Skip to content

Why is having friends in your 20s so important? 

We’ll be the first to say it—life is hard. And when you’re a young adult—in college, entering the workforce, searching for jobs, experiencing your first heartbreak, navigating finances, and blazing your own path—life can be even harder. The Universe really said, “I’m gonna throw a million things at you at once. Let’s see how you do!” But truly, young adulthood will test you in all sorts of ways. If you think about it, your 20s are likely to be the most tumultuous (for a lack of a better word) decade of your life. In no other decade will you leave school, find a job, quit a job, find love, lose love, rent an apartment, buy a house, get a dog, go back to school… all in the span of 10 years (or maybe even one or two, if you’re really ambitious!) This is all to say that your 20s are challenging, and one of the best ways to handle the turbulent nature of this time in your life is friendship.  

According to this study by The Mayo Clinic, authentic friendship can help an individual shoulder the newfound pressure of their lives as an adult. Whether it’s taking a full class load at college or working a stressful full-time job, friends can help ease this burden. Having reliable social connections in your life can help reduce the high levels of stress and anxiety that are common in your 20s. Additionally, quality friendships can help you enhance your sense of purpose and belonging. The years after leaving the familiarity of home can feel untethered and aimless —maybe it feels like you don’t know where you belong anymore. Cultivating strong friendships can help provide you with a place of belonging once again.

Even with all of the evidence supporting why friendships in your 20s are essential, research has demonstrated that your 20s can be some of the most lonely and isolating years. There are many plausible reasons to explain why this is the case—not as many built-in social activities, having to work harder to engage with people your age, and busier work schedules are just a few. However, just because it’s hard does not mean that it’s impossible. We all need genuine social connections (yes, even if you are an introvert and a self-proclaimed homebody!). 

No need to worry—this is where we come in. We’ve crowdsourced some of the best tried-and-true tactics to make friends in your 20s. We’ve all been there, which is why we’re excited to share these tips for cultivating friendship in your 20s.

How to (successfully) socialize.

Now, just a bit of housekeeping before we dive into the good stuff. A lot of this is almost painful how simple it is, but we’ve noticed that the basics often get overlooked in scenarios such as trying to make new friends. First things first—don’t judge a book by its cover! Just because someone doesn’t look like the kind of person you normally surround yourself with, or isn’t necessarily your “vibe,” doesn’t mean that a great connection isn’t possible. Don’t be intimidated by how someone looks or presents themselves. Not to sound like a broken record, but people want to connect with other people! It’s in our DNA to be social beings. 

Second, find common ground. You may work in different fields, come from different families, and have different life experiences, but we are firm believers that there is always something to bond over, even if it’s as small as the long line at the coffee shop. Use whatever you need to build a bridge between you and this person you want to know better. Once you find even a morsel of common ground with them, run with it! Optimize this connection, and soon enough, you’ll find that you have a lot more in common than you initially thought. 

Lastly, listen more than you speak. People love talking about themselves—it’s just human nature! When you’re meeting a new person and interested in forming a friendship with them, remember their name and ask lots of questions. Obviously, don’t over-do it and come off too overzealous—strike the right balance between interested and obsessed. People will appreciate a chance to talk about themselves, and who knows! You might just find your new bestie because of it. 

How to make friends in your 20s.

1. Mutual friends.

Odds are, if you like your friend, you will probably like their friends, too! Ask your friend to plan a cocktail party or movie night, and tell them to bring a few friends who you haven’t met before. Having this common connection will also make it easier to form a relationship. 

2. Frequent a workout studio.

Whether it’s boxing, pilates, hot yoga, HIIT, Barry’s, or anything in between, choose your favorite workout and attend multiple classes at the same workout studio. Become a regular, and then you will start recognizing other regulars, too. Strike up a conversation, and voilá! This familiar face has just become a new friend (and the best part is, you don’t have to awkwardly plan when you’ll see them next, because you’ll meet up at the next workout class!)

3. Utilize social media. 

​​Find a specific niche on social media, and follow people who are a part of that niche who live in your city or town. Love health and wellness? Find and follow some people who embody that lifestyle, and send them a DM. You would be surprised by how many friendships are born on social media. Or, maybe you love the outdoors. Find some fellow outdoorsmen on Instagram or TikTok, start engaging with their content, and then reach out a few weeks later.

4. Attend in-person brand events. 

Find a brand or business that you like and go to their local, in-person events. Brands like Outdoor Voices and Lululemon host local runs, podcasts hosts will put on in-person shows, and health cafés will organize yoga classes. This will put you in the right place to meet other people with similar interests and passions.

5. Give out compliments.

This is a great way to spark conversation with a stranger without it feeling super abrupt or awkward. Whether it’s saying “I love your outfit!” at a workout class, or whispering, “That color looks great on you” while you wait in line, this is a natural way to begin a dialogue. Often, the conversation will continue from there, and all of a sudden, a connection has blossomed. 

6. Read a book in a public setting. 

An actual book with a cover and everything—not a Kindle! This is critical. Whether it’s on a bench at a park, at a high-top in a bar, or in the corner of a coffee shop, reading a book opens up doors for someone to start a conversation. While this is less of an action-oriented strategy, and more of a sit-back-and-wait, it’s a good place to start if you’re feeling insecure or nervous about striking conversations with strangers. If someone notices the book you’re reading and finds it interesting, or they’ve read it themselves, then you are giving them a chance to comment on it. Do this a few times, and we can almost guarantee that someone will ask you about what you’re reading. Pro tip: read a book that is popular at the moment. This helps your odds of someone having read it before, and makes it easier for them to strike up a convo. This tip also may be applicable for romantic scenarios… ;) 

7. Pick up a hobby.

Find your way back to a hobby that you loved as a kid. Maybe it’s horseback riding, or watercoloring, or wood-carving. No matter how random it may feel, pursue this hobby. Take painting or horseback riding lessons, go to wood-carving workshops—follow that hobby wherever it takes you. When you actually act on that hobby, instead of just remembering that you used to like it, you're bound to encounter some other individuals who enjoy the same thing. 

how to make friends in your 20s

8. Attend a class or workshop in your city. 

Coffee brewing, wine tasting, line dancing, community gardening, pottery making, the opportunities are endless! Invite someone that you want to get to know better, and go together. Doing something new is a fun way to break the ice and will give you some bonding moments that you can laugh about together later.

9. Join a club. 

Yes, we know that this isn’t the most original piece of advice, but it’s a tried-and-true method of making friends so we had to include it! If you’re in college, join a few different clubs at the beginning of the semester. You don’t have to stay in all of them long-term, but it’s a great way to meet a group of people with similar interests as you. Once you have some familiar faces around you, you can extend an invitation to hang out outside of the club meetings. If you’re out of college, there are clubs for you, too :) Book club, running club, biking club… you name it. Check out Facebook, Instagram, or even Reddit to find something that interests you. 

10. Volunteer for a cause you believe in.

Maybe it’s spending the afternoon at an elderly home or helping clean up a neighborhood park. Chat with the other volunteers, and you never know, one of them could be your new bff.

11. Say “yes!” when the opportunity presents itself. 

If you have just moved to a new city or are starting a new job, you may have to be a “yes-man” for a while. If you are invited to drinks with co-workers, or lunch with a friend of a friend, say yes! You don’t have to say yes to every invitation forever, but for a few weeks or months, optimize these opportunities to see new faces.

12. Join a recreational sports club.

Pickleball is having a renaissance, if you haven’t noticed. Same with kickball, apparently! Go out on a limb and join one of these teams, even if you’re not very good. They’re meant to be fun, after all (unless you’re playing sand volleyball—uh, how is that considered “fun”???) But you know what we mean. Not to mention, the inevitable mishaps and flops of being on a sports team will be a fun bonding experience (even if you lose a shred of your dignity). 

13. Pick up a job at a local restaurant or bar.

Even if it’s just one or two nights a week, you will meet a lot of people, from co-workers to customers. This is a great strategy if you’re new to a place and need the inside scoop from seasoned experts, like which coffee shop has the best latte and which park has the best trails (and cutest dogs). 

14. Attend local events and gatherings.

Maybe it’s a neighborhood Friday night gathering in the park, or a live music event for a charity, or an artisan’s market on Monday night. There’s always something happening, if you look for it. Go alone and make a solo-date out of it, and make it a goal to chat with one or two people while you’re there. Or, ask a friend to tag along and you can meet new people together! 

15. Try an app.

“There’s an app for that!” has probably become one of the most commonly used phrases in the dictionary at this point. But, they’re right… there is an app for that! And there’s an app for making friends, too. Download Bumble BFF or something similar and take a leap of faith. Go on three or four “friendship dates.” What’s the worst that could happen? At the very least, you’ll emerge with a good story. 

Now, you don’t have to do every single thing on this list. Pick two or three that sound fun, and try them out for a few weeks. Make a bucket list out of it! You never know who you could meet. Trust us when we say that there are people out there who are searching for friendships just like you are. The world has a funny way of bringing people together who need it, so keep the faith. And we are always here if you need a shoulder to lean on through the process <3