Making Friends As An Adult

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I saw this fascinating Tweet thread when @itsashleyoh asked how people make friends as adult. This is something that’s often troubled me after college, and is an issue in ever-busy Silicon Valley.

Its hard to make friends past a certain point. You get busy with work. Some of your friends have kids and some don’t. Some of you are married and some aren’t. So I read the Tweetstream and added a few suggestions of my own. Think of it as my own way of combating some issues of loneliness all face.

Most of these are face-to-face, but a lot of this applies to online.

Here we go. Please add your own.


  • Have a hobby and follow it. This is good for you personally, and of course makes you more interesting.
  • Use that hobby to meet people with similar interests and go to meetups, drinks, dinner, etc.
  • Help people get into the hobby.
  • Hobbies also keep you from being boring and work obsessed.


  • There are all sorts of clubs out there you can find via meetup, game stores, hobby stores, etc. Find some and go try them out.
  • When you can, help out at your club.
  • Take a position at a club.


  • Get involved in good causes, and help out. This is also good for you mentally and emotionally.
  • If you get involved in a good cause, you may want to be “on staff” – that means reguarly meeting people.


  • Go to conventions and socialize.
  • Speak or run events at conventions.
  • Get on staff at conventions.

Go to places and hang out

  • Start hanging out at coffee shops, the library, gymns, etc. other places people gather. Sure you can write and read, but also its a chance to meet people.
  • Many places have regular events, bands, etc. Look for those.
  • Places you hang out may also have event boards, where people post different things going on.


  • If you go to events, go early so you can meet people in line, getting drinks, etc.
  • If you go to events reguarly, help out.
  • Go to events people you know throw and make new connections.

Specific events and organizations

  • Many pubs and places have trivia events and other great social opportunities.
  • Game nights are popular at various establishments, including game stores, bars, and meetups.
  • Libraries have lots of events, including book sales that you can go to or help out with.
  • Museums have events and need volunteers.
  • Writing groups and various creative groups often do a lot of events.

Throw events

  • Throw open houses, writing meetups, etc. If necessary, used
  • Do events for your club, church, work to nextwork with people you know.
  • Start your own Meetup.
  • Try doing “creative jams” at your place or nearby, where fellow writers/artists/musicians socialize.


  • Your job may have events that connect you with others, not just those at work.
  • Find people you like at work and hang with them if you’re comfortable.
  • Places of work often have charity connections that you can get involved in.


  • Pets are a common shared interest. There’s parks for animals, clubs, and more.
  • There’s often social events for pet lovers.
  • There’s charities focused around pets to get involved in

Be prepared

  • Have business cards or “social cards” to connect with people.
  • Choose the social media you use to connect with people so you can network.
  • is invaluable.


  • Be ready to reach out to people.
  • Rejection is OK. It happens to all of us.
  • If you’re seeing a therapist for whatever reason, they may have advice.

Be a good friend

  • Take an interest in others. It’s not all about you.
  • Help people out (don’t be used, just lend a helping hand)
  • Invite your friends to things. even if they don’t always show up, it helps.
  • Remember some people are in the same boat as you.

I hope this helps out.

Steven Savage

Creative Friction

(This is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I’ve been watching myself and some friends get blocked on various creative projects, or find them hard going. This occurred at the same time I was working with some Agile teams. So Agile and Creative efforts? Yeah, you know I got thinking about why we were having creative trouble.

As often mentioned, I actually don’t believe in writer’s block as we normally think of it – it’s at best a descriptive term, at worst a way of thinking that makes the actual situation work. I’m always looking for new ways to look at Creative blockages that don’t invoke writer’s block.

Looking at things that were messing with my friends, I began comparing them to problems in software creation and productivity. I realized that many so-called “blockages” were cases of various things interfering with creative work – it wasn’t a “stop” so much as slowing down – it was a form of friction. Things were not exactly stopped, but slowed as the creative efforts were “grinding” against something else.

Friction: A Way TO Look At Creative Problems

So here’s a new way to think of your “creative blocks” – your creative efforts are experiencing friction. Something else in your head and in your life is disrupting the creative effort, grinding up against it, slowing it’s flow. I’m calling this “friction” as it doesn’t hint at blockages (and thus reviving the idea of Creative Blockage which as noted I dislike).

So don’t think of any impairment of creative effort as “here’s a wall.” Think of it as other things going on (probably) in your head, that keep grinding against your creative effort or banging into it disrupting it. The problem is not the creativity or some magic block – it’s a bunch of other things screwing it up.

Ever feel like your creativity should “flow” and doesn’t? You get the idea.

Resolving Friction

Using this metaphor of friction, I began thinking about ways to reduce creative friction. Let’s try out this metaphor – how can you overcome friction (or at least do better when facing it).

Forcing Through: Just keep writing/drawing no matter what – and no matter how painful it may be. The idea is to keep pushing through until the creative act wears away anything slowing it down. I personally find this can work, but sometimes it’s psychologically difficult.

Lubrication: Find something that “lubricates” the creative experience. Maybe music, a noise machine, music, etc. help you be more creative. Maybe you do things in a different way (writing on a notebook instead of on a computer). Find something that acts as “lubrication.”

Clearing Out: Try to find something that “blasts away” the elements causing friction. A good walk, a separate creative effort, etc. Might help clear out the elements causing friction.

Sanding: A combination of “Forcing Through” and “Clearing Out,” this is where you deliberately – and often slowly – work to “sand down” the elements in your mind and life causing friction. This could be addressing life stress issues, gradually upping your writing time, etc.

I’m sure you can use other metaphors to get other ideas.

Moving Forward

So with this new metaphor, I hope it helps you – and me – out a bit more in our creative efforts. Besides, it’s a way to get over the idea of some kind insurmountable writing block. For myself, I can see how a lot of my work is best served by Forcing Through and Sanding. What can I say, I’m not a subtle person.

So let me know what other insights you have . . .

Steven Savage

Fun And Work: Double Doing

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Last week in my seemingly (but not actually) endless discussion of how we ruin fun and why, I explored the possibility that we can combine work and fun effectively. As long as we have proper boundaries and goals and check-ins, it’s doable.

Building on this positive idea (since there’s many negative ones I want to explore), I’d like to talk about another way fun and work can actually reinforce themselves, but without “can I turn my hobby into a job.” It’s something I’ve referred to as “double doing” – finding things in your life that have double benefits beyond just their immediate one.

In this case, you can find ways your hobby benefits your job, and vice versa, without necessarily combining them. Think of it as finding fun that may help you elsewhere in life, and finding work things that help you in your hobbies.

Fun That Helps Work

Sometimes, the things we do for fun have benefits elsewhere. If we want, we can cultivate them and use them to help out in our careers and such. This is just beyond the benefits of “it’s fun” or “it’s relaxing,” while not risking stomping on those by turning something enjoyable into work.

For instance, with myself:

  • My writing is a hobby and always has been. However that helps me a lot at work as I can quickly create documents and so on. I don’t even have to work much at this, I just do it. Plus it makes work fun as I like writing.
  • Coding. Now I’m no longer a pro, so my coding is more of a hobby, but as I work in IT, I’m very aware of coding issues. This helps me work with engineers.
  • Graphic. I’m not a professional, but neither are many other people, so not only do I make book covers and such, I have some skills to bust out at work. Plus it’s nice to be the “graphics guy” when other people get asked to do less fun stuff.

I’d note that all of these things benefit my life in general, not just for fun or at work. I’m literally better at many things as I have fun with them – it’s almost as if not pressuring oneself and enjoying things helps you grow as a person . . .

So for yourself, a challenge:

  • What are your hobbies and interests you truly enjoy?
  • How have they benefitted you on the job. Take time to dig deep, you may be surprised.
  • Is there anything you know how to do that might help at work or make it more fun?

Remember, as always, it’s OK to just say “it’s fun, letting it stay there.”

Work That Helps Fun

However, we should also remember our jobs can be a source of skills, experience, and more that helps us have fun. We’re going to learn things, go places, and meet people that we may actually enjoy. Be open to that.

For myself:

  • Management and productivity. I was always the organized type, but my work skills have helped me a great deal in my hobbies. I’m more organized, better able to pace myself, and more aware of what’s important.
  • Meeting awesome people. I meet great people at work, and I stay in touch with some of them.
  • Industry news. Being in tech, everything I hear abot at work is probably relevant to my life at home. New tech, security updates, and more all impact me.

Now, sometimes I’ve actually overdone using my work experiences for fun – especially my work on self-management, which I’ve overdone. But it’s nice to realize that your job might give you ways to enjoy life more.

I wont lie – many jobs are awful. Some are probably hopeless hellholes. May you get out of those jobs quickly.

Double Doing Does The Job

There’s my thoughts on fun helping work and vice versa without making them the same thing. It won’t apply to you the same it does for me, we are in different situations. It’s my hope you can make this work (and maybe help you find a better job if you can’t).

Steven Savage