How to Make Friends as a Grown Ass Adult

It’s my pleasure to pass the reigns over for the day to Katrina from ‘Sota is Sexy. You’ll love her. Take it away, Katrina…

Sota is Sexy

You could say I’m a bit of a nomad. Over the past eight years I’ve moved from Nebraska to New York to Seattle to Minnesota. It’s cost me thousands of dollars and involved enough U-Haul rentals to last a lifetime. But the hardest part? Making friends, hands down.

Turns out, the easiest way to meet fellow “grown-ups” is at the office. But what happens if you don’t like your co-workers? Don’t work with anyone your age? Only have two colleagues to choose from? Perhaps you work out of your home and have resorted to conversing with your chihuahua–who you’ve hired as your ‘secretary’–to avoid feeling totally isolated.

I fell into that last category, in case you’re wondering.

The day I broke down crying in the middle of Caesar’s Palace because a trip with my college gal pals was over, I knew it was time to take action. Making friends in school had been cake! But my new self-employed reality meant social interaction was limited to annual get togethers with long-distance friends. Something had to change.

The moment I returned home, I opened my laptop and pulled up Google.

“How to make friends in Seattle” I typed pathetically in between handfuls of Cheetos.

An endless array of results filled my screen. Maybe my search wasn’t totally lame, after all? After clicking on several links, I decided to pursue, a networking site dedicated to helping you “find your people”. It sounded perfect!

Over the next seven days, the following things happened.

  • I joined “The Pink Stilettos”, a local Meetup group for “girly-girls in their twenties and thirties”.
  • I RSVP’d to a Sex and the City themed event at a local bar, much to my husband’s chagrin.
  • I showed up to the soiree with my husband, who decided to bail at the last minute as my endeavor was “beyond ridiculous”. (So much for having a wingman.)
  • I dressed as my favorite character (Carrie) per the event instructions, only to be told I was “completely overdressed” by the bouncer.
  • I learned the hard way that the party had been cross posted with a singles meetup. Let’s just say dudes were creepin’.
  • Because I’m a people pleaser, I ended up across the street in the Nordstrom shoe department with a sixty-five-year-old drag queen. We left shortly after as they didn’t carry womens’ size 13s. (Thank God.)
  • I was cornered for twenty minutes by delusional broad dressed as Samantha while waiting in line for the ladies’ room. She swore up and down she was second in line for Beyonce’s role in Dream Girls. Personally, I thought she more closely resembled the Pine Sol lady.
  • I spotted two twenty-somethings across the room. One was wearing a giant fascinator atop her head. Surely she wouldn’t be sporting that headpiece to catch a man! I marched right over to introduce myself.

Today, those two women are very dear friends– in spite of the fact that within five minutes of meeting them I downed three cocktails, showed them twenty-six photos of my dog, and gave a TMI-account of some recent drama with my uterus. Clearly, these bitches (and their headpieces) could handle my unique brand of crazy. We had brunch the following weekend, and the rest is history.

I’ve since moved to Minnesota, where I’m lucky enough to have discovered a new circle of friends. Thankfully, it’s been exponentially easier to meet people with each move, due large in part to eight years of social trial and error.

Tired of talking to your chihuahua-turned-secretary and ready to find some new peeps? Want to do it without finding yourself on a shoe-shopping spree with a male retiree in lipstick? Here are my tried and true tips:

1. Friendship is like dating. You have to put yourself out there and you might get rejected. The sooner you accept (i.e. get over) this, the sooner you’ll be enjoying a wine-fueled GIRL’s marathon with your new posse.

2. Be vocal about flying solo. I was amazed at how many like-minded ladies I met who were going through the exact same social struggle as myself. Much like stretch marks or a crush on Joey Lawrence circa 1995, it’s not something people like to bring up with complete strangers. (Which is precisely why you should bring it up.)

“I just moved here and work from home, so I have no friends and spend my free time shopping online” was practically my mating call when I first landed in the Midwest. I would announce this fun fact on the headset microphone during my side gig teaching group exercises classes at a local gym. I was shocked and amazed at how many girls–most of whom initially appeared intimidating–would approach me after class with a big, fat, “Oh my gosh…me too!” Making new friends is a scary, and I guarantee you aren’t alone in your quest. Make your single status public knowledge, and potential gal pals will gather like moths to a flame.

3. Throw a party. Hosting a social event is a fabulous way to turn casual connections into solid friendships. Once I had lured a few unsuspecting gym-goers into my circle of contacts, I decided to throw a Mexican Margarita night. Sure…the copious amounts of tequila led to yours truly bringing up the delicate subject of donkey shows…but at least it helped me weed out the ones who couldn’t hang!


There you have it. My (mostly) fool-proof steps to assembling a bitchin’ army of girlfriends. It takes guts, confidence, and just a pinch of delusion, but it’s a method I swear by.

Also…whatever you do, don’t resort to entering a married woman’s pageant in hopes of meeting your bestie. You’ll still wind up friendless–just with a $700 evening gown you’ll never wear again, and a judges feedback sheet in which three different local business owners politely tell you your thighs are too big.

Whatever. I didn’t want to be Mrs. Washington anyway.

See, didn’t you love her? Of course you did. Want to see more of Katrina? Visit ‘Sota is Sexy or follow her on Bloglovin for your daily dose of tater tots and sweatpants.

  • I love this post. Two in a half years ago I moved from Upstate NY to Indiana. I’m still struggling trying to find good girlfriends that aren’t 600 miles away. I almost think finding friends after college is harder than finding a bf.

    • I would totally agree with that — blatantly searching for someone to date is more “socially acceptable” than blatantly searching for friends. What part of upstate NY? We spent 3 years in Syracuse and LOVED it.

  • I feel like I could have written this post (though not as eloquently or with as much humor.) I’ve made two big moves (three if you count moving from my college town back home with my parents for a summer, but I spent most of that summer reading in the hammock, so I don’t count it) over the past 5ish years. When my husband (then boyfriend) and I moved to Houston, we pretty much made friends with our coworkers (the ones who didn’t judge us for being unmarried and not “even engaged.”) Then this past summer we moved to Charlotte and I’ve discovered Meetup – specifically an awesome 20s-30s women new to Charlotte group. We all own the fact that it’s super awkward and hard to make friends.

  • I think even trying to make new friends once you leave college is hard. You find yourself hanging out with the same 4 people, and even if you love them dearly sometimes it’s good to expand your social circle. I love that you met a new friend from her headwear!

  • your story is hilarious! this is really helpful 🙂 i will be moving to another country end of this year and i’m already worrying about what the heck i’m going to do not knowing anyone!

    xo, Brikena

  • This post is so great! Making friends after college is definitely a struggle!

  • I lived in England for a few years and then moved back to a new city in the states where I’m finding it incredibly hard to meet ‘good’ friends. Not acquaintances who just want a one-sided ‘let’s-get-together-so-I-can-complain-about-my-life’ friendship. You are absolutely right, it is just like dating. “Will she like me?” “Will we have anything in common?” “Will she get my stupid jokes?”

    I now have a whole new appreciation for how welcoming and open the English people are when it comes to making new friends. Especially when compared to Americans who are much more likely to stick with their ‘college clique’. PS – I wasn’t in a sorority in college, double negative points!

    I’m SO glad you wrote this and SO glad I’m not alone. 3 years on in my ‘new city’ and I’m happy to report I have slowly started to develop a small but good group of friends. It’s quality over quantity in my book. And now that I have a kid in my life, my perspective on what matters has drastically changed. Come by and visit me sometime at…

    New Post: The Feng Shui Way

  • katrina I love this – although it should be common sense, you’re right’s hard to make friends as an adult. I have moved quite frequently as well, from Iowa to NYC to Chicago, and now in a different part of Iowa. It’s hard. I am going to take your advice & put myself out there. thank you!!! xo – chels @

    • I know it’s scary, but it will totally pay off. Once you do it, you’ll be like “Why didn’t I put myself out there sooner??!” 🙂

  • Great read!! I just posted on this same topic too!

  • Thank you so much for writing this post. One of my biggest worries about graduating from college is that I won’t be able to make friends once I’m out in the real world. This post eased my anxieties a bit. Thank you so much! I’m no longer so afraid of the post-undergrad life.

  • this is great! I had a difficult time making friends when I move. What I needed to do was join a group like you did!

  • Oh my gosh, I love this!! Making friends is so much harder now that I don’t see anyone but my coworkers and boyfriend all day everyday!

  • I fall into the last category too! And I’m definitely one of those people that shares a million pictures of my dogs with someone when I first meet them hahaha. I move around a lot and can totally relate to this post. Thanks for sharing that site! I’m definitely going to check it out!

  • I just signed up on the site in my area! Cause that is my problem too, I work with 3 women even though they are great to work with, it’s hard cause 2 have kids, and the other is old enough to be my mom or much older sister. We do go out but it’s not an every week occurrence. I hope I can gain new friends from the site like you did! ♥

  • Yes – making friends is so HARD! Picking up dudes in bars was easier. I loved your story to friendship-dom!
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  • Man this post is perfect. I’ve actually been living in the same place for 3 years but have gone through a few different jobs in that time and so I almost feel the same way…”friend-solo” is probably more nerve-wracking than regular solo…
    Also, I’m trying Meetup for my area right now. One thing I learned (it might not be the same everywhere…) But I’m pretty sure that if it says “Open Minded” in the name of the group that’s usually code for “Must be ok with getting naked in front of strangers.”
    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s experienced the awkward meetup struggles!

  • I love this!!! I’m a social butterfly but have been having such trouble making new friends lately as I work from home & am only in classes 2 days a week. Thanks!

  • With a title like that, I have to go follow her blog. And yes, the post was awesome. Making friends as an adult blows.

  • This is so brave of you. I don’t have any friends my age or in my stage of life (30 w/o kids) bc we moved here for myhusband’s job.

    • That’s exactly what happened to us. 30 years old, no kids, moved to rural Minnesota for my husband’s job. I felt like I wouldn’t find ANYONE in the midwest who was my age without children, but I promise…they are out there! You just have to look…you can do it! 🙂

  • I’m a nomad as well and making friends is tough once you’re out of school! Love how you made some friends and I just may haveta take this advice!!

  • “Associate to graduate!” I hear this phrase being used for my grad school. I think such saying applies to social life as well. After all, we must associate to graduate [from social isolation]! 😀 I think this is a very promising development for everyone who is [or will be] going through what you went through.

  • wow, can totally relate (ok, maybe not quite to your extent…) to joining a group that had a mixer with singles in seattle. soso awkward, considering almost everyone was nearly 20 years older than me! needless to say, i still like my dog better 😉

    jenn @ hello, rigby!

    • I’m with ya, sister! Doggies are the best at the end of the day 🙂

  • There’s a hysterical autobiography about this same type of problem called “SWF seeks BFF.” I highly reccommend it to anyone looking for inspiration to make friends in a new city!

  • Making friends as an adult is hard! I take for granted my mom setting up playdates.

  • Kym

    This was a fabulous guest post! I fall into the last category as well. We move around so much … this was actually the first time in seven years that I went outside of my normal “hockey bubble zone” and made friends outside of my husbands work … it’s been my favorite move to day!. These are great tips, thanks for sharing and being so real, Katrina!

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