When we were younger, making friends was easy. The recess bell would ring, and we would all run out to the playground. There, we’d break into cliques and find our tribes.
Once we’ve outgrown the playground, making friends becomes more difficult. We begin to focus on our jobs, our romantic relationships, and more. The idea of friendships goes out the window.
Until we realize that we need platonic friendships.
Barna Research conducted multiple studies on adult friendships. The statistics are sad.
Many adults have two to five close friends. With those friendships, 20% still feel lonely on a regular basis. Most adults rarely have meaningful relationships with their neighbors other than a simple greeting. Gone are the backyard barbeques, weekly get together, or bowling nights.
What may shock you even more is that most of our friendships are with people like us. We don’t stray from what we know even though we think we do.
We’re becoming a lonely, segregated people. That’s got to change.
But what can you do? How can you make friends?
How To Make Friends Beyond The Playground
You may not be forced to play together in the office like you were forced to play with childhood friends, but you can still find ways to become friends with new and different people. You can find new people to play with.
So, what can you do? You do the following:
Join a local sports team:
One of the best things I ever did as an adult was to join a recreational soccer league. This was a league of old guys who would gather together to play soccer one night a week.
Many people today are gathering around the pickleball courts. It’s a fast-paced game similar to tennis meets ping pong.
Sports teams build friendships because you’re working together to defeat another team. You have to rely on your teammates, and they have to depend on you.
Attend an event at your local library:
Did you know your local library offers up classes, speeches, and more? I attended an event at one of our local libraries featuring the author Kristin Kobes Du Mez. She spoke about her book, Jesus And John Wayne.
There was a wide range of people there. They weren’t all like me.
It was refreshing to see the varying types of people who attended the talk. Afterward, there was the chance to meet the author, interact with attendees, and get to know one another.
There are events like this happening all of the time. Go to one. Step out of your comfort zone. You’ll meet new people who may become your best friends.
Hang out at your local coffee shop:
The local coffee shop is a fantastic place to make new friendships. It’s like the bar in Cheers. If you’re there enough, everyone can know your name.
But you can’t just go to the coffee shop and sit in your corner. You have to be brave. You have to be willing to mingle with other patrons of the coffee shop.
You’ll soon learn about Barb’s new puppy, John’s new business project, and a need that the barista has.
You have the opportunity to rub shoulders with all of these people. Do it!
Play online games:
I remember when Evercrack… Wait, I mean Everquest came out for the PlayStation 2. It was a wildly addictive MMORPG (massive(ly) multiplayer online role-playing game).
You would connect your system to the internet, log onto a server, and play the game online with hundreds or thousands of other players. I did this for a few years.
It’s incredible to think I still have friends from those experiences. I get to see them grow up, create families, and excel in life, all because of an online game.
You may not think gaming is worth it, but you can find great friendships online.
Ask your friends to introduce you to new people:
If you’ve got the right friends, they want to see you thrive and grow. They don’t want to hold you back.
So, why not ask your current friends to introduce you to new friends? Not only do they have different friend groups, but they can also bring you into those varying groups as well.
This expands your social circle and increases their influence by bringing you into the group.
It’s a win-win all around.
Attend a church:
Church is a great way to build your friendship groups. Like-minded people are gathering every week. There are plenty of lonely people there, just like you.
Find a church that’s preaching the word of God. You’ll find yourself mingling with other congregants who may become some of your closest friends.
Making friends is never easy. But it can be easier than we make it.
Find ways to step outside of your comfort zone to build new friendships. These are the people you’ll rely on and call on when times are tough.
There are people out there wanting to be friends. Go be that friend.