Earlier this year, World of Psychology contributor Therese Borchard wrote a popular entry entitled, “10 Ways to Make Friends.” Inspired by her advice and based upon my own experiences throughout life, I present to you another 10 ways to make friends in your life.
No matter what method you try, making new friends requires something I can’t give you in this article — courage. It takes courage to go out and actually take a leap of faith by introducing yourself to someone new and taking a chance you may be rejected. That’s why smaller groups are almost always easier — you can figure out who might make a good friend in such group situations.
1. Join a local Meetup (or start your own).
Meetup is a website that seems like it’s been around forever (but has really only been around since 2001). It allows you to join local groups meeting in your community on hundreds of different topics of interest — from hobbies, to careers or vocational, to entertainment or just shared interests. In another time, these may have been referred to simply as hobbyist groups, but the site allows people to meet for virtually any reason. There were 1,441 groups in the greater Boston area, on topics ranging from hiking, night life, poker, entrepreneurs, and movies, among many, many others.
2. Join a bowling league.
Bowling not your thing? Any team sport will do, whether it be your company’s softball league, fantasy football league, or yeah, even a bowling league. Sound corny? Maybe it is, but it’s a tried and true method that millions have used for decades.
3. Take Facebook to the next level.
Sure, we all have lots of friends on Facebook or another social networking site. But maybe your virtual friends lack giving you that something extra or special thing that meets your needs. That’s understandable, because while online friendships can be just as rewarding and intimate as face-to-face friends, they don’t satisfy all of our face-to-face needs always (and not everyone finds online friendships as satisfying). But you can build upon your online friendships with the ones who are geographically close by suggesting shared activities you can do together locally. It could be as simple as getting a cup of coffee together or seeing a movie together. Even if you’re not close by, some people find talking to another person on the phone is also more rewarding, and a simple way to bump up your Facebook friends to the next level.
4. Consider your favorite religion.
Whether you’re a member of a church, temple, parish or some other religious group, most religions share one thing in common — a sense of building their own community and strengthening internal ties to one another. Some churches seem to operate more as one large extended family than anything, while in other churches you may feel like nobody seems to even socialize with one another outside of service. But they all likely have social groups or other kinds of volunteer groups that you can join, meet other like-minded individuals, and maybe make a new friend or two.
5. Learn something new.
There’s no quicker way to meet new people than to show up in a group of people who are all new to the same thing! For instance, learning any new skill (even if it means take a short class on it at the local community college) usually means you’ll be hooked up with others who are also learning it at the same time. Can it be scary or intimidating? Sure, you bet. But you’re sharing the experience with other strangers, and that’s a sure recipe for bringing people closer together.
6. Enjoy something you already do.
If you already rock in rock climbing or can knit yourself an entire winter wardrobe, maybe you’re just doing it wrong — alone. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite hobby in solitude. But if you want to meet new people and perhaps make a new friend, you can also use your expertise in that hobby as a stepping stone toward your friendship goal. Go on a rock climbing adventure with others, or join a knitting club and add socializing to your hobby repertoire.
7. Volunteer some more.
Yes, I know Therese covered this one, but I’m going to say it again because I can’t emphasize it enough. People who volunteer their time already share something in common with other volunteers — they’re giving people who want to help others in some small way. There are so many organizations to volunteer with — from your local historical society to a nearby town’s food bank — you really have your pick of choices. Even if you do it just once a month, you’re likely to meet a wealth of new people, and a possible friend who shares your enjoyment of giving back to others.
8. Make someplace local your favorite place to hang out.
Whether it be a coffeehouse, a bar, or a bookstore, sometimes familiarity has a way of rewarding us with new friends. While I don’t recommend spending hours at a time just doing nothing, you may be surprised that people will start to recognize you after just hanging out at the same place for a few days or weeks in a row. And if others aren’t reaching out? Start to reach out to them, getting to know the people who work there first, and then extending that out to other people you recognize week after week. Sure, you may never become “Norm!” from Cheers (which is probably a good thing), but you can have the modern equivalent of it.
9. Grow your own food or share your gourmet talents with others.
You’d be amazed at how quickly you can make new friends through food. Whether it’s through growing your own vegetable garden (with plenty to spare to share), or just enjoying cooking something delicious, sharing that food with others (co-workers, neighbors, etc.) may lead to surprising offers of socialization and meeting new people. It seems that everyone can appreciate someone who knows how to cook!
10. Use your kids.
Virtually every single parent knows this trick — use your kids to help perk up your own social life. Whether it be through your local parent-teacher association, or just hanging out at the local playground, your children can easily open the door to meeting other parents and adults whom you know you have at least one thing in common (kids!). This is one of the reasons a lot of childless couples feel left out in a neighborhood — everyone else’s social life revolves around their children. So use that knowledge to your advantage.
Once we get out of school, what seems to come second-nature for some of us — making friends — becomes a lot more difficult. While most of us can make friends at work, we’re often left feeling like a lot of those friendships aren’t as strong or as close as ones we made earlier in our lives. Perhaps that’s a problem with perception, more than anything else. I hope these additional tips might give you some more ideas about making new friends in your life.
I like mine better. Just kidding. t
In this day and age I see more and more (dare I say it â€˜youngâ€™) people wrapped up in them selves and exhibiting interest in their own lives and gossiping about others. I feel this cannot fail to have an impact on their relationships.
In my opinion all relationships have two ‘i’s and involve the dynamic of a two way street.
Showing interest, respect and regard for another goes along way to creating a universal bond and reciprocation of communication and dialogue.
Harking back to the in put form â€œEdward De Bonoâ€ â€˜How to Make friends and influence peopleâ€™ â€“ Class act.
I’ve read both lists. These are some good suggestions for meeting people and that does come first. Unfortunately, there are a lot of us that can meet people, but friendship is a different matter all together.
The only two suggestions that were unnerving was stealing friends and knocking on doors. Both are risky and the first may lose you a friend. The second may see one face to face with a psychopath or one that turns out to be.
These suggestions I think are for the more extroverted and assertive ones of us. Probably, the ones not reading these articles. I’d find most of these suggestions very difficult to carry out from meeting to being friends.
Another thought on this topic is that there most likely is a division somewhere when we are talking males making friends and females making friends. Except for me, I’ve noticed only one male comment and it was on the other list written Therese Borchard. That comment advocated Internet frienships. Maybe he has the same problems as me with the face to face friendships.
I am 50 years old and I’ve never made friends. I have met many people that I thought would be a friend, but it never worked out for me. So, I read these suggestions with a thought of “great, but will not happen for me”.
Interesting ideas– but i am still stumped. With my mental condition (BP II) and the rather complex nature of my history, exactly how do I lead off. If I ever disclose this, it is an automatic death knell to friendship, no matter how nice of a person I am or how bright I might be. And the last– use your kids– is a scenario that really scares me. I don’t want my children suddenly being suspect because their mother has a mental illness. It’s a good way to destroy whatever friendships they may make because in my world, too many people are concerned about what a crazy women might do to other kids. The answer is “nothing,” but the prejudice out there is pretty amazing. Having to conceal your mental status constantly means you’re not really making friends, you’re making acquaintances to whom you will need to routinely lie. That still feels pretty lonely to me.
Ah the freedom of being an aspy before all the social help kids get now. I have watched nature shows which shows that social animals spend most of their social time essentially saying “hi” and checking their relationship to the group.
It seems that this all all most people do. I hear conversations on the street and half ones from cell phone users. Sure most people are not very bright, but the banality is horrifying!!
They are not creating or solving, they are reiterating gossip, sports, and uneducated opinions. And they can not stop, it is part of their evolution. Being social in a tribal society keeps you alive. We have more instincts than any other animal and these cause reactions, just like animals. These instincts express themselves as emotions for the most part.
Being free of some of our animal nature even by defect is not a bad thing. But then I was raised a WASP.
I am lucky I have a very bright wife who accepts me for who I am, and is willing to socialise on her own. True it is sometimes hard as she will engage in small talk with me and I have no idea how to respond. She is getting used to me not responding to such things or questions that seem rhetorical to me. I don’t try to stop her from saying such things, and she is cool that I do not respond.
I have yet to find a way to tell people who try to be friends, that I just do not connect, and that it is nothing personal, which is not taken personally. But people are more aware that we exist, so they do not argue with me, even if they are not sure what I mean. Which is simple, what I say, is what I mean for the most part.
A WASP and aspy I always thought Spock was the normal one. Though he does get a little emotional at times.
Great suggestions for all the lonely people.
Hello from Montana:
Thanks for the great suggestions. I have written a number of articles and a book on encouraging self confidence. It is very difficult for some people to make the initial effort to join in activities.
When you join a group, go with the expectations of helping them. Friendship is a by product.
Please feel free to go to http://www.confidenceclues.com
Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke,family relationship author and keynote speaker
Four months into COVID distancing,
pretty much all of this is moot for a Senior.