“Making friends is hard,” I heard someone say the other day.
I don’t agree. OK, making real friends isn’t as easy as clicking “accept” on Facebook; making friends takes effort, but it isn’t difficult. You just have to go looking for people and then invest a little time in them. I’ve made three major cross-country moves in my adult life, which is nothing compared to some nomads, but it gives me a little experience in how to make friends in a new place. Probably most of my friends were made at work, but that’s not the only place.
If one of your new year’s resolutions is to make more real friends, here is a list of places — besides work — where you could find new friends:
- Book club: Check the library or a bookstore — ask people who work there because they might know of non-public groups you could get involved with. I love book clubs.
- Dance class: I just watched “Silver Linings Playbook,” a movie about a guy who has bi-polar disorder and takes up dance. How about beginning ballet or belly dancing? Even Zumba classes, which is sort of dancey fitness, might be fun.
- Professional group: All kinds of professional groups exist, especially for women. I attended a Smart Skirts gathering once in Chicago. Very cosmopolitan. Google can help here or ask a former professor what kinds of groups she might recommend or belong to.
- Politics: Small communities are always looking for volunteers for park boards and other groups. Also, your local Washington or state representatives might need volunteers for their campaigns. The library might have a Friends of the Library group or a library board.
- Parent group: Whether you’re a mom of twins or preschoolers, a single dad or a stay-at-home one, a stepmother or something else, there’s probably a group for you.
- Church: With more “spiritual” than “religious” in America nowadays, church might not your thing, but you can certainly make friends at one where you’re comfortable. Not sure which church/temple/shrine to visit? Try this quiz.
- Poetry slams and book readings: Consider taking up writing poetry and reading it out loud at coffee bars. OK, I know this is a stretch, but even attending such an event and talking with the people who do read their stuff might be appealing.
- Community education: Take a class in making meatballs or photography or anything else that might interest you. You’ll find people with similar interests.
- Direct sales: During my time in the direct selling industry, I saw thousands of women make lifelong friends You don’t even really have to sell much. Good companies have regular meetings where you can meet other people selling and using the same products. Pick a company whose products you love — like a food company or Pampered Chef if you like cooking, or jewelry if you like fashion, or Stampin’ Up or Creative Memories if you like crafts, or a candle company or Longaberger baskets if you like decorating your home. You can find a list of companies here.
- Leisure sports: Find a dart club or bowling league or bike group or jogging club. You’ll get exercise even if you don’t make friends.
- Toastmasters: I loved Toastmasters, a club where you learn and practice public speaking. (This would be good for your resume, too.)
- Knitting or quilting: Want to take up a new hobby? Almost every yarn store and fabric store offers classes and clubs for learning together.
- Alumni group: Find other people who graduated from the same school as you. LinkedIn should have groups to find where you can make posts about alumni meetings or outings.
Have you used meetup.com? I haven’t tried it, but if you have, let me know — depending where you live, there are dozens of options for all kinds of interests. Not finding what interests you? Create a meet up of your own.
Good luck on your friend quest.