This month, Bumble, the girl-acts-first dating app, launched an offshoot calledBumble BFF, letting users make same-sex friends. However you attempt it, making friends as an adult can be even more awkward than dating. For help, we turn to GirlFriendCircles.com CEO and "Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness"author Shasta Nelson.
Consistency is key
“One thing [people] need to get a friendship off the ground is consistency, some way where you are seeing each other on a regular basis,” Nelson tells us. “That’s why a lot of people do make friends at work — it’s built-in consistency.” But if you feel like 40 hours a week is enough time with your coworkers, don’t worry, it isn’t your only option.
Nelson says places of worship, classes or organized sports teams are all ways to meet new people you will see consistently. “Think about where you want to put in time where you are seeing the same people regularly,” she says.
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Be the initiator
Or, you can take matters into your own hands and invite someone you want to get to know better to something, getting the momentum going. “If you’re not joining an improv class or another activity and you’re just meeting different people in different places, you have to take charge, reaching out, initiating and scheduling [a hangout] to make sure that consistency gets off the ground,” she says.
Avoiding online friend matching awkwardness
The other option, of course, is to go online. Nelson was way ahead of Bumble BFF, launching her own friendship matching site GirlFriendCircles.com six years ago. Meeting a friend match can be as nerve-wracking as meeting a dating match. Nelson says the key is to not going into meeting thinking your friend match has to be your best friend.
“Unlike dating, you don’t have to narrow it down to one,” she says. “Just knowing other people in the city is great.” She also says not to write someone off too quickly. “It takes most people about six [meet ups] to feel comfortable,” she says.
What to talk about
When it comes to striking up a conversation, Nelson says to focus on commonalities: “Research is showing that we don’t need to have this big thing in common that we think we need. If someone is single, they assume their [potential friend] needs to be single too. Or if someone is a mom, that their potential friend needs to be a mom. It’s easy for us to assume who we should be friends with, but research is showing we are not good predictors of that.” What’s more important are three or four smaller commonalities — like both being from the Midwest or both loving Thai — than one big thing.
The most encouraging part about making new friends is that there are so many different types: going-out friends, gym friends, movie-date friends. If you’re open, initiate consistent meet-ups and are genuine, you’ll have your own squad in no time.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence