Making new friends is not as easy as it was when we were kids. Before, you could just meet on the playground, strike up a conversation, share toys and you had a new friend for life. In school, you made friends in classes that you had or during school activities. You were surrounded by your peers who were all trying to do the same thing.
Now, you actually have to work at it. People have jobs and lives and families. They also have old friend groups and people that they’re already close to. I personally have friends I’ve know for over 10 years. So making new friends takes a little more effort. Especially when you’re in a new place.
I’ve been making my own efforts to make new friends ever since I got to Costa Rica. Even though I’m not going to be living here, 3 months is a long time to be in a foreign country without having people to hang out with. So I’ve been on a mission to get out of my comfort zone and talk to more people.
In one month I’ve put together a small social circle. The best part? We’re joined together by our love of food, parties, yoga and fun. And in the time that I’ve been here, I’ve realized that building friendships as an adult is only as hard as you make it.
5 Tips to Building New Friendships
1. Get to know your neighbors.
In the morning and sometimes in the evenings I would take a walk around the neighborhood. Not only was I doing this for a bit of exercise but I did it to find opportunities to talk to my neighbors.
By getting to know them I was able to find out what activities are available in the area, what the party scene is like, what beaches to go to etc. I also got invited to any get-togethers that they were having. Because they knew people that I didn’t, they did a lot of the work for me and introduced me to other people my age.
2. Join some classes or activities.
Just because you stop going to school that doesn’t mean that you have to stop taking classes. Meeting people in classes was the easiest way I made friends before so I knew it wouldn’t hurt to try now.
I started taking a yoga class a couple times a week with 2 of my neighbors. Usually I prefer to do yoga at home, but when in Rome (or Costa Rica in my case), do what the Romans do. I’m actually glad I did because I made another friend in the yoga class. And after the class we’d all go out to eat for breakfast.
3. Go to parties or host your own.
It’s hard to make friends in your area by sitting at home on the couch. If you’ve already joined a class or two and got acquainted with your neighbors then try throwing a party. You can ask your new acquaintances to invite their friends and ask their friends to bring more friends and so on.
It worked out for me because the party I threw happened to be an early birthday party. And everyone loves birthday parties and free food. But don’t think there has to be a special occasion to throw a party. You can do it just as a way to network and get to know more people.
4. Plan a day trip.
When I first started meeting more people I made it known that I was looking for fun places to go within the area. This helped a lot because I was able to make plans with some new friends to go out for lunch and then a beach trip.
We spent the whole day hanging out at the beach, enjoying the beautiful view, and getting to know each other. I even let them know that I was looking to make more friends and they helped me get connected to more people.
5. Make use of social media.
This is the biggest step. What’s the point of meeting all of these people if you have no way to contact them later? I made sure that anyone I was interested in hanging out with, I either got their phone number or I added them on Facebook or Instagram.
If you’re not too sure if you want to spend more time with someone I still recommend at least getting their Instagram or Facebook. Because why not? They can be a great resource and they may know other people that you connect with. And who knows? You might like those other people more and start a whole new friendship.