Once you’re out of college, and then especially once you’re working full-time and/or part of a relationship, meeting new friends can be tough. You don’t have as much time as you used to, you aren’t surrounded by as many like-minded people and you have an ever-growing to-do list that keeps you from expanding your social circle. That being said, all is not lost. There are a few simple ways to meet new people and forge new friendships.
Start a club
Think about what you love to do or what you’re passionate about – books, art, the outdoors – and find out from the friends and colleagues you do have whether they would be interested in a book club, hiking club, monthly art crawl or whatever you’ve come up with. Of those who are interested, ask them to extend the invite to people they know. Eventually, with enough word of mouth from extended members of the club, you should amass a nicely sized group. Not only will you get to spend time with people you already know and like, you’ll get to know other people in a setting conducive to building bonds and developing friendships.
Join a team
Joining a team is one of the best ways to meet new people and make friends. Teams are full of people who enjoy working towards a common goal and who want to spend time in a group setting. Not to mention when you play a sport, the bonding happens pretty instantaneously because you’re going through so many highs and lows together (e.g. winning and losing). You’re also in a situation where you’re seeing the best and worst in each other, further strengthening potential bonds.
You don’t need to be great at any sports – just sign up for a casual league in a sport you have an interest in.
Learn something new
Taking a class is another easy way to encounter new people with like-minded ideas and interests. Whether you decide to brush up on your rudimentary French or Spanish skills, take up kick-boxing or learn to paddle a canoe, signing up to learn something new will put you in touch with people who could potentially become friends. Being in school makes building friendships easy because you’re around so many people, making taking a class the next best thing to turning back the clock to when you were actually a student.
Don’t discount doing something for a good cause as a way to make friends. When you’re helping out an animal shelter, cleaning up local parks or conservation areas or organizing non-perishable goods at a food bank, you will be doing it alongside people who have a similar worldview or who at least share your feelings about helping out less fortunate people. Feel out your fellow volunteers and see which ones seem closest to you in either age or personality. Once you feel comfortable, introduce yourself and ideally, develop a rapport which has the potential to turn into a friendship.