Activities that help you meet people and make friends
There are probably a lot of names that come to mind when you think of your childhood friends, and you may even still be in touch with some of them. You had friends everywhere: at school, on your sports team, at church, and in your neighborhood. In fact, making friends was almost done for you until you were a young adult. You were surrounded by people your own age who were in the same stage of life as you, so you had a lot in common.
But now that you’re settled, you may realize that it’s been a while since you made a new friend. Your life has started to go in a different direction than the lives of people you knew when you were young. You now live in different places and care about different things. Some have full-time jobs, others are settling down in serious relationships, and you may even know a few people who are starting to have kids. Or, maybe you just moved to a new city and your job is doing well, but your social life isn’t.
Adults have to work to make friends. But it’s worth it to make new friends because loneliness is the biggest threat to public health, and its costs are expected to rise. In fact, research shows that being alone a lot can make someone much more likely to die early from chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, or depression.
Even though it can be hard to make friends because we all have our own schedules, it’s important for your emotional and physical health as an adult to put yourself out there and meet new people. Studies show that the more friends you have, the happier you’ll be with your life.
Activities that help you meet people and make friends
1. Join a club for runners
Most people want to stay healthy, and joining a running club is a great way to do both. Even with the best music, running by yourself can get old fast. Also, it’s hard to stay motivated to increase your speed or distance when there’s no one there to cheer you on.
A lot of fitness bloggers, like A Pretty Place to Play and Eclectic Cake, say that people in running groups are very friendly and helpful. And if you’re worried that people will judge you, you’ll soon find out that everyone has felt that way at some point, so people will probably go out of their way to make sure you don’t feel that way.
You can make good use of your free time and give back to your community by volunteering. Find a place that interests you and could use some extra help. In the process, you’ll meet people who are just like you and with whom you already have something in common.
Also, volunteering has a lot of good things to offer. You can make new friends, learn new skills, and add different experiences to your resume to help your career. It can also help your mental and physical health by reducing stress and depression and giving you a sense of purpose.
But getting back to meeting new people, a shared activity is one of the best ways to build new relationships. Volunteering will help you get to know more people in your area and build your support system as you do meaningful work with other people who also want to help.
3. Take your dog to the park
If you have a dog friend, find a dog park or a group that meets to walk dogs. People care so much about their pets, so you can do the same while your four-legged friend is out with other people. Your dogs give you something to talk about.
If you keep going to the same park or walking with the same meetup group, it won’t be long before you start to recognize faces (both human and animal) and learn more about the people and their lives outside of their pet.
4. Join or start a book club.
Think about how often you finish a book and can’t wait to tell someone about it. By joining a book club, you’ll have the chance to talk about the books, share your own thoughts, likes and dislikes, and hear what other people think.
This is a great choice for everyone, but especially for people who like to read. Find local book groups on Facebook or ask a coworker or friend if you can join theirs. If no one has any ideas, invite some people to your own club and tell them to invite other people they know.
Having a conversation planned out ahead of time makes meeting new people a little less stressful. You will all already have something in common, so there won’t be any awkward silences.
5. Talk to the people around you
Are you one of the 61% of people in the United States who get along with their neighbors? If you don’t, you probably have neighbors who do and who would be happy to start a conversation with you.
Take some time to look around your neighborhood to see if there are any places where people gather close to your home. Even though walking is a healthy hobby in and of itself, it can also give you the chance to meet new people. Use this chance to find out about places to hang out in the area, groups in the area, and upcoming events.
Even though the people in your neighborhood come from different places, the fact that you all live in the same place gives you something in common. Meeting different kinds of people can teach you a lot, and doing so with people who live close to you will make you feel more like a part of your community.
It’s also useful to be friends with your neighbors, especially when you need help. It’s very helpful to know someone close by in case you get locked out, need someone to watch your house while you’re away, or just need to borrow a few eggs at the last minute.
6. Go to events in your area
It’s easy to get caught up in your own daily routine and forget that the world and your community have a lot more to offer than your usual routine. Going to a community event gives you a chance to meet new people and learn about new ideas that you could use in your own life.
Look for things to do in your area that interest you, like art gallery openings, comedy nights, intellectual lectures, dance recitals, concerts, or other events where you can meet people who like the same things you do. But don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone and go to something you’ve never done before. Talking to people who come from different places than you will definitely be interesting, and you may find that you have more in common than you thought at first.
7. Join a forum on the Internet
The easiest way to meet new people online is to go to one of the many online forums where people look for people with similar interests to talk to. In a lot of ways, making friends on an online forum is the same as making friends in real life, and over time, friendships can grow beyond a shared interest.
8. Run for City Council
Local politics are a great way to meet people who live in your area. You can run for office in your city council, or you can just join it and start going to meetings if you want to do something less time-consuming. This will not only give you a say in what’s going on in your neighborhood, but it will also help you meet people who are just as affected by some of the decisions your city makes as you are.
The more meetings you go to, the more you’ll get to know people in your neighborhood who are just as committed as you are to making improvements for the good of their neighbors.
9. Schedule Blind “Friend Dates”
If you like the people you already know, you can ask them for help. Ask your current friends to go out with you and bring a friend you don’t know. This will help you meet more people. If you trust your friend, you’ll know that whoever they bring will be fun to be with.
Or, if you’re even more brave, leave your mutual friend out. Have someone help you find a date, but don’t bring that person with you on the big date. If you do this about once every few weeks, your group of friends will grow quickly.
10. Use the hobbytwin app for social media
You might think that social media is a big reason why people are becoming less social, but it can also help bring people together. You can use social media to get in touch with people you’ve lost track of or to meet people you’re connected to but haven’t met yet.
You can also use social media to find out about local events where you might meet some new people.
11. Participate in your school’s alumni group
If you went to a big college, there’s a good chance that there’s an alumni group that meets regularly in your area. Having something in common like college is just a way to start a conversation. You can also talk about what you did after college and where your degree led you. You could even do this while watching your alma mater play in a college game on TV.
12. Learn another language
Learning a new language is a fun and challenging hobby that will give you the chance to meet and talk to people from different cultures than your own. And once you know their language, you can make friends with people you might not have thought you’d get along with.
When you learn a new language, you can travel to places that might have been hard to reach before. You can also make friends all over the world. If you sign up to have a language partner, you can even make international friends while you learn. By doing this, you will be able to learn and speak the language with a native speaker.
13. Attend live music shows
If you like live music, make it a habit to go to live shows in your area. Most of the time, there are local musicians who want to share their skills with the community. This will bring in other music lovers.
Be open to talking to people you haven’t met yet, and build the courage to initiate that conversation, too. You already know that you have something in common: you both like music.
14. Go to trivia nights and other similar events.
If you enjoy friendly competition while drinking, you might want to join a trivia team at a nearby bar to meet new people. Places that offer trivia nights often have trivia managers that put teams together–so if you’re new, you can be added to a team that is short a player. This will make sure you have at least one fun night with friends and laughs every week.
15. Team sports for the community
No matter how serious and organized your Thursday night softball league team is, playing a sport together is a great way to meet new people and spend time with them regularly. It’s easy to get close to teammates when you play a game or do something physical together. Also, practice and game days usually end with another social event, like drinks at a nearby bar.
So find a sport that you enjoy playing and see if there is a league in your area. There’s a league for everyone, whether you like to bowl, play pool, dodgeball, or even just cornhole.
You might think it will be weird to start talking to people you don’t know, but you’ll get used to it. The best way to get to know someone is to be interested in them, but don’t fake it if you’re not really interested.
You might not meet your next best friend the first time you try. You might even meet people who have nothing good to say about you. But keep talking to people who aren’t quite right because they might be able to introduce you to their friends, friends of friends, etc., who might be a better fit.
When you meet new people, put your best foot forward, but don’t forget to be yourself. Your real friends in the future will like you for who you are. Also, remember that your new friendship should be a two-way street. You shouldn’t try to force yourself to like someone you don’t feel comfortable accepting, supporting, and trusting. You should only have friends who make you feel safe and respected.
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