Remember when making friends felt as simple as sitting next to someone in the sandbox? In the adult world, meeting new people and especially finding a new BFF can feel pretty daunting — especially if you’ve just moved to a new place. If you think about it, though, adults have sandboxes of our own. Tools such as your workplace network, college alumni association, and even your phone are great catalysts for forming a social circle in a new home. Here are eight ways to create some friendly bonds.

Three friends pose on a bench together

1. Use your phone. If you’ve used dating apps before, you know how great of a catalyst they can be when it comes to making connections. The makers of Bumble realized that this convenience factor shouldn’t just apply to romantic relationships. Bumble BFF (free via the Bumble app on iOS and Android) is exactly like using the app for dating, except for finding — you guessed it! — a new BFF.

2. Don’t use your phone. While using social media to make friends is ubiquitous in this day and age, it’s also worth thinking about taking an old-school approach to making friends. When you use your phone in line at Starbucks, in an elevator, or on public transportation, you’re passing up a potential conversation with the person next to you. By putting your phone down — even in situations where it might feel uncomfortable — you’re opening yourself up to interactions with strangers who could become friends.

3. Attend networking events. Networking is a great tool in the professional world, but it’s also a great opportunity to build friendships. Whether a networking event is for your industry or a passionate hobby, attending gatherings that interest you will naturally lead you to people who interest you.

4. Join a sports league. For many of us, our first lessons about friendship begin on the field as a little kid. Why not use the same logic as adults? Many cities have intramural sports leagues for all skill levels, and joining a team will give you the opportunity to show off your talent (or at least your enthusiasm) while turning new teammates into friends.

Two women hug while laughing

5. Volunteer. If you’re passionate about a certain cause, volunteering probably comes naturally to you. Being new to a place is scary, but you can take comfort in putting your time toward a cause you might already be familiar with. Chances are you’ll get to interact with people who share your passion — which makes a great foundation for friendship.

6. Leverage your current connections. Even if you don’t know anyone when you move to a different place, chances are that you know people who do. A great way to make new friends in your new home is to utilize your connections, both formal and informal. For example, attend alumni events in the area for your university, reach out to your sorority alumnae, or call on family and friends who might have contacts in the area.

7. Have work do the work. Your job is one of your first networks in a new place, so use it! While you don’t necessarily have to be friends with all of your coworkers, you can still seek out friends and mentors who can help make your new city (and your office) your home.

8. Let the dominoes fall. Think of everyone you meet as the first domino in a chain reaction — all the people that person knows are the successive dominoes. When you open yourself up to one friendship, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to make exponentially more friends as a result.

How do you go about meeting new people? Let us know @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)