Why It's Hard to Make Friends as an Adult
Updated: Apr 8
Research tells us at the age of 25, your social network begins to shrink.
Today we want to share four reasons why becoming an adult and suddenly having to make friends is so anxiety-inducing. It's not just in your head, and you're not alone.
1. Our priorities completely change.
Suddenly we're giving increased focus to establishing a career and family ties, which leads less room for friendship. Because we have other goals in our lives, we have reduced amount of time to dedicate to friends. Friendship becomes a sort of luxury. If other goals are taking up our brain space and time, it makes it harder to dedicate our time to friendship - pushing it to the margins of our lives for when we "have more time"
If finding time feels impossible, here's a tip:
Intentionally dedicate time for friend making on your calendar. Whether this is joining different social groups or tagging along with your extroverted friend, we have to prioritize making friendships like we do with work and family.
2. We start to form fixed mindsets.
A lot of times we'll hear people who say, "You know at this point, I'm just too [insert personality trait here]." As we get older, we learn more about ourselves and our strengths and weaknesses, but a lot of us are subscribing to ideas of ourselves that aren't permanent. We tell ourselves it's just not possible "for me".
Another common mindset (and lie) we believe is, "It's too late for me. Everyone already has their group, and I should have established my group a long time ago." This is just not true. People at 30 and at 60 years old are finding new friends every day, so it's just as possible for you. Consider the ways in which this mindset is operating against you when you may not even realize it.
Let's say you meet a new connection with a woman you think is really cool. Does this mindset affect how you engage with her? Do you not dedicate the time to follow up or keep up the momentum because you think it won't actually turn into anything?
3. Our pre-constructed social backdrops have been removed.
This is a fancy way of saying that things like recess and college dormitories have all been removed. When we're younger, our job is to make friends. When we're in college, we're in an environment saturated with our peers. It's easy to look at the person who is sitting next to us, who is going through the same life stages, and find camaraderie in that space.
Suddenly we exit these spaces, and there are no college events, and we find ourselves tasked with the responsibility of figuring it out on our own. It leaves a lot of us confused about where to start and how to find people. And when we do find people, how do we coordinate things in such a way start building a friendship?
4. There's a lack of resources and cultural support.
We've seen that the extent of the public dialogue around making friends seems to be:
You either have friends or you don't. And if you don't, what's wrong with you?
That doesn't leave enough space to explore the nuances behind making friends as a grown adult person.
As a kid, there are so many things to support you, from recess to play dates to sports teams. And most resources, like books, that exist for teaching someone to make friends are targeted to kids. But when it comes to making friends or creating friendships of depth as an adult, there's very little support.
If you find yourself in a space where making new friends has become a challenge, it's not in your head.
But think about your answer to this question: why is it so hard to make friends?
Think about your response and the extent to which it is finite. For example, "No one's interested in making new friends in my city." Really, no one? Or "There's no time for me to make friends." Really, no time?
Start exploring the mindsets, excuses, and justifications for why it's always going to be difficult for you and your situation. If you're open to it, start to chip away at that mindset - because that's where it begins.
Want the FULL list of reasons? Watch the video:
If you have a more specific issue that you want to work through in real time (without judgement!), consider booking your one-on-one friendship coaching session.
And if you're tired of getting one-off tips and are in need of a deeper, more overall friendship transformation, you should probably consider joining our signature 8-week program, "Friendship Elevated" (which includes weekly videos, homework, and 4-5 coaching sessions!). Learn more here.
Danielle Jackson, Friendship Speaker
Have any questions about online friendship coaching or need an expert as a speaker? Check out our different personal coaching packages or contact us online for quick responses on any of your questions!
We provide advice on how to make friends, navigating toxic relationships, friendship breakups, and other issues common in female platonic relationships. Want to get closer with your girl friends? We can help!