Here’s a dirty little secret: making friends as an adult is hard. Sure, you’re all grown up and comfortable with your life and who you are. That should make people flock to you, right? How many times have we heard that confidence is attractive?
I moved to a new city as a 23 year old, and the hardest thing I had to do was make friends. Getting an apartment, getting a job, learning how to navigate the professional world – all of these things were pieces of cake compared to walking up to another adult and trying to convince them they should hang out with me.
Things can get even trickier when you’re on a budget. Not having a ton of extra cash to spend at bars or restaurants can make it difficult to get to know people.
If making friends as a regular adult is hard, making friends as a frugal adult is like playing a video game on the expert level. Something as innocuous as a hike can sound an awful lot like, “Hey, I know you don’t know me, but come hang out with me in the woods, far away from other people, for a few hours. It’s totally safe I promise.” Not so cool.
Sticking with your frugality is important, but being a social human being is also important. We’re social creatures, and you shouldn’t let your budget get in the way of your social needs. So what’s a frugal adult to do?
Join a Sports Team
Joining a sports team is a great way to make friends as a frugal adult. At first glance, you’re probably thinking that doesn’t seem particularly frugal, but you would be wrong, my friend.
Let me explain. Yes, while you’re paying to play whatever sport you choose, you’re also getting a huge return:
- You’re meeting a large group of potential friends, all conveniently located in one place
- You’ll play with them for a long period of time, so you’ll get some hangouts just in showing up to your games
- You’ll save time. By combining exercise and friend time, you can free up other time in your day. BONUS: now you have to exercise! You’ll be motivated to get moving and you’ll be motivated to make friends
- You have a built-in reason to hang outside of game day. Asking if your new football friends want to go to the park and toss around the pigskin is a great way to get to know them. It’s also frugal as heck!
All these add up to a frugal decision. Find a league that runs for at least six weeks if you can. That’s a lot of time you get to spend with people, and it gives you plenty of time to let your frugal self impress them.
Have a Make-a-Friend Party
Ask someone you’re already friends with to invite some other totally cool people to a party at your place. By asking someone you already like to be in charge of the guest list, you’ve already vetted the entire invite list. The pressure is off you (the friendless one in the situation) to find people to invite.
If you’re truly friendless, start with your coworkers. Invite them to a party and encourage them to bring friends or significant others.
Staying in is always cheaper than going out, and by hosting, you get to greet everyone who comes. That guarantees face time with everyone. If you’re struggling with what to say, offer to give them a tour of your place or talk about the neighborhood highlights.
You can also wow people with your world famous homemade snacks, or you can ask everyone to bring something they love. That’s another great conversation starter – ask they why they love what they brought and how they made it!
Before you know it, everyone in the room will be friends. And from here on out they’ll be talking about how they all met at your place.
The Third Hang Out Means Movie Night
Once you’ve been able to establish you’re not a serial killer, you can put your frugal moves on your new friend. It’s early enough in the friendship that you can establish frugality is important to you as a person and is a part of your lifestyle. It’s also late enough that you’ve (hopefully) been able to prove when you ask if they want to go on a hike, you really mean just a hike.
Now’s the time to invite them for a movie night at your house rather than a movie theater. Ask them to bring a snack and you can provide the beverages. See if they’d be down for the free open mic night that happens at a bar downtown afterward.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s a frugal hang. Don’t be afraid to be your frugal self. Part of being an awesome adult is getting over the high school feeling of having to hide part of yourself. These are your new *adult* friends, and they’ll like you for who you are. Frugality and all. (If not, it wasn’t meant to be! You don’t want your friends to be a bad influence on you.)
How have you made friends as a frugal adult? What activities did you do to meet people?