Feeling lonely is one of the worst experiences that we face as adults but is all too common. If you’re in a new city, you’ve just ended a relationship or you’ve changed jobs recently, you can find yourself without a network of close friends which can be hard.
Even if you have lots of friends though, you might still decide you’d like to meet some new people. Perhaps you don’t have anyone who shares a particular interest? Or maybe you just find yourself with nothing to do on a Friday night a little too often?
The Right Situation
The first step in expanding your social life is to plan where you will find this new friend. It is possible to make new acquaintances in many situations, such as work, university or a class that you attend. Your existing friends may be able to point you in the direction of some of their friends whom they think you would enjoy spending time with. Alternatively, you may enjoy spending more time with your cousins or other family members – they can be friends too remember.
It is also often worth thinking of friends who you knew well but have lost contact with; if your circumstances have changed you may be more likely to maintain contact now. On the other hand, you may be best served by meeting new people in order to strike up a lasting friendship.
Spend More Time With People
One of the best ways to make new friends is to increase the amount of time that you spend with acquaintances of colleagues; spending more time around other people will increase the likelihood of you talking to them which in turn will help you all to get to know one another. For example, spending time at lunch with your colleagues will increase the chances of you developing a relationship with them more than simply working in the office.
Join a Club
Joining a club or a society is not only a great way to pick up a new skill but will also allow you to meet people with whom you have an interest in common. For example, joining a sports club will help you meet people who take tennis just as seriously as you do. Sharing an interest is a great way of sparking up a conversation and meeting people once a week gives you a great opportunity to know them. You may enjoy joining a sports club, a book group, a cookery class, even a language class. Volunteering is also a great way to meet people while giving something back to the community. The regularity of clubs also ensures you’ll keep seeing the same person allowing you to build rapport, while being partnered up for an activity can create fun bonding opportunities.
Start a Conversation
Starting a conversation with someone you do not normally talk to can feel particularly daunting, especially if you do not know the other person well. However, more often than not, people enjoy getting to know someone else and hearing another point of view – almost all of us can benefit from having new friends! If you’re wondering what to talk about, then consider just asking about their day. It’s a lot less forced than approaching them with a prepared speech!
Do not be afraid of taking a risk and joining your new acquaintance in activities they invite you to. Joining new friends or groups of friends in a situation new to you can feel uncomfortable but often the best experiences can happen from unexpected situations. Sharing quality time with new friends is a good way of getting to know them better and solidifying your friendship. Your friend might like to share a drink or a meal with you or even invite you to meet their friends. Accepting their invitation will be flattering whereas declining invitations can feel disappointing to them and they may be disinclined to ask again next time.
Perhaps more importantly though, you need to accept invitations so you can practice the art of socializing outside of your comfort zone. The more you do this, the more natural you will become at mingling.
Organize a Get Together
Inviting a colleague or a new contact to lunch can be a great way of getting to know them away from your usual environment. Organizing a party for your new social group is a fun way to bring people together and will leave everyone keen to get to know the host. Your new acquaintance will be flattered that you are interested in getting to know them better. Don’t wait around for an invite – get proactive!
Keep in Touch
Once you have made a new acquaintance that you are interested in getting to know better, make sure that you stay in touch with them. Friendships require effort to create and maintain; so communicating with your friend will ensure that your friendship doesn’t fizzle out after a short period of time. You might wish to add them on social media, send them a text every now and then; even call them occasionally to see how they are or to discuss something. Don’t be a pest of course or you will push people away – just make sure you keep up a sense of familiarity and don’t go for months without speaking in any way. Otherwise it can become awkward the next time you do catch up!