When we were kids, making friends was as straightforward as marching up to a new face and asking if they wanted to play. As adults, however, forging new friendships can be a little more challenging. Here are a few things to try when you want to expand your circle of like-minded friends:
- Join a Book Club: Look for local groups that already get together and do things you like to do (substitute “book club” for “knit night,” “jogging group,” “wine tasting,” or whatever else you enjoy). Meetup.com is a great place to start.
- Do Volunteer Work: When you’re passionate about a cause, it’s wonderful to hang out with others who are, too. Chances are there’s a food bank, animal shelter, or library near you that has an active volunteer program.
- Take a Class: Many community colleges have night classes on hundreds of subjects, from gardening to languages to art history. Craft shops often have regular classes, too, like embroidery or wood carving. And, of course, an exercise class at your gym is always a popular spot to meet new folks.
- Go on An Organized Tour: There are tour operators that specialize in trips for solo travelers—and it’s not hard to bond with a fellow adventurer on the same trip. Just be sure the trip you’re taking is geared toward people traveling alone (you don’t want to end up the only single traveler in a group of couples).
- Host a Friends-of-Friends Gathering: Invite some good friends over with the stipulation that they each bring a good friend you don’t already know. Everyone’s been vetted by someone you trust, and multiple people get to expand their friend network.
No matter which method (or methods) you try, remember that just showing up isn’t always enough. Someone has to start talking! Be prepared to introduce yourself to people with a compliment or question to strike up a conversation about your mutual interests.