When did everything get so hard?
Somewhere along the way, we grew up. Life started getting bogged down with responsibilities and plans for the future. While much of this is exciting, what happens all too often as we start laying aside our childhood, is we unintentionally put aside our innate ability to make friends easily.
Don’t believe me? Think back to when a trip to the playground ended in a ‘new best friend’ after about 20 minutes of sharing the swings with a stranger. Now ask yourself, when is the last time you connected that quickly with someone new?
The problem is adult friendships are crucial, not just to our mental well-being, but to our physical health as well. It’s been proven that having friends leads to less stress, less chance of heart disease, and longer life.
But where do we find these new friends?
Try an App
Hey!VINA is for ladies, as well as Bumble Friends and they work much like a dating app, but with one very significant difference. Here the goal is to find someone with like interests you may want to befriend. A quick swipe of your finger starts a conversation, leading to a connection and eventually, friendship. The other go-to’s are Facebook, and LinkedIn where you can search like interests via “Groups” and begin to engage.
Have an interest? Find the app that supports it. If you run, bike or Hike – Strava is your jam. Find locals that are enjoying your interests. Follow them. Comment. When confident they are real people, and safe… ask to meet up and enjoy the activity together.
Try a Meetup
Looking for some fun group activities in your area? Meetup.com is easy to use on your computer, tablet, or phone. Here you search for events of interest to you. You’re then presented with a variety of groups who like to engage in those activities, giving you a chance to meet several interesting people at once.
I like MeetUps because they have structure. You can go, check it out, and know that there is an end that you can graciously take advantage of if the group is not for you.
Signing up for a class allows you to indulge in a new interest at the same time as meeting someone new. Always wanted to cook gourmet dinners? Been thinking about taking flying lessons? Whatever interests you, this is a surefire way to meet new people. This is a go-to for me. I love the hybrid learning examples that exist to learn online, meet virtually, and have the option to meet tacitly.
Online communities like Action Leadership Team serve to form community and friendships through the pursuit of common interests.
Grab a Book
Your local library or independent bookstore is a great place to indulge a love of reading while at the same time, getting to know someone new. Book clubs stimulate you intellectually and introduce you to people in the community who share a love for the written word.
Take a Walk with a Furry Friend
If you have a dog, why not explore more than your own backyard? By taking Fido to your local dog park, you’ll have an opportunity to meet other dog lovers, while at the same time, giving your faithful friend a chance for a little puppy socialization. This is a win all around!
Meeting people doesn’t have to be complicated. Opportunities truly are everywhere. So be bold and try something new. You’ll be glad you did!