Home Ben blog How to make friends as an adult – part two

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How to make friends as an adult – part two

Two mechanic friends laughing in a garage

In part one of our making friends as an adult blog, we shared our top tips for meeting new people, but that’s just the start of the path to friendship. Now that you’ve made all of these great acquaintances how do you turn them into full-blown friends?

How to build and maintain a friendship:

1. Don’t be afraid to make the first move

Like asking someone out on a date, asking a new acquaintance to meet up socially can be nerve-wracking, but as with romantic relationships, someone has to make the first move or you’re never going to make it to friendship.

Developing a new relationship or friendship can be nerve wracking but someone has to make the first move, or it just won’t happen.

When you’re talking to someone you want to get to know better listen for openings to invite them to hang out. For example, if they say they’ve been dying to try out the new restaurant in town, suggest you go together. If you’ve both always wanted to try out an art class, find one you can join. If they’re having a bad day why not invite them over for a cup of tea or a pint to cheer them up? Look for any excuse you can find to spend time together. Once you’ve met up outside your normal context it will get easier to meet up again and before you know it, you’ve made a new friend.

When you’re talking to someone you would like to get to know better, listen for openings such as things you’re both interested in.

2. Two ears, one mouth 

When you’re trying to get to know someone it’s important to listen. Studies show that talking about ourselves triggers the same pleasure areas of the brain as sex and good food, so if you actively listen to a new acquaintance and show interest by asking questions they will enjoy spending time with you.

Don’t let the conversation get too one sided though, it’s important to contribute information about yourself as well, but in general try to listen more than you speak.  If you want some ideas to get the conversation flowing check out our blog and read an FBI behaviour expert’s tips on getting people to like you.

It’s important to be yourself, be as authentic as possible and share things which are important to you so that you find people who you really connect with and have things in common with.

When it comes to making more time with friends then I would say, like most things, plan ahead – coordinate dates in the diary in advance – and quite simply make it happen!

3. Make time for your friends 

Making a new friend is just the beginning. Like plants that wither if you don’t water them, it’s important to maintain a friendship or you’ll drift apart. Put it in your diary to phone or meet up with your new friend at least once every two weeks and aim to keep in touch with messages in between. It could be simple things like a message about what’s happening in a TV programme you both watch or the football results. The more time you spend with someone and the more you share random parts of your day, e.g. by sending them a photo of something funny you spotted on the way to work, the closer you’ll become.

4. Don’t be afraid to open up

Finally, in order to build a truly close friendship you need to make an emotional as well as a time investment. Having a laugh together is great but to get to know someone on a deeper level it’s important to be able to share with them your hopes, dreams, and fears, and support them with theirs.

Getting too personal too quickly can be off putting but once you’ve been friendly with someone for a while try to open up a bit. You could ask for their advice on a problem you’re having, or share something a bit more personal you wouldn’t tell a mere acquaintance. If they’re a friend for keeps they’ll be pleased that you can trust them and they might start to share more themselves.

More advice    

If you want to see what can happen when you start actively trying to make new friends as an adult check out this BBC blog.

For more advice on how to ‘date’ your way to friendship try reading this blog. You may also want help with building your confidence or dealing with loneliness.

We’re here

If you’re feeling lonely and are struggling to make new friends, then Ben is here to help. We support those who work (or have worked) in the automotive industry, or are dependent on someone who is. You can ring our free and confidential helpline on 08081 311 333 or use our online chat. 



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2 comments on “How to make friends as an adult – part two
  1. Zach says:

    I just started a new job and I want to make friends with the people there I’m not as experienced as them, but I do have experience just need to know the best approach in this situation

    • Naomi Clothier says:

      Hi Zach,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s great that you’re being proactive about making friends in your new job. Don’t be shy getting to know your colleagues just because they have more experience. Maybe try using that and asking one of them for some advice with a task you’re working on to get talking? I’m sure they’d be flattered that you value their opinion.

      At lunch times, make sure to leave your desk and don’t spend your break on your phone. Go and sit in the work kitchen/ canteen if there is one, it’s usually quite a social place to hang out with your colleagues. Alternatively, you can ask if any of them want to walk with you to the shops/ a cafe to grab some food.

      Are there any social events or clubs at your new company? Often there are things like book clubs, sports teams, charity events or team meals you can get involved with. If not see if any of your team members share any interests with you and might be interested in setting up a group.

      The main thing is to be open to social opportunities and just get chatting with people whenever you have the chance! If your company is quite big then make sure to also say hi to people in other departments/ teams.

      I hope that helps! Congratulations and good luck with your new job!

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