Making Adult Friends Is Easier Than We Think, Harder Than It Should Be

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By Sarah Sloat

Drake, walking curse to treasured American athletes, once decreed, “And we in the club screaming / no new friends / no new friends / no new friends.” Meanwhile this summer, needing all the friends, Taylor Swift led the internet to set itself aflame with thoughts of squads. She didn’t start #squadgoals but the internet got distracted by slideshows, got really excited about think pieces about BFFs, and forgot. Clutching a copy of Bowling Alone, the New York Times harrumphed in the corner and said well actually you don’t have friends at work so don’t get too excited about the state of your relationships.

Depending on who has the microphone, adult friendships are either everywhere or nowhere. I’m an adult with friends but I can’t say too many of the newer ones began as complete strangers, like the friends I made at college. The process of turning acquaintances into actual we-go-hang-out friends is a weird one.

“If you look at our friends, everyone is from work or school,” says Arielle, who is 25, and yes, my friend. “Is this like, our peak of friend-making? I mean, how many times have we gone to parties and realized we didn’t want to talk to anyone else.”

According to the majority of social science research, American adults don’t really need to worry that they’ll end up without pals. In a 2010 paper, University of Buffalo Assistant Professor Hua Wang writes, “Panic about the decline of social connectivity is an old story… Despite these contentions, there has been continuing ethnographic and survey evidence of the abundance of supportive ties with friends and neighbors.” Pooling data from a survey of 2,000 households, Wang found that from 2002 to 2007, American adults between 25 and —> Read More