By: Jessica Lee
Loneliness can wear a person down. If you are starting a new stage of life (college, new job, marriage), it is easy to fall into a cycle of living lonely days. Without friends and family surrounding you, lonely days will leave you feeling at worst, depressed, and at best, okay.
But we were not created to live an okay life. We were created to love others and to build each other up. We were created to laugh and go on adventures. To love life, not just feel okay with it. Friendship and community has SO much to do with your happiness level. When you are surrounded by loved ones, you feel encouraged, loved, and energized.
So whether you’re ready to branch out in your hometown, or you’ve recently moved to a friendless area, here are some tips to make new friends!
1. Befriend your co-workers.
I get it that some of our co-workers are literally the opposite of what we want in a friend. I’m not saying to befriend all your coworkers. But maybe there is one your age or one who shares similar interests that you could strike up a conversation with. Even if you don’t meet up outside of work, at least you’ll have someone to sit with at lunch or to carpool with!
2. Invite people to specific events.
After you meet an acquaintance that you seem to get along with, saying “I hope to see you again soon!” or “Let’s hang out sometime!” leaves you feeling good for a few days until nothing happens. It’s almost like waiting for the next phone call after a first date. I have found that when you invite someone to hang out at a specific event, there is a much larger chance that it’ll actually happen. Saying “Let’s hang out sometime” is too vague and easily forgotten, for both you and them. Find a local event – a concert, a farmer’s market, an opening restaurant – and put it right out there. Say, “Hey, I was thinking about going to an open-mic night on Saturday. Want to come?” That way there is a flat yes or no answer (hopefully yes) instead of the looming maybe we’ll hang out someday.
3. Find a social hobby.
Find something you love to do! It could be fitness related such as yoga, biking, or kayaking. It could be more crafty, like gardening, knitting, or cooking. Whatever it is, think about joining a club or signing up for a class. It’ll help you get better at your hobby, as well as find other people who are similar to you. Look at libraries, book stores, and gyms to find clubs that attract your interest. Look at schools and studios to find a class!
4. Go to everything.
When you don’t know many people, it is so easy to decide to skip on extra curricular work or neighborhood activities. But if you are really trying to meet more people, I suggest going to everything you can. Work parties, church activities, neighborhood picnics, etc. Try to find a few people you know or someone who looks your age. If it gets awkward or you get bored, you can leave anytime, but at least try!
5. Be willing to drive.
Even if you moved across the country from your friends and family, thanks to social media, we are connected to hundreds of people who live in every state. If one of your old friends lives relatively close to you, take a day trip or a weekend visit. You want to stay connected in your friends’ lives, and it’ll give you a good boost of community and encouragement. Find what distance is drivable for you and be willing to go there for special events, concerts, birthday parties, etc.
Above all else, KEEP TRYING! Don’t give up. We were meant to live in community with each other. Find people who make you laugh and make you a better person. Be nice to everyone. You never know who your best friend will be!
“Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine