friends. Sure, there were some awkward conversations at first. But it wasn’t scary, and I was comforted by the fact that they were in the same season of life.

But things are a little different post-college. There isn’t a core spot to meet people in the city. There aren’t intramural teams looking for new players. Even at church, joining a small group can feel like a guessing game because you may end up being the only person in your group who is new to the area.

For the first few weeks living in Nashville, I let these worries and fears keep me isolated. I stayed in the comfort of my new apartment because I wasn’t ready to put in the effort and find friendships. After a while, I noticed that all that isolation was affecting my mental health. I was more anxious, more exhausted, more unsure of myself and my choices. I knew something had to change, and that something was community.

Maybe you’re feeling the same way. You’re ready to put yourself out there and find genuine friendships. But where do you start? Experts will tell you a million different ways that are easy to accomplish if you’re an extrovert with no social anxiety. But for my fellow introverts, the thought of signing up for a sports league or cooking class all on your own is anxiety-inducing. Surely there has to be a way to make friends without feeling like you’re on the verge of a panic attack, right?

The answer to that question is yes, there are actually a few different things to try. You can step out of your comfort zone without breaking a sweat. Here’s how:

Download the apps

Hear me out: You probably know there are dozens of dating apps out there that will help you find a romantic partner. But did you know there are also apps that help you find a friend? Platforms like Bumble BFF or Meetup allow you to create a friendship profile to match with people who share your interests or are in a similar stage of life.

Much like the dating apps, you have control over who you want to be friends with, and more importantly who you don’t want to be friends with. The profiles are a great way to see if you have common interests or goals while providing a safe way to interact with them. Just remember to exercise caution and discernment when interacting online, and prioritize face-to-face interactions whenever possible to deepen connections.

Join a small group

Maybe you’ve joined a new church and want to make friends, but don’t know how to make those connections. After all, it’s hard to strike up a conversation with someone after church when all anyone is thinking about is what they want to eat for lunch. Instead, take the pressure off by joining a small group. Find a group that includes people in similar life stages as you and who have common goals. Many churches have niche groups you could join too that align with your special interests. Maybe there’s a men’s prayer group, or a women’s book club. If you’re feeling really adventurous, look for a church pickleball league.

Just remember, you don’t have to force it. If you try a group and things aren’t clicking, there’s no need to panic. Chances are, there’s another small group at your church you can check out, too.


Engaging in volunteer work not only allows you to contribute to your community but also provides opportunities to meet individuals who share your passion for making a difference. Whether it’s volunteering at a local shelter, participating in environmental clean-up initiatives, or serving in your church’s youth ministry, these meaningful activities can lead to deep connections with like-minded individuals who are driven by similar values.

It wasn’t easy to put myself out there. I made more than a few calls to my best friend back home giving me a pep talk before I walked into my small group. It took time and intentionality, and I had to push through a few awkward conversations in the beginning. But a year later, I’ve found a solid group of friends who I can lean on during the good and bad days.

If you’re in the midst of trying to find genuine, adult friendships, don’t give up. Chances are, there are people out there just like you who are looking for friendships. You just have to figure out how to find them.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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