Although many people prefer to be alone, most people’s lives tend to be happier and fuller with the company of good friends. Some people have a lot of friends, some have a few, but friends really are the chocolate chip in the cookie of life! A lot of us find ourselves all alone, sometimes because we have moved (or someone else has moved), sometimes people have married or broken up or had a kid (or a few), and sometimes life just leads you apart. It can be overwhelming to think about how to make new friends when it seems your life is pretty settled but I promise that there are ways to handle it!
1. Go Out of Your Way to Be Friendly
I’m not saying that you have to be beaming all of the time, but every once in a while, go out of your way to be nice to people! Hold a door for someone, help them clean up a spilled drink at Starbucks, get out a yoga mat for the woman who is always next to you in your after work yoga class- people remember those things and are more likely to talk to you and get to know you if you are open and friendly. I personally am not a fan of the term “resting bitch face”- there is a neutral/not cheesy smiling face, and then there is actually scowling. No one wants to deal with someone who looks like they are permanently pissed off at you, they won’t bother getting to know anything about you.
High fives and dogs are the best way to meet people!
What often bonds people together is shared experiences- volunteering is a fantastic way to meet people interested in similar causes! Depending on what kind of volunteering it is, it can be fairly intensive if you are spending a lot of time together to plan a larger event. When a couple of us planned our sorority chapter’s 85th anniversary, we were spending a lot of our time together (or talking) getting everything together and ready for the weekend, and it felt super weird afterwards to not spend every waking, non work moment together. Putting all of your time and energy into a shared cause really does bond you together, and nine times out of ten you will have a long term friend(s) from it! Plus, there is always someone who can use your help, you will possibly gain some new skills out of it all, and you might take part in some really exciting events!
I have met so many amazing and wonderful people volunteering at my local humane society, in addition to cuddling a lot of adorable rabbits!
3. Join a Group That Interests You
I know that that “interests you” part seems unnecessary, but a lot of people will join groups that are centred around something that doesn’t interest them in the least simply to meet people. While you might meet some very cool and interesting people that way, you also might not have anything in common with them- something that usually helps when trying to make friends. You might find groups through community boards or through other people; you can also check out Meetup.com and see what’s going on around you! Sometimes it’s overwhelming to meet a new group of people somewhere far from your home base, and Meetup allows you to limit it by location! It also lets you know if it’s single gender, specifically for single or married couples, or just open to everyone, and official meetups have to take place in a public space (great for safety). If you are into reading, check out your local libraries and bookshops, some of them may have book clubs! Pick an activity that you are interested in, and see what you can find- it’s the perfect starting point.
More dogs, because dogs are the best!
4. Ask Your Friends/Coworkers For Suggestions
Ask everyone you know how they meet people and spend their time. It sounds weird but I promise that it’s more common than you think- I’ve been working on this post for a few months, and paying attention to what people do, and it is very common to hear people casually ask and chat about what acquaintances and coworkers get up to. I’ve noticed that a lot of people find a group of friends through subbing on a rec dodgeball or softball league, or getting involved in a cookie exchange (unplanned connections). If people know that you are looking out for places to meet friends, they will keep that in mind!** You might even end up being friends with people from your office- it’s not always a guarantee, but that can be a good way to at least start making connections.
**I’ve heard from several people that they don’t want to say that they are looking for friends, because it might make them look “pathetic” or “sad”- I think that it only says positive things that you want to make connections!
Office Secret Santa- a great way to get to know your coworkers!
5. Find Organisations Meant for Bonding
These can be more difficult to find, but there are organisations that are meant for bonding! I joined my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, specifically for the lifetime friendships- most Greek organisations have alumnae chapters and groups in most cities in North America, and even across the globe. I promise that Greek life really is not focused on the “party” aspect, and there are a lot of sisterhood/brotherhood and philanthropy opportunities as an alumna/i! (Some organisations do have people join as alumnae, so it’s very possible.) There are other groups like the Junior League, the Red Hat Society, confraternities, and list goes on! It is a wonderful feeling to know that there are people who will be there for you, no matter what.
I know that it can be hard to break out of your shell and work up the courage to talk to new people, no matter how old you are- sometimes it just doesn’t happen, and that’s a-okay. But if you can take that step, it will start paying off! Sometimes it is just nice to have people in your corner when you are feeling down or just need a little extra support.
How do you meet new people?