I think we take for granted sometimes how easy it is to make friends as children and teens. We go to school with kids our age through high school, and then if you go to college, you have access to yet another massive social circle. College especially gives ample opportunity to make new connections – you have class, you have clubs, school functions, parties, travel abroad, etc. – it’s amazing! But what do you do when you leave school and you are no longer constantly surrounded by people of the similar age with similar interests?
With the ever-increasing prominence of technology in our social lives (social media, dating apps), I sometimes fear that younger adults these days may have less practice meeting others in person. If this sounds like something you are struggling with, read on!
- The first step in making new friendships and connections is knowing what you’re looking for. If you value having people in your life who are active and lead a healthy lifestyle, put yourself in positions to be surrounded by that kind of person. Join a gym, or climbing gym, or local running group – these are all excellent ways to feel awesome while meeting like-minded people! Love to cook? Join a cooking class. Want to meet fellow animal lovers? Volunteer at a shelter!
Do the things you love.
- When you are actively enjoying yourself, you are magnetic to other people. I have met some amazing people simply by doing activities that bring me joy. I have met friends through yoga classes, coffee shops, traveling, walking around farmers markets, and yes, even at breweries.
Put yourself out there.
- When we are constantly stuck scrolling on our phones, we forget to stay present in the real-life people right next to us. I ended up having a long-term relationship with a man I met at a bus stop. I am still good friends with some English guys that I randomly traveled with in New Zealand, and a regular customer I had when working at a bakery. The point I am making here is that humans are social creatures and we love feeling seen. It may seem scary to initiate conversation with a stranger at first, but the vast majority of people will want to engage with you and you never know what kind of special person you are interacting with until you open the door for conversation.
Even if you aren’t necessarily looking for new friendships or relationships, I urge you to try some of these out regardless. The next time you are on the bus, or standing in line at a grocery store, instead of looking at your phone, try asking the person next to you a question or give them a compliment. Even if you never see that person again, I guarantee you will both leave that interaction with a smile.
Written by GUADS staff member Kate