Making Friends Outside Again
Now that we’re all able to go out again and explore life and the world, many of us are doing that. But, some of us are doing that by ourselves. And that can feel lonely sometimes. So, let’s go out there and make some friends.
Making friendships as an adult is not always easy. In fact, for many, it can be very hard. And many don’t know where and how to start. But, thankfully, we’re here to help.
If you’re an introvert and don’t know how or where to socialize; if you’re someone whose social skills have faltered after the past year of lockdowns and restrictions; if you’re someone who hasn’t attempted to make a new friend since going to college or before, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are some starter tips on how to make new friends in an increasingly COVID-19 vaccinated world.
1. Enjoy Your Hobbies Outside
First and foremost, you have to have a positive mindset as you go out into the world. You can’t be shy and closed off to socializing, because then you’ll never make friends. Instead, actively seek to engage with the world around you.
One easy way to do that is to engage with hobbies and activities that you already enjoy. Are you a geek and enjoy D&D, find out if a local game shop or comic store holds weekly sessions. Then sign up and join. Do you like sports? Join a community soccer or football league. Or, go to a sports bar and watch a game. Think about your hobbies and interests and find a way to engage with them outside of your home. Chances are, you’ll meet people who also enjoy these things and that is the first bridge to become friends with them.
2. Become A Frequent Face
Next, you’ll want to become a frequent face in these places. There’s a reason that Cheers was such a popular tv show for so many years. Everyone loves the idea of having a place where everybody knows their name. Well, you know how you start to become a frequent face in such a place? By frequently showing up.
Show up to a coffee shop, a bar, a shop, a church, or so on. And, make sure to talk to people every now and then. You don’t have to be a social butterfly, but sharing a few words every time you visit helps to make you memorable. Becoming a frequent face in spaces and communities is all about showing up and being friendly in the space. From there, natural connections and friendships will form over time.
Of course, don’t expect to meet a new best friend on your first outing. Focus on having fun and enjoying life and expect friendships to naturally happen with time.
3. Hang Out With Established Friends
But hey, do you have a friend or two already? Hang out with them. Chances are, your friend will have another friend. You know that phrase, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend?” Well, we have another saying for you. “The friend of my friend is likely a new friend.” You already have something in common with that third person, your mutual friend. And who knows what other commonalities you may share.
On top of that, you can go out with your friend to make social engagements easier. Maybe you don’t want to go to that party by yourself. Maybe you’ll feel awkward hanging out at a pool hall alone. That’s ok, call up your friend to see if they want to join. Having a friend with you can ease any worries. Plus, that can present new socialization opportunities. Your friend may make a new friend while out and now you have a new person to talk to as well. Friends are like social lube for social events.
4. Utilize Obligations
From going to a wedding to taking your dog out on a walk, the things you take for granted as an obligation in life can also be seen as an opportunity. If you have to go on a work trip somewhere or are forced to participate in a party with a friend, you might not be totally excited. But, that presents an opportunity to socialize and make new connections. That’s great! Again, it’s all about having a positive outlook on life and its events.
Obligations can be chances to make new friends. If you go to them, you’re already being forced to go out of your house and to participate with other people. See if you click with someone while you are at that obligation. Or use the tools in your hands like a cute dog on a walk. After all, people love talking about or to cute dogs.
Again, obligations not always just obligations. They are opportunities too.
5. Nurture Friendships
Lastly, what do you do once you’ve made a new friend, recieved a number (or Instagram account), and want to nurture this fledgling friendship? Well, you should take it slow. Don’t try to rush the friendship and end up ruining it. See if you two have a common interest or hobby. Then, see if you two can engage in that interest in some way. You both like a certain video game? Go hang out and play it? Both of you like sports? Go to a sports bar to hang and watch a game. Like coffee? Hang out at a coffee shop or go to a new shop neither of you has visited and make it a review hangout.
From there, take your time to get to know your friend. And then, enjoy the journey more than the goal of making a friend. Focus on having fun day by day and enjoy the simple pleasure of being outside, making a friend, and connecting with someone away from a computer screen.