Having a strong social circle has been scientifically linked to boosting your health, improving your confidence, and helping relieve stress in everyday life. Not only are they there to celebrate the good in life, friends can also help you get through the not-so-good parts.
Once one reaches adulthood, finding new friends can be challenging as work, family, and life responsibilities can make it difficult to find the time — and the energy — to hit the road to expand your social circle.
That being said, there are some resources that can help you meet new friends in your area.
Use the Web
In leveraging the web to meet others, it’s always important to focus on safety and not give out personal details like your phone number or home address.
Using an online network like MeetUp, you can find those with similar interests as you without having to reveal your personal details. There are a number of different opportunities available, such as networking at an entrepreneur event, chatting about your favorite book at a book club, or heading to trivia at a dive bar with recent transplants in your city.
Other networks, like FitFluential, offer events throughout the country to help their members connect with other like-minded individuals in real life, giving them a chance to expand their social network around their passion for health and fitness.
So, how do you find these networks?
Think about your interests. Many forums and groups are dedicated to particular interests or life events. TheKnot.com, for instance, is a resource for people planning weddings, and members often organize real-life meet-ups.
Search your social media networks. Hashtags, or any word found on social media with “#” in front of it, offer a way to tag posts. If you are looking for local activities for people who enjoy kayaking, searching “#kayak” on Twitter brings up posts that can help you find local networking opportunities.
Research. Take it into your own hands and do some research! Search the web for local networks. Many local bloggers will talk about different networks that they are either members of or that they know of within your area. They are a great resource to find opportunities to meet new friends.
If you’re reading this, here’s a no-brainer idea: join the Plum Deluxe tea of the month club. Members cite the Facebook group as one of their favorite features of the club. Not only will you be a part of a virtual circle that will support you, you can enjoy gift exchanges with other members each quarter, but also talk to other members in your area and plan your own tea meetup!
Leverage Your Hobbies
Hobbies make it easy to connect with others as you immediately have something in common with the person. In doing so, you can strike up a conversation, which can gradually shift to other interests.
Niche hobby stores will host gatherings for their customers, which offer an opportunity to meet others. Running stores, for instance, hold a number of different running events, while yarn stores may host knitting classes or get-togethers focusing around the craft.
To find these opportunities, browse the store websites or visit in-person to learn about their schedule of events.
Local events offer an opportunity to meet other people. Book signings, keynote speakers, and professional networking events are all opportunities to meet new people and build relationships.
Professional associations and organizations will often host breakfast and after-work events to help you network with those in your profession. There are other groups, like The Junior League, that unite people who have a common goal — in this case, to help others.
Beyond professional events, attending others — such as concerts or races — can help you meet others that enjoy a common interest. At these events, it may be a little bit more difficult to make a long-lasting friendship, but it does give you an opportunity to chat with someone new.
Volunteer in Your Community
Volunteering offers a unique way to connect with others in the community. Websites like Volunteer Match detail different opportunities to help out in your community so you are able to match your interests and availability with open opportunities.
Some opportunities are short-term, such as planting trees in your neighborhood and helping out at a local food kitchen, while others offer an opportunity to help out on an ongoing basis, like volunteering on a board. There are even opportunities to volunteer at music or cultural events that come to your city, which can be a great way to meet people and experience the event for free.
No matter how you meet your new friends, it is important to remember to be patient. Whether it turns out to be a life-long friend or an acquaintance that you speak with occasionally, friendships are built up over time, as shared experiences make your relationship stronger and more memorable.
Photo Credits: Pixabay, Simon Harrivott, Tishman Environment and Design Center.