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In which we tackle your most popular question: How do you make friends as an adult? These are our strategies and best practices for meeting new people, making buddies, and generally becoming a more happy human.

Support How to Adult on Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/howtoadult


"How to Adult" is a new "life skills" edutainment channel executive produced by Hank Green and John Green. Subscribe for new videos every week!

Some possible sites for making friends (not official endorsements or anythin' -- well, except for the Nerdfightaria one):
https://nerdfighters.ning.com/
http://www.meetup.com
https://www.girlfriendcircles.com/
http://www.craigslist.org/

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This episode of How to Adult Directed, Edited, Hosted and Co-written by:
T. Michael (Mike) Martin
http://www.youtube.com/tmikemartin
(Mike is also a Young Adult novelist. His book, THE END GAMES, is available at all online booksellers, including Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062201816/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0062201816&linkCode=as2&tag=tmicmar-20&linkId=CF4ULRBEW6LATV3C)

Co-written by:
Emma Mills
http://www.youtube.com/elmify

Executive Produced by:
Hank and John Green
http://www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers



P.S.: Thank you, Josh Sundquist (http://www.youtube.com/JoshSundquist) for the awesome quote at the beginning. :D
(Intro)

(0:16)
Mike: Hi, I'm Mike Martin and today we're going to be talking about how to make friends as an adult.

This is something a lot of y'all have been asking about in comments and for good reason. Like the peeps from last Easter I just found in the back of my cupboard, making friends gets harder as time passes. 

When you are a kid you can go up to someone and literally say... (text on screen: Wanna be friends? Obvz.) and for the rest of young life it's still relatively simple.

Sociologists say that there are 3 main factors in making friends. One is proximity, two is repeated, unplanned interactions and three is an environment that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in one another.

School gives us the proximity and the interactions and lets face it, when we're younger most of us tend to open up a lot more because we haven't been hurt or disappointed yet.

So the questions we have to ask ourselves are "Is making friends as adult worth it?" and also "Is it possible?" And the answers are... "Uhh, yes(h)"

We'll get to the how-to in just a second, but first it's worthwhile to talk about why friends are important. As the saying goes we are social creatures and although our culture tends to emphasize the kissy-kissy brand *insert screaming rock band in the background* of relationships above everything else. Friendships can have just as profound an impact on our quality of life. 

As it happens, they can also have a huge impact on our quantity of life. Most famously, an experiment known as the "Australian Longitudinal Study" demonstrated that people who have a strong friend network live an average of 22% longer than people who do not.

Other studies have shown that gaining a strong friend network is as physiologically beneficial as quitting smoking. We all have stressful events in our lives, and the emotional sustenance that friendship gives us, helps us buffer some of the psychological effects of stress.

Otherwise it's very easy to get caught up in what psychologists call "rumination" which is a kind of mental death spiral, and BTW "Deth Spyrul" is the name of the metal band my friend ET and I have just started. Our first album is called "Exploding Fire Hearts." When you least expect it the album is going to drop...out of the sky. And, but, so, how do you actually make friends? 

Step one is to remember one of the great rules of life. Once you become an adult, life is a Do-it-yourself project. With no manual and much assembly required. You create the structures of your own life, which is scary and also wonderful.

In school you probably hung out with people with the same interests as you. You both played tuba, you had the same major, you wanted to build an interstellar communicator so your alien buddy could phone home and go away before he died.
 
Well you can still find people with the same interests. There are many ways to do this. Obviously connecting with people at work can be both cool and convenient. But, it will be different for everybody. Maybe for you it's a kick ball league, or a church group, or your schools alumni group, or going to the dog park, or just the gym at a regular time and seeing who else is around. 

Technology gets a bad rap in relationships a lot of the times, but it can be very helpful. Sites like meetup.com or girlfriend circles or even Craigslist can help you find people with similar interests. Also there's this community called "Nerdfighteria." 

So that takes care of proximity, so what's step number two? Start a conversation. To get the conversational ball rolling, you can use points from your environment. "Nice dog park we've got here." Ask people about themselves, and be genuinely interested. And ask open ended questions like "What's your favorite thing about the city?" And open body language like an appropriate smile and non-crossed arms can be big help too. Just remember to take it easy and don't over share too early. 

And if that goes well there is step three: propose a post activity. Ideally this'll be something that doesn't require a lot of time or money. And if they say no, that is okay. You can try again with them or someone else later. And remember that success in this area could hinge on something as simple as the day of the week. So please do not  get discouraged. 

Now a few of you guys, including Debby Haynam and Joshua Knowles asked what about negative friends. What about those psychic vampires that just suck the life out of you. Well we here at "How to Adult" want you to know- it is okay to break up with friends. You can do this by letting the friendship fade away, by just turning down a few invitations. If they ask you can just politely tell them that you wish them no ill will, but you think the friendship isn't working any more.

They might not like that, but your happiness has to be more important than their anger. Actually now that I think about it, that is another one of life's great rules. Never let anyone make you feel guilty for wanting to become more awesome. 

Most of all, remember that making friends takes time, and you're not going to have a deep connection with everybody. If you keep at it you're likely to have friends in different contexts. So you'll have your church friends, or your kick ball friends, or your alien friends, or your board game friends, and that is great. And its also good to try to find those friendships where you can bare yourself, where you can tell people what you're afraid of and what you want from life.

For some people, me included, this can be really hard to initiate or to receive, but it's important to remember that those feelings of vulnerability are precisely what makes friendship worthwhile in the first place. We have to share our hopes and our fears. We have to help and allow ourselves to be helped, because as grown ups that is how we structure our lives. That is how we adult.

We help each other make sense of a chaotic  world, inoculate each other from some of its pains and generally make the journey on this wonderful, terrible, beautiful, crazy spinning globe a more pleasant experience. 

So what about you? What's worked for you? What hasn't worked for you? Let us know below. And also as always, than you for being our friend. 

Emma: Well okay, this is weird. Do you remember the first friend you ever made? Because I do. It was in preschool. Her name was Dianne. 
M: Did that relationship continue? 
E: No, not past preschool. 
M: Okay
E: I met friends in, I switched schools when I was younger, so I met, I have friends that I met in third grade that are still my friends. 

M: I can't remember the first friend I ever made, but the best friend I ever made was this kid named Devon. And we met in fourth grade, but the nicest thing he ever did for me, and this is still like one of the nicest things that anybody has ever done for me, is that sixth grade on mile run test day, half the class counted the other half's laps. And Devon, every time I ran a lap, I was in really bad shape and I was so scared, he counted it as two laps. I had to slow down at the end, cause I was like "uh, I'm going break the world record if I don't stop!"
E: -laughs-