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How to Make Friends as an Adult

True military brat circa 1995

I remember when I was a kid - a true child of the US military - making new friends every three years or so when we moved was never all that difficult. I would get on the bus, sit down, and boom! Potential new friends were all around me, and at least a couple of us would click. When I went off to college, it was more or less the same thing: “Here’s your dorm key, and here are your friends for the next four years (if not more).”

College made things easy

Making friends as an adult, however, (and I’m sure that I’m not the only person who feels this way), is a lot more difficult. In the past, recreational team sports were my go-to for finding friend groups, but age and bad knees have made that a less-viable option after my most recent move. So how do you find new friends in a city like Boston?

Sports made things easier

Here’s the secret: don’t aim for friends - target activities, and by doing so friends will pop up around you just like when you were a kid on a bus.

The principle of going out and doing activities you enjoy to find people who share your interests heavily applies in big cities. And I’m not talking interests in craft breweries and artisanal doughnuts: this isn’t a Hollywood movie, and you’re not going to meet your new best friend waiting in line for an hour to pay $17 for diabetes and a pastry. Go out and do something that involves active engagement, and by endeavoring towards a shared goal with others, your friendships will begin to sprout.

Getting out and having fun at Pawtuckaway

I prefer to get to know people while being active outside. There’s a sense of raw camaraderie not felt with indoor activities, and all the endorphins pumping through everyone’s systems makes people a lot friendlier. Since my knees gave out, hiking has been more of a hit-or-miss activity: sometimes I just miss it so much that I’m willing to bite through the pain, sometimes I just look for something else to do. Skiing tends to go over a lot better, but it’s harder to really talk to people when you’re speeding down a mountain.

Cycling at the Vinyard

This past summer I went on a great cycling trip at Martha’s Vineyard where I got the chance to get to know some really great people while not needing to pop ibuprofen every two hours. Horseback riding has also been a successful adventure for me. This coming summer, I’m looking forward to trying our kayaking and whitewater rafting trips and hopefully making some new friends while I’m at it.

Where there’s adventure to be had, there are friends to be made.

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