There has been quite a bit of commentary on blogs and twitter recently on making friends as adults. As someone who is in the middle of a major career change (with many of my close friends moving away) this is an issue I've dealt with recently.
How I got here:
I'm 36. My husband is 41. We don't have children. This is the first "friend drop off" I noticed years ago. Sure, we still see our friends who have children, but our lives and schedules are different. They aren't as available to meet up for dinner on a Tuesday night. The mommies have play dates and such and if I had kids, that's exactly what I would do too.
Not having children, we have always been conscious to broaden our friend base to include people of all different ages and backgrounds. We are not dependent on just one group to fulfill our lives. We have single friends, marrieds w/o kids, friends w/ families and friends whose children are already grown.
As I said earlier, I've recently switched careers and many friends have moved out of the area. Having someone to run to happy hour with wasn't as easy as it used to be.
Making New Friends.
1. Get involved.
Get involved in your community, join organizations with people of like interests. Volunteer. Join a book or supper club. It's a bit hard at first. Everyone knows each other and you know no one. It can be intimidating. People naturally tend to split into groups. This can feel very clique-y. It's easier for 3-4 women to have a meaningful relationship than 7-8. At that point the 8 naturally form into 2-3 smaller groups. This is normal.
2. Keep going back.
Sure it's hard when you are the new person. Your first outing in an organization can be overwhelming. If it's a cause you're interested in, keep going back. You can't possibly get to know people the first time out. Don't expect to be immediate BFFs. They just met you and you just met them.
3. It's a bit like dating.
No one is going to share their crazy on the first few dates. I think it takes about 3 months for the real, true person to come out. Everyone puts their best foot forward. It's natural.
4. Be true to yourself.
Don't try to fit into anyone's mold. You don't need to change who you are to fit in. This will not get you the true relationships you're looking for anyway.
5. Just let it happen.
You can't force someone to be your friend. And you can't be everyone's best friend. It's ok to be acquaintances. I have different friends for different things. I cannot be everything to everyone and to try would be exhausting. Sometimes you may spend more time with one group and then a few weeks later with another. There is an ebb and flow in life. To go with what you need at the time.
6.Get over yourself.
Try not to take things personally. Be supportive. If you are close to Friend A & B and A & B do something without you, don't feel entitled. Next week you might all get together or perhaps you and Friend B have time for lunch. Friend A will not be offended. This is how true friends act. You cannot be invited to everything all the time, nor can you invite everyone.
I don't know what I would do without my girlfriends. Having strong, happy, independent women in my life is a blessing. True friendships don't feel like work. They just work. So put yourself out there. It might be scary at first (it will!), but it will be worth it!
::I'm not an expert. I don't claim to have all the answers. These are my recent observations and what worked personally for me::