The topic of how to make friends in your twenties is something I’ve frequently chatted to others about. It’s so easy at this age to start feeling pangs of loneliness as your friends from home may have moved away, or your uni friends are now spread across the country. Perhaps you have moved for work and are now distant from your former friendship group. Being an adult is harder, and making friends in your twenties is even harder.
The great thing about growing up and moving on from your home life is you learn so much more about yourself. You become independent and grow as an individual, and learn to be confident and comfortable in who you have become. But I think we can all agree that despite all of this, making friends is your twenties is awkward and uncomfortable and none of us really know what the rules are anymore.
Why is it hard to make friends as an adult?
When we were younger, opportunities for new friendships were presented to us basically every day through the structured environments we are placed in as kids; nursery, schools, after-school clubs, university. These are all places where we should (and do) meet likeminded people of similar age and more than likely, with common interests and life experiences. Making friends and socialising is a key part of why we are sent to school as children as it’s important for our development.
But once you remove the structure, once you remove that immediate opportunity and necessity to make friends, you can quickly realise that making friends in your twenties is harder than you thought.
What makes us feel lonely?
As I’ve talked about previously in my post on loneliness in your twenties, modern life is full of stress factors that can increase feelings of loneliness. For the majority of us, we can’t afford to buy housing, so many are forced to move back home to their parents. I do believe social media plays a part too; what was created to bring people together has a lot to say for keeping people apart. Now, I think people can be content just sending a message or watching Instagram stories, but for some, this lack of direct communication can make you feel even more isolated.
A 2018 study found that people feel the loneliness most during their late 20s, their mid-50s and their late 80s. Three in four people involved in the study said they experienced moderate to high levels of loneliness — which is concerned as even low levels of loneliness can affect both your physical and mental health.
Often, loneliness is seen as and thought of more regarding older people who may live alone and may have experienced a bereavement and there is still a big taboo surrounding young people and loneliness.
So how do we make friends in our twenties? How can we expand our social circles and be the social bunnies we were born to be?
How to make friends in your twenties
Use an App
In this modern age where there seems to be an app for literally everything, why not use an app to find some friends in your local area?
One of the apps that I have tried is Bumble. I know, you don’t associate Bumble with friendship, but there is a specific mode on the app called Bumble BFF, where your profile will only be shown to other women that are also using the friendship mode. In your profile, you can add your hobbies and interests, star sign, religion and loads of other information that may help you find a friend. As with usual dating apps, you can also set an age range and a radius to find people close to home.
Go to local events
Going to events alone can be really daunting, but it’s a great way to meet new people from your town or city with similar interests. Check out Eventbrite or Facebook for listings of local events where you can go and meet new people. Most towns and cities will also have some sort of forum group where event details are often posted.
Move into shared accommodation
If you’ve just moved to a new town or city on your own, you may find it’s cheaper to move into shared accommodation. Or perhaps, like me, you’ve lived with your parents for a few years post-uni and now just want your own space. Shared flats and houses can be great for making new friends in your twenties. You will end up having your own in-built family to come home to and can get to know their friends too (and their friends, and so on).
Join a club or society
One of the quickest and easiest ways to make new friends is to join a club or team in the local area. No matter what you’re into, whether it’s yoga, sports, arts & crafts, film, you name it – google your local area and I bet you there are hundreds of clubs and events for you to try out. I know it’s a bit scary at first going somewhere new (especially when you’re doing it alone), but why not start a new hobby, get involved and do something you’ve always wanted to do. I did exactly this when I moved home from uni and joined a local rock choir, and I’ve made some great friends from it too!
Do you have any tips on how to make friends in your twenties or any success stories you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!