Takeaway: The older you get, the harder it is to meet like-minded friends. In this post, I'll explain why and ways you can meet new friends that share your values and interests.
Your friends that you have in high school and college might end up being life-long friends. However, a lot of times people grow apart once those milestone years end. When you leave college, with built-in friends due to clubs and classes and sports and enter the “real world”, making friends becomes a lot harder. But why is it so hard to meet like-minded people?
As a young adult, you’re just starting to form who you are as a person. You’re figuring out what you believe in, what you stand for, and who you want to be. Sometimes you get a job and immediately fit in with your coworkers. Other times you’re lucky if there are one or two people you click with.
You didn’t learn how to find like-minded friends in school, it just happened. You gravitated towards people who liked the same things you did or went to the same parties or lived in your dorm. But now that you’re an adult, it’s proving to be a lot harder to meet like-minded people. Especially as your sense of who you are grows.
I'm Justine Carino, a therapist in White Plains, NY. In this post, I'll provide some tips on how to meet like-minded people.
Once you leave the comfortable world of school and enter into the “real world,” it becomes a lot harder to learn how to meet like-minded friends. But slowly, you begin to figure it out.
You start to find out what your ideals are. You realize you want to surround yourself with people who are like-minded. It’s good to have a diverse group of friends. It’s also important to find like-minded people who share your values. If you find those people, you’ll make friends you connect with on a level that goes beyond the surface.
Aside from making friends, it’s important to find like-minded people when you’re dating. If your values don’t align with someone you’re dating, the relationship will have some major problems. You need to both be on the same page about the big things.
As a young adult, finding a group of friends is difficult. Yes, diversity in opinions is important, but you also need people you can turn to when things get hard who get it and who get you.
If you’re longing for community, finding like-minded people is going to be very important for you. Building a solid base of people who are like-minded will help you learn more about yourself as you get older and begin to come into your own in adulthood.
Making friends as a young adult can be hard and lonely. This is especially true if you moved to a new city for a job or a relationship or your family moved and you’ve lost touch with your high school and college friends.
Having friends who have similar beliefs and values as you helps you figure out more and more what you believe in, who you want to surround yourself with, and what kind of person you want to be.
Sometimes having friends who are a little older when you’re a young adult is helpful. They’ve been where you are. They understand what it’s like trying to find yourself and figure out how you are and who you want to be. Older friends also have a more established set of ideals. You know more about what you believe in when you’re 30 than when you’re 26. That doesn’t mean that a 26-year-old and a 30-year-old can’t be friends. You can each learn from each other.
It can be hard to know where to start with how to meet like-minded friends. Join things to meet new people. Sure, you might get lucky and find coworkers you get along with. But it’s important to have friends outside of work and school.
Some ideas for places you can find like-minded people are:
When meeting new friends, be open. Don’t judge people by their age – there’s nothing wrong with having friends who are older. You might learn a lot about yourself and the world from people who have more life experience.
Don’t discount neighbors and coworkers. You might be surrounded by a lot of really great people every day. Give people a chance to see if they’re the right fit.
Not everyone you meet will be a good friend, for one reason or another. That’s ok. The important thing is that you put yourself out there. Try something new. Join one of those clubs. Get involved in the local neighborhood groups. And when one of them is a disappointment, move on to the next thing.
Making friends as an adult can be difficult. Sometimes you’ll meet someone who you think you click with and find out later that they didn’t feel the same way. This is when you have to manage your expectations and realize that it’s possible to meet like-minded people if you look in the right places and don’t give up.
When you leave school, especially if you move to a new city, it can be really hard to meet new friends. Established adults tend to stick to their groups. It’s hard to find people who are open to making new friends. But it’s possible.
One thing that makes meeting new friends so hard is allowing yourself to be vulnerable. We’re all afraid of putting ourselves out there, but we’ll never grow unless we try. Sometimes you’ll be disappointed. Sometimes you’ll be heartbroken. But sometimes you just might meet some great people.
Are you still feeling unsure about how to meet like-minded friends? You don’t need to navigate it alone.
Therapy can help you make sense of who you are, who you want to be, and who you want to be friends with. You’ll leave our sessions feeling more confident, equipped with the tools you need to fully manage meeting new, like-minded people.
If you’d like to learn more about how therapy can help you find like-minded friends, reach out today (I help teens and young adults in the state of New York).
Justine is a licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in White Plains, NY. She helps teenagers, young adults and families struggling with anxiety, depression, family conflict and relationship issues. Justine is also the host of the podcast Thoughts From the Couch.