4 Ways to Make Friends at Work as an Adult

When you’re a little kid, making friends is easy. There are so many opportunities, and as kids, you were likely outgoing and carefree. You might meet a friend in your class at school or play tag with someone at recess. All you have to do is introduce yourself, ask them their name, and boom — you’ve got yourself a new best friend. It’s not so easy as an adult, but why?

Everyone at some point in their adult life finds themselves wanting to make more friends. But it takes time and energy, which you admittedly lack at times. It’s also easy to get comfortable with the social circles you already run in. And if you move to a new city as a young adult and don’t know anyone, it can be intimidating. You’ll feel like a small fish in a big pond.

Whatever the case may be, making friends as an adult can be difficult. But it’s actually a lot easier than you think, and the office is a great place to start. Here are four tips for making friends at work as an adult.

1. Be Kind and Caring to Everyone You Meet

Maybe meeting new people isn’t the problem; it’s the follow-up you need to work on. This can be difficult, especially when you’re busy and trying to maintain strong relationships with every person you meet. But the key to keeping friends in your life and strengthening relationships is quite simple: be kind and caring.

You can show new co-workers that you care for them in many different ways. Message them every so often to ask them how their week is going. When you talk to them, whether on the phone or in person, be a good listener. This can go a long way and mean so much to a person.

Remember important details about what co-workers share with you. From there, you can take things a step further and be extremely thoughtful. For example, if they have a big presentation, wish them luck that morning. If they’re having a bad week, give them a gift card for a coffee. Or, if you want to show support during a very difficult time, send get well soon gifts. Small tokens show you care and are there for your friend, even if it’s a new relationship.

2. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

People always talk about the negative implications of social media. They talk about how it lowers self-esteem and can lead to cyberbullying. While this is true, it can also be an amazing tool! One of the best things about social media is that it’s a networking tool; not just professionally, but personally.

Join popular social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Whenever you have a new co-worker, ask to be their friend on social media. You’ll be able to keep in touch with them digitally. It might also help you discover a common interest or connection that you didn’t know about at first. This could then lead to a closer friendship/deeper connection. Keep in mind that some co-workers may not want to mix their workplace and social media personas, and that’s okay, too!

On Facebook, it’s also a great idea to join groups. Groups can be related to your interests or hobbies, or they can bring people together in the city where you reside. Having this online discussion board can help you find common ground with others, start conversations, and make new connections. One post might be all it takes to make a friend.

Pro tip: Join friendship apps in addition to social media platforms. It’s like online dating but for making friends. Some platforms will even allow you to browse events of interest near you.

3. Attend Social Gatherings, When Possible

If you want to make friends at work, you can’t be afraid to attend social gatherings. It’s easy to dread these events, especially if you’re an introvert. But you have to step outside of your comfort zone and attend more gatherings if you want to meet people.

Work happy hours, get togethers or local events at businesses near your office are great social gatherings to attend. Even if you know all your co-workers, you can still meet other people at a work happy hour. Maybe a friend of a co-worker tags along and you bond with them.

You must have the courage to go to social gatherings. Once you do, the possibilities are endless as far as forming a connection with someone. A friend of a co-worker or even a stranger at the bar could turn out to be a new friend.

4. Find People With the Same Interests as You

After meeting a new co-worker, figure out your similar interests. If you ever want to break the ice, you must have that common love for something that initially bonds you. Talking about something that interests both of you will allow your personality to come out and keep the conversation going.

This will require some work on your part. You have to know yourself well if you ever want to meet people who like the same things as you. So, think about it. What do you enjoy doing? Do you like watching movies, listening to music, or exercising? From there, you can brainstorm creative ways to meet people.

If you like exercising, for example, invite people from work to attend workout classes. If you love Taylor Swift, start a ‘Swiftie’ Slack channel, or invite co-workers to themed events in your city. Knowing your interests will serve as a guide for how you can bond with co-workers. Plus, it’ll help you hit it off with your office-mates instantly.

Meeting new friends as an adult can be tough and even intimidating at times. But with the right strategies and an open mind, anyone can do it. All it takes is one connection, one new co-worker to open a whole new world. Go on, social butterfly — spread your wings!