When you were growing up, it seemed easy to meet and find a best friend. But as adults, we don’t have the same systems built in like we did as children. We can no longer meet our BFF on the playground or in English class or on after-school sports teams.
In fact, it’s acceptable to say that you’re looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend, but try saying “I’m looking for a best friend.” It’s not really socially acceptable these days and some people may question your motives or approach. Adults have more baggage to deal with.
If you’re looking for a friend as an adult, it’s almost like looking for a romantic partner. Relationship experts say the first step is to think about what kind of person your friend would be. Think about your best friends when you were younger and what made you want to hang out with them. Were they fun and extroverted or quiet and introspective? Did they love sports or would they rather read a good book? Experts suggest looking for qualities in a friend that you would look for in a partner.
Now that you’ve determined what kind of person your friend would be, imagine what this person would be doing. If they’re an outdoorsy person, you may want to go on hikes or bike rides or join a hiking or biking group. You could sign up for a fitness class (even Zoom exercise classes work for meeting people!). If your would-be friend is more bookish, go to a bookstore or library or join a book club. Just keep in mind you’re not going to find someone right off the bat, you may have to try more than once or twice. It will take time and effort.
Now, you’ve found someone and ready to get together with them. What do you do? A great way to get a “yes” for a meet-up is to do something that both of you have determined is a favorite activity. You might have a favorite sports team in common or a favorite dish or movie. That’s a good starting point. Or if they’ve mentioned to you “I’d like to…” make a plan to do that.
Once you’ve done that, experts say nurture that friendship, but don’t go too fast, take it slow and steady, don’t take it too seriously at first, as if dating that person. Too much too fast could set up a friendship that’s not going to work in the long run. Work on common goals to deepen the friendship. What are their goals and dreams? Do they track with yours? Find things you can work on together.