Skip to main content

Once you get older –  everything above the age of 25 to be exact – the number of people you may call friends starts to decrease instead of increase, a chilling fact that might worry some of us as nobody wants to be old and lonely. So how to make friends as a grown up? 

Growing up means losing friends

People from universities in Finland and England studied phone data to say smart things about the number of relationships young people have. Based on these telephone calls, researchers Bhattacharya et al. (2016) discovered that, in general, people start losing friends after the age of 25.

These scientists not only discovered that younger people have more contacts than people over 25, but they also found that men and women (as always) differ. By the age of 25, men were calling an average of 19 people per month, while women reached out only to 17.5.

Who would’ve expected men to be this chatty, right? 

How to make new ones

The reason for the decline in friendly engagement after 25 was not investigated in this research. However, we can only assume that people start working and have less time to spend on others. At the same time, many are looking to  find a spouse and start focusing on starting a family. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

It is said though, in the study, that when we do call, we tend to reach out to only ‘the bestest of the bestest’. So when someone calls you, you are scientifically proven to be among their closest of friends and not merely someone they once met at a birthday party or a work thingy. Score!

This also works the other way around: if you want to make someone feel important, and you want to befriend an acquaintance, calling him or her would really be effective!

Make a list of people who you’d like to make friends with

When your time is limited, how do you decide which people deserve your sweet love and attention? Well… it could be a nice exercise to compile a list of your friends and acquaintances. 

An effective way of doing this is making a circle diagram with you in the center. Once that’s done, you draw a big circle around you and one or two even bigger circles around the previous circle, leaving space in between to write names. Finally, you end up with something that looks like a target with you being the bull’s eye.

Then you start adding names. You place people closest to you in the circle – well – closest to you. Then in the next circle come the people you feel close to but who are maybe not your typical bff’s. Continue doing this, until you feel like you’ve added all the people you consider a friend or acquaintance. This diagram may then give you insight in the people that are actually far away from you now, yet feel like a potential friend. Those are the persons you’d like to contact.   

Plan an activity

Even though the previously mentioned research implies that calling someone up means you are besties for life, when you’ve just promoted someone to the friends list, why not take it a step further and meet up? Face to face, you are able to do an activity together instead of just talking, like figure skating, beer pong or gaming. 

Doing new things together makes for even stronger connections between people, so why not contact someone you like and want to be friends with and just plan a get together? There’s no time to lose and only friends to gain.

So brace yourself for the ultimate ‘bro-down’ advice (m/f/x/): grab your phone and call your unknowing candidate and ask if he or she wants to go bowling, curling or line dancing or… you name it! Your friendships will surely benefit. And with that, your sense of well-being, too.
You’re welcome! 

Arjan van Rooijen