Friending as Adults

Making friends is SO easy…unless you’re an adult.

Friending as Adults
Photo by Felix Rostig / Unsplash

Making friends is SO easy…unless you’re an adult.

We are nearing the end of nice, outside weather in Phoenix, AZ so I have made sure over the past few months to maximize park season. It seems like every time that I have taken my kids to the playground to get out energy and enjoy the beautiful weather without fail they make a new friend. The problem seems that somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we lose the art of making friends, keeping friends, and just being a good friend.

I can share with you plenty of statistics showing how lonely our society seems to be today, but I don’t think I have to because if you are anything like me there are times when you feel a friendship void. In this short blog, I want to share with you a few steps that I am constantly pushing myself to do on how I can make more friends, invest in the friends I have, and be the best friend I can be.

1.   Stop worrying about rejection

Be honest. One of the biggest reasons we don’t make more friends as an adult is we don’t want to face rejection. If you are married, you’ve done the dating, the wooing, the getting dumped or dumping thing, and it feels nice to have something permanent. Well, making friends is all about worrying about the potential of rejection, of getting hurt, and that relationship not going where you may have hoped.

I’ve joked with my wife that as a Pastor I have taken more guys out on dates (coffee and lunch) than women before I was married. And the truth is that I have been told no, I have been stood up, and I’ve had times where I felt like it was going great to then being ghosted. Let me just state for the record those aren’t really dates, but social meetings, but my intentions are to form friendships with men that can lead them into a deeper community with God and His church.

And the truth is for any friendship to start or to even continue someone has to take the lead and initiate, so why can’t that be you? This isn’t in my comfort zone all the time, at my kid’s school I was consistently seeing some dads who looked “cool” and I thought I could connect with them, but I felt like the lame Jr. High kid standing along the wall. Recently, I have decided to buck that trend, and when I have the opportunity to talk to another dad I do! The best part was I didn’t get rejected, it wasn’t awkward, and I had conversations with dads at the same stage of life as me.

2.   Have conversations without agendas

Be honest again. One of the huge friendship mistakes we make as adults is we are only friendly when we want or need something. All of a sudden you say hi to your neighbor when you need an extra set of hands for a home project. You want to reconnect with an old co-worker when you are trying to get a recommendation for a job. You call someone to get the latest scoop on a mutual friend’s shocking news. The trap we can all fall into as adults is seeing friends as networking opportunities and resources rather than…friends. 

This is such a hard habit to break because on one hand, we need to be LESS selfish and not use people, rather just be with and talk to people. On the other hand, we need to be MORE selfish and call people even when they are busy, schedule a time to hang out even when life is nuts, and find time to talk about sports or hobbies or nothing just to invest in the friendship. I often struggle to reach out to my friends to text or call when I have nothing to lead in with. There’s an efficiency guilt inside me that thinks I am going to waste their time if I am not bringing something of worth to the table. We all need to put those fears aside and just have conversations with no agenda on the table that gives the luxury of letting friendship do its thing!

3.   Put it on the schedule

Be honest one last time. You don’t make time for friends. I am a Christian, a husband, a father of four, a pastor, and an avid Arizona sports fan, and typically I make time for things in that order. I schedule my time with God, I schedule time for my spouse (not enough), I schedule my time with my kids, schedule my time to pastor my church, and I definitely schedule my time to be on the couch watching the Suns, Cardinals, Dbacks, and ASU. But sadly, it can be so easy not to schedule times for friends as an adult. We never seem to get less busy so when we complain that we don’t have friends it’s usually not a result of being a person everyone avoids, but being a person that doesn’t prioritize it on the schedule.

Everything that is worth having takes investment and as an adult, it may mean taking a 2-minute break every few hours to text a friend, to send a meme or reel, or just call someone to say hi. It may mean planning a girls’ night or guys’ night where you can do a fun activity and hang out. It may even go so far as to plan a trip that you spend time and money on that shows how much you value that friendship. The point is you cannot complain that friendships are not organically deepening if you are not doing your part to intentionally deepen them.


Making new friends and investing in current friends is not easy work as an adult, everything seems to be working against it being a priority. But, just like our marriages, parenting, careers, and spiritual growth the more intentional we can be to fight for it, the better friends we will all be.