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Tips for Making New Friends as an Adult

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Nov. 1 2018, Updated 8:15 p.m. ET

Making new friends is always tricky. But when you’re a kid you at least have an environment set up for you to make friends. School and college are the perfect set up for finding buddies. But eventually you have to move on from those environments. Then what? Sure you can keep your college and school friends, but that doesn’t always work out. Eventually you will have to enter the terrifying world of adult friendship-making.

Now, I have some experience in this area as I recently performed the massive feat of obtaining a new seven-strong friendship group as a grown up. Now this is a big step that I’m not expecting beginners in this area to be able to replicate straight away. There were special circumstances that allowed this to happen (we all moved to New York at the same time and knew no one else here and also lived in the same place). But the experience has left me with some hints and tips that will hopefully help new adults get themselves set up with a happy hour buddy.

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1. Grow a Pair

Listen, I know it’s embarrassing making the first move. As grown ups we have learned that social interactions have a minefield of social consequences if not handled carefully. But you have to just get over it. This isn’t the playground where if you wait on the sidelines long enough a stray ball will roll over to you and offer you the chance to naturally join in a game. You have to be proactive. Put on your big boy pants and ask Dave from marketing if he has plans this weekend.

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2. Alcohol is Your Friend

When we’re kids we have a free spirit, absent of social anxiety, and a lust for life that makes securing friends a walk in the park. When we’re adults we have tequila. Never underestimate the power of intoxication. Of course when just starting a new friendship you probably shouldn’t get black-out wasted (although it can very quickly form a powerful bond), but our inhibitions are often what gets in the way of us really bonding with people. So drink up that Rosé and get chatting … responsibly, of course.

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3. Real Names Are Forbidden

This is a tough process, so when you have a new potential buddy, you have to lock them in. You have to mark your territory. You have to create something to refer back to reinforce your  status as besties. What you need is a nickname. Once you have a name just between you guys, then you’re set. If it’s just a shortening of their name that only you use, fine. If it’s based on a joke or experience between you two, amazing. It may feel silly and immature, but that’s what you need to lean into in your hunt for new pals.

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With that I say, go fourth and make lunch dates my fellow grown ups. I wish you all many pre-work coffees and post-work beers, and all the inside jokes you can handle.

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