How to Make Friends as an Adult: A Guide to Socializing & Meeting New People

Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette!
In today’s video, we’ll be discussing the best ways to create and maintain
friendships as an adult man. Speaking broadly, humans are social creatures;
while some people are more introverted and others more extroverted, everyone
benefits from having a network of interpersonal connections to fall back
on when needed. Family is a natural network of connections, of course, and
many people also have coworkers to reach out to
but in today’s increasingly digital age, studies are showing that true
friendships are harder to come by. We’ll revisit these specific data on this
later but if you’re wondering how to make more friendships that will survive
and thrive, today’s video is for you. First, let’s touch on the history of male
friendships. This is just going to be a brief overview but if you’d like more
information, we’ll link to a great article from our friends over at the Art
of Manliness in the description. In ancient times,
men viewed male friendships as the most fulfilling relationship that a person
could have. According to philosophers, including Aristotle, platonic
relationships, having emotional connection without sexual intimacy were
the ideal. Fast-forward to the 19th century where male friendships were
often marked by an intensely sentimental bond, they echoed the so called heroic
friendships of the ancient world with an emphasis on emotion common to the
Romantic Age. Men of this time could use flowery language with one another in
letters and weren’t afraid of even being somewhat more physically affectionate.
They wouldn’t give a second thought to draping their arm around a friend or
sometimes even holding hands. Why is this? At that time, affectionate feelings were
not labeled as being strictly sexual or platonic. Also, the overall social
structure of society during this time help to foster those
intense emotional bonds. In a manner of speaking,
men and women almost lived in separate social worlds until they got married.
Additionally, fraternal organizations like the Freemasons and The Odd Fellows
were at their peak during this time in American history. At the end of the 19th
century, nearly one in three American men was a member of one of these
organizations, if not more. During the 20th century though, male friendships
underwent some serious transformations. The industrial revolution, market
economics, and ideas like social Darwinism all contributed to a shift in
thinking. Instead of viewing other men as potential friends, the default thought
became that other men were competition. Also, with the increased leisure time
that could now take place because of industrialization, men turned to playing
more sports and pursuing more outdoor activities in their free time. Therefore,
rather than basing their friendships around an emotional bond, 20th century
men were more likely to base their friendships with others around these
kinds of pursuits. The outlier here where more classically styled emotional
friendships did still exist was in the military where the nature of training
and combat made these close bonds essential. This is still the case into
the modern era but outside of the military, the 21st century man seems to
have relatively few options to form these close emotional friendships. Why is
this? Partly, it can be because of the increased responsibilities of modern
adult life. If you’re on the dating scene, that can take up a good portion of your
time, for example, or if you’re married, you, of course, have spousal
responsibilities. If you have children, they each have their own needs,
activities, and social lives and you may also be at a point where you’re having
to care for your parents as well and of course, that’s not counting work, sleep,
and other activities. There are 168 hours in a week and the
average person will spend about 40 of these working and another 50 sleeping.
Throw in things like household chores and projects, as well as all of the other
things we mentioned above and you might end up having less than half of your
week free. As an aside here, if you happen to be wondering, why was it easier for me
to make friends in childhood? Well, partly, it’s because as a child, you likely had
fewer direct responsibilities to other people and also, because school is an
ideal environment for making friends. If you stay in the same school district for
most of your schooling career, you’re largely surrounded by the same people
who are roughly the same age and engaged in the same kinds of course materials as
you are. You’ll spend seven or eight hours a day with these people for years
at a time. Once you finish school though, this
highly structured social environment falls apart and you’re suddenly
surrounded in adult life with new people of all different ages, backgrounds, and
interests. Friendships can still be formed, of course, but they often don’t
come as naturally and research shows that we are suffering as a result.
According to a study by the AARP, for example, roughly 48 million people over
the age of 45 are now suffering from chronic loneliness and while social
media can broadly connect us, this is often only at a surface level. To say
nothing, of course, of the negativity found in some internet comment sections.
Conversely though, a 2010 report in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior
found that having strong social ties can boost the immune system, decrease the
risk of heart disease and high blood pressure and reduce the impact of stress
and chronic pain. So if the benefits are clear then, what are some effective ways
to make friends as an adult? First, try leveraging your existing
network. Even if you don’t have many or any friends whom you regularly talk to
these days, chances are you still have a number of old connections that
you haven’t talked to in some time. So don’t be afraid to reach out, give them a
call or send a message through text or social media. If they don’t answer you,
you’re no worse off than you were before trying to reach out and if they do,
you’ve got a whole new opportunity to connect. Along these same lines, if you do
have a spouse or a significant other, ask if they have any old friends that you
could reach out to together. Next up, consider trying something more
structured in nature. In a recent study, sociologists collected data from 91
countries representing 2/3 of the world’s population, they concluded that
Denmark is home to the happiest people in the world. Why is this? It might have
something to do with the fact that 92% of Danes are members of some sort of
group ranging from sports to cultural interests. To avoid loneliness, we have to
seek active social lives, maintain friendships, and enjoy stable
relationships. With this in mind then, you could participate in adult classes to
try to learn something that you’ve never had time to before. For example, you could
sign up for a cooking class and then strike up a conversation with somebody
at your workstation. You can search for courses that are available near you
online or visit community colleges or recreation centers to find postings on
available courses and of course, if you are more athletic, you can join a
recreational sports team, anything from a pickup basketball team to a bowling
league will put you in an environment where you can socialize with others.
Since these people also had to sign up for the team, that gives you something in
common that you can talk about and as teammates, you’ll have a common goal to
work toward which can foster deeper relationships. If you’re more
academically minded, you could visit the library or join a book club. If you’re a
pet owner, you could take your dog to the park to talk with other dog owners. Again,
this would be something you have in common. Other activities could include
things like religious groups, traditional fraternal organizations, or
something like Toastmasters. And if you’re not finding any structured
activities or groups that interest you, you could go the extra step and start
one yourself. Say, for example, a weekly lunch or a monthly movie night. Friends
will bring friends of their own and before long, the group could be
relatively large and who will everyone have to thank for this? The organizer, you.
Furthermore, if you invite people to events or activities, they’ll remember
even if they can’t make it in that specific instance. They’ll be more likely
to reciprocate and invite you to things in the future.
Along these lines, if you’ve got kids, coming up with structured activities for
them and their friends will allow you to meet some of their friends’ parents. You
might even find a few that you would like to talk with further. Some final
other options here would be taking an opportunity to travel, volunteering, or
using a service like the app and web site, Meetup. Yes, many of these
suggestions do seem like a considerable amount of work, and they are, but here’s
the thing, having a large and robust network of good friends makes the work
and the occasional awkwardness of meeting new people worth it. So there are
some ideas on how to grow your real-life social network and make new friends but
once you’ve done this, the question then becomes how do you keep them? First off
is a point that seems obvious but it is worth mentioning, be kind.
Nobody likes a person who’s mean-spirited. Resonating with other
people is less about you and more about focusing on them. In other words, don’t
try to be interesting, try to be interested. Being likeable can be as easy
as listening to people and asking them to tell you more. If they mention
something that you have in common, be sure to bring that up. By the way, you
can find our video on eleven easy ways to be more likeable here. In conversation,
be complimentary of other people and make them feel welcome and good about
themselves. Sarcasm and negativity are not personality traits and rather than
just trying to be cool, be enthusiastic about your own interests and those of
others. Also, consider giving meaningful gifts to those people you care about and
performing random acts of kindness to show that you’re thoughtful. Be selfless
in trying to give more than you receive without, of course, burning yourself out.
Next up is to be vulnerable without going overboard and sharing your entire
life story all at once. Do try to open up to other people, no strong friendship
was ever founded on just talking about the weather.
Yes, even here in Minnesota where Gentleman’s Gazette headquarters is
located. In other words, close friends can lead to personal discussions but
personal discussions can also lead to close friends. Allowing yourself to be
vulnerable helps others to trust you because they can see that you’re putting
yourself at emotional, psychological, or even physical risk. Other people will
tend to react by being more open and vulnerable themselves and when more than
one person is letting their guard down in a situation, this can lead to closer
emotional bonds over time. So be yourself, be honest about who you are, be
vulnerable with your emotions without being dramatic, and don’t be ashamed of
your own interests. You must like yourself and be confident in yourself
first or you’ll project negative energy to
other people. If you’d like to work on your self-confidence, you can find our
video on things confident men never do here. At the same time, don’t try to
dominate a conversation or always make yourself the focus. Conversation should
have a healthy balance of perspectives between parties. Take an interest in the
lives of other people, follow up on things you’ve heard before and don’t
forget to ask good questions. By the way, you can find our playlist on
conversation here and our website also has a great
number of articles on social interaction. Our final main point today is be
reliable. In other words, make time for other people. Spending time with others
is a sure sign that you value them and of course, no one likes to feel
undervalued, therefore, it’s crucial to keep in touch with your network. After
all, if you haven’t kept in touch with people, that may be why you’ve found that
your circle of friends has gotten smaller. This can be as simple as an
occasional text message or as involved as a handwritten letter but even if
you’re only reaching out every once in a while just to catch up and touch base,
maintaining this connection is key. On that note, you can find our article on
letter and card writing etiquette, here. We mentioned planning events yourself
earlier but when others plan events and invite you, try to say yes more often. Of
course, we are all busy these days but if you often feel the urge to turn down
others’ plans just to do nothing instead, try to get more comfortable with putting
yourself out there. And when you do say yes to events, get them on your calendar
so that way, you’ll be more likely to keep your word and actually show up. So
there you have it, an overview of what male friendships have looked like over
time, some suggestions on how to make new friends, and then some tips on how to
strengthen and maintain these bonds. If you have just one major takeaway from
today’s video, make it this, in the spirit of being a gentleman, value others and
make yourself into a person worth valuing. In today’s video I’m wearing a
fairly casual outfit that might be good for going out to meet up with new people
who could eventually become potential friends I’m wearing a Glen check shirt
in blue and yellow over a white background
underneath a cardigan sweater with blue and gray tones my trousers are plain
medium brown and my loafers are in a dark chocolate brown suede my socks
today are from Fort Belvedere they are shadow striped models in
navy and yellow to harmonize with the colors in my shirt as well as my sweater
to find these socks as well as a wide variety of other accessories including
ties pocket squares cufflinks and more you can visit the Fort Belvedere shop

100 thoughts on “How to Make Friends as an Adult: A Guide to Socializing & Meeting New People

  • I don't recall giving you permission to ready my diary, GG. I tease, but in all seriousness I have had this conversation quite a few times with my father. In college, it's easy to spy a group of people playing video games at a table and say "Well I bet I'd fit in there". The next four years of my life were filled with revelry and rebellion to the nth degree. But real life is not as easily delineated into easily joined social cliques as college and high school. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for this, as this very topic is something I've wondered about recently. How DO you make friends as adults?

    Edit: As a highest honor Distinguished Toastmaster, thank you for mentioning us!

  • To be honest most "friendships" are overrated. In slavic languages ( like in my mother tounge, croatian ) we say "prijatelj". It comes from the verb "prijati" and that means to fit in, to be just the right thing or person who is close to someone because of shared interests and true friendship can be accomplished with one maybe two people at the most. Be careful not to mix up acquaintances and friends.

  • I’ve realized that all it takes to get a friendship going is one topic just one topic that both you and the person like. A certain sport, a favorite team, a movie, a song, an activity.

    That’s enough to break down the walls and you both look forward to talking about it with each other. After a while of that you’ll naturally start to talk about other things. And boom you’ve got a friend.

  • You guys rock. I just moved somewhere new for school and as a very introverted married guy I have a hard time making friends. This video came out just as I am about to make new friends. Bravo

  • I know this is unrelated, but I feel this is the channel to comment this on. I’m 14, and my Dad, as a family tradition, bought me my first suit in London a couple days ago, it’s a double breasted dark blue suit with two vents and flap pockets, which I picked myself. He also bought me four Charles Tyrwhitt dress shirts, one of which I’m wearing now. Just wanted to say that.

  • Great advice! Especially the bit about random acts of kindness! I think the feeling you get when you truly make a friend smile is one of the best feelings out there! Also, I must say that Preston's modeling skills at the ends of his videos just keep getting more and more polished!

  • Out of all of the ADULT orientated menswear channels., GZ has got to be my favoirite. A rich repertoire of different topics which transcend the essence of being a (gentle)man. Thank you, you three!

  • I only got into the World Domination game in order to met new henchladies for my personal security force. So far it hasn't gone to plan and I blame my cologne.

  • Making friends is easy! Making friends that do not blurt "hey is it a special day?" every time I wear a suit and and a tie, that's the hard part!

  • Thank you for this video. I suffer from pretty bad anxiety and i have a very hard time talking to people and making friends. This video helps give me some ideas of things to do to get me out of my comfort zone and try and do something new and different.

  • I like your more casual look today, Preston. You look like a fine father just waiting to happen in that outfit. I actually bought a shawl-collar cardigan this winter at a nice price. I don't know how stylish something like that is, but it's incredibly warm and comfortable, and I've gotten a lot of mileage out of it already.

  • Men used to know it. Men only spaces are a crucial thing for mental well-being. It's a shame clubs of that sort have fallen out of favor. I'm lucky to have a friend group that also makes room for leisure time without spouses and girlfriends.

  • Even if you do all even these things, it is very hard the older you get to become friends unless you find other people who are completely socially isolated (as in no friends, no contact with family, a network of zero and no more than zero). People who aren’t completely isolated have people they’ve known longer and you will always be the one they don’t know as well. You don’t go back as far with each other.

  • Jeez how depressing is my life when I’m watching a video about how to make friends as an adult? My parents would be so proud lol

  • "So you are telling me the industrial revolution is the reason I can't hold my homies hands? The industrial revolution and it's consequences have been a disaster for mankind!"
    – some guy in a cabin

  • I really appriciate the rundown of relationships through the ages. People need to know that vunrability and love is not unmanly.
    Love from Denmark, land of bridges

  • Could you guys make a tutorial on how to open carry like a gentleman? How to pair holsters with suits, where to put your CCW etc?

  • 8:55 the thing about toastmasters that nobody wants to say is: there are a lot of special boys. Plus, the people are a little too bent towards… negative emotionality. It can be frustrating if you ACTUALLY want your club to be about speaking.

  • What an embarrassing video; absolutely pathetic. What's up next…'how to ask a girl to go on a date', 'how to use the washroom', ' how to tie your shoe laces'. What a sad society we now live in.

  • Preston has turned into my life coach! Also, anyone what to get together for a lunch or dinner club in Central London? Or, if one exists, let me know! Thanks!

  • It’s sad that this was necessary guys, but judging by the appreciative comments, you’ve hit an area of need. Maybe people spend too much time on social media!

  • Most men no longer are part of clubs or Fraternial orders. Men's activities now are more individual and other obligations greater. But too, online time bites into friend time big time. How do you make time to be a buddy and mensch?

  • Making friends as an adult is indeed a challenging task, but is a social skill and a form of art that we can (re)learn. Thank you for making a vid on this important topic. I’m going to follow your tips
    Like fine wine, The Gentleman’s Gazette is getting better and better as time goes by.

  • I really like the recommendation to not try to be interesting, but try to be interested, focus on listening. Good video and great tips!

  • Anybody ever watch the show get a life with Chris Elliott? The episode where he’s wondering around going “new friend” “new friend” is my approach

  • Absolutely great video. This is a topic that is almost never talked about, and as an extremely introverted person that is friendly andenjoys talking with others, but is also very private, this was very informative. I would like to see more of these "Lifestyle" type videos in the future.

  • Ever since I stopped punching people in the face, I've managed to make and keep a lot more friends leading to more emotional bonds and self confidence with less violence.

  • This is a bigger problem than I would have ever assumed. I was a tour guide working in Europe and I conducted tours for groups of, mostly, Americans. I would say that the average age was around 55 years old. It was immediately obvious that the women in the group were usually much more socially adept. It was not uncommon for several of them to know something about everyone at the end of our first nights dinner. Women seem to be much less hesitant to share personal details with other women and most don’t object to the prodding questioning. Men,on the other hand, frequently give short or evasive answers to questions of a personal nature. They will talk about their schooling, employment or favorite sports teams quite easily but anything more penetrating than that and you could see them pull back from the inquisitor. One notable man, a recently retired surgeon, was clearly ill at ease mingling with other guests. His wife was a social butterfly. She asked me to please make an effort to force her husband into social situations. She told me something I will never forget. Her husband was at the top of his profession and very social with his colleagues and staff at the hospital where he worked. Many thought he was the most personable and winsome person they knew. Once the couple retired and moved to Florida he became extremely reclusive. He tried hobbies for short periods but quickly lost interest. They attended religious services regularly, as they had “up North”, but he was an abject failure at making friends. This was in stark contrast to his church life in his home state. He loved history so she took him on a tour of Central Europe and hoped he would strike up friendships with the people on the tour, many of which were equally successful. It didn’t work. It strikes me that the advice you give in this video is not only useful for those starting their adult life away from childhood friends and family but also for other stages of life. I cannot know what caused this man’s unhappy change in personality. I do know that he was miserable but didn’t know how to change his state. I thought of him as soon as I started watching this video.

  • Freemasonry. A fantastic organisation and great nights out with new friends. So pleased I joined and I don’t know where the last 15 years have gone 👍

  • It is difficult to choose friends!This past year I had a "friend" but he was working against me the whole year.There were red flags but I wanted to stay positive!We decided not to come at a meeting…so I skipped the meeting but he attended it!And this is just the tip of the iceberg!I just wanted to know how could you stay positive with such a negative person!

  • I have autism and your Videos always helping me a lot expressing myself better and understanding certain behaviours of Others.
    Thanks a lot for your Great Videos!

  • Great video! I have met most of my close friends through Kendo and Iaido (martial arts which I practice), granted we don’t have a lot of opportunities to chat about unrelated thing in the dojo, however we have conversations about almost anything while changing clothes and at the parking lot next to the dojo. We all help each other on our martial arts journey, to mould our techniques, cultivate the spirit, and grow as people through difficult training is a great way to form bonds. Also travelling together to seminars and tournaments is great because you have more time and opportunities to talk about other things.

  • I consider myself fortunate that I had a best friend. He was the Wilson to my House. From 10 yrs old until 23 he was like my brother. (Even now his sister and I call each other adopted siblings.) He lost his battle with brain cancer. I've never had a friend like that since, but perhaps I'll know that level of friendship again!

  • I have found many more people with my interests and affinity groups as well on apps like Instagram. So there is hope for the digital age.

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