The Ultimate Guide to Meet New People: 10 Steps to Make Friends
You’re in your late 20s, maybe early 30s and you’re just realizing that your social life is virtually non-existent? Join the club!
Whether you moved to a new city or decided to focus your energy on developing a career or a relationship, you are one of the many young adults everywhere who are silently contemplating loneliness.
Out of all the things you learn about adulthood, the ultimate guide to meet new people is non-existent. No one tells you what to do when your all your friends get in serious relationships and you start wondering if it’s time to get more cats. Or when you move to a new city and start warming up to the homeless man on your corner of the street.
But it shouldn’t be this hard, right? After all, you’re just doing the same things you did as kids, only now you actually may have interesting things to share. So why is it so difficult?
In many cases, the difficulty is in our heads.
It turns out that once you step out of your comfort zone and muster the courage to actually approach people, you’ll be surprised by how many new friends you can make. True, they won’t all be your BFFs, but you’ll have lots of acquaintances and casual friends.
I know it can be difficult to start this process, which is why I created the ultimate guide to meet new people. Below are 10 easy steps to get you going in the right direction so make sure to go through them all.
#1: Be Excited about Invitations
What’s your first reaction when someone (a work colleague or an online acquaintance) invites you to an event?
Is it “Oh, I don’t know, I’ll have to check my agenda” or is it “Wow, that sounds great! Let me check my schedule and see if I don’t have anything important that day.”?
Even though both replies seem the same, there’s a huge difference between the two, and that is the level of excitement. The first shows you are indifferent and maybe not that into going while the second shows you are a warm person, interested in new experiences.
In reality, we tend to give the first type of answer when we want to avoid showing vulnerability. Still, to the person making the invite, it’s not that fun and they may avoid you for the next event invitation.
Be 100% all in and don’t be afraid to show you are into going out and meeting new people!
#2: Initiate Social Interactions
How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many of these are casual acquaintances? The average person has at least 10 or 20 people they casually talk to in social media even though they don’t interact that much in real life.
Change this by sending everyone a movie invite to the local cinema. Or organize a coffee klatch event or a beer night and ask people out. It’s not weird and it decides you as the leader of the group if things work out.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and move social interactions in the real world!
#3: Use Technology to Find Likeminded People
Since we’re on the topic of social media, you can also use it to find events you may be interested in. Out of the plethora of events organized by local bars, museums, sportive organizations and so on, you must find at least one interesting!
Don’t be afraid to check “Going” and actually go to see what’s going on. You can go alone; no one is going to judge you for this! Even more, you might meet other people who also came alone, and if you don’t like the atmosphere, you can leave at any time.
Use technology to your advantage and have new experiences that will put you in contact with like-minded people.
#4: Add Value to Discussions
Regardless of the fact that it’s a business meeting or the regular chit-chat happening by the water cooler, make sure to offer your contribution to the discussion.
No, this doesn’t mean you have to engage in gossip; it means you should participate in discussions, not just sit there, trying to be invisible. Because, guess what, it doesn’t take long for invisibility to happen in social situations!
If you don’t have anything to say to make the discussion more interesting, just offer your positivity. People like being around positive people and so, they will include you in their next group event (which you should accept with excitement).
Don’t be the outsider just because you’re shy. Push yourself to participate in conversations; otherwise you’ll come on as cool and distant!
#5: Don’t Be Precious
It’s absolutely normal to want to be selective about who becomes your best friend, but it’s difficult to find that BFF if you find reasons to push everyone away.
So, the fifth rule of the ultimate guide to meet new people is: don’t be precious about it! Of course, some selection is necessary, so try to find people with which you share at least one common interest. This way, you’ll have something to talk about and you can do cool things together.
For instance, some people are great to invite watch the football game over the weekend, while others are great for discussing that new book you’re reading. Try to find common ground and accept new people in your life, because they may have a friend who one day, may become your BFF.
Don’t reject people because something puts you off; try to see them as a whole person, with both talents and flaws.
#6: Volunteer for Events You Like
Events happen everywhere, so look for the ones that are interesting and offer your services as a volunteer.
For instance, there are music events, cultural events, charities, cooking festivals, and so on. Once you identify the ones you like, look for the coordinator and send them an email, asking if they need local volunteers. Usually they do and they will be happy to include you in the organization.
It’s not just an amazing occasion to have a different experience, it’s also a great opportunity to meet new, like-minded people and connect with them.
The secret here is to not join events with the sole scope of meeting new people! Join them to improve your life and learn more about things you love to do. This way, when you do meet new people, you’ll have a common passion and plenty of things to talk about.
#7: Experience New Things
This is more of a sequel to the #6 tip, as it’s in the same area. Except now I invite you to join activities you would want to try. Join a class at your local university, start running and find groups of beginner runners, start a wine tasting course, do anything you will enjoy and that will improve your life.
When you experience new things you learn to leave that pesky comfort zone, and you open yourself up to the world!
Be the person you always wanted to be! Try new things and you will meet new people in the process!
#8: Have a Favorite Place
Do you like drinking coffee every morning? Why not do it in a vintage coffee shop, while you’re reading the news or doing some work?
The same goes for many activities, and it helps if you have a place that’s close to your heart. Maybe you like a bar for the atmosphere or you enjoy a cute little pizzeria. Make this place your favorite spot in the city and visit it as often as possible.
Not only will this get you used to be out in the world, but it will also make you more approachable. You may meet other regulars, or you’ll simply have a meet-cute with people who are just passing by. You never know.
The idea is to put yourself out there and allow people to notify you. Be approachable and friendly and some friendships are bound to happen!
#9: Make Eye Contact and Smile
No, you don’t have to stare at the person sitting next to you! You just have to notice people that notice you and look open to a friendly chat.
Yes, you may also get asked out on dates, but you can easily specify you’re not looking for this kind of relationships. Still, if you are always staring at your phone/tablet/laptop and have your earphones on, no one is going to approach you!
By making eye contact and smiling (not too much though!) you let people know you’re warm and fuzzy on the inside and you’re looking to meet someone just as warm and fuzzy for a cool chat.
#10: Summary of the Ultimate Guide to Meet New People
This is more a summarization of the tips above than a tip on itself, but I find it helps to draw a conclusion.
So, to meet new people you have to put yourself out there and be approachable. If you just go to work and then straight home, no one will ever come and drag you off the couch! Try doing activities you like, go to events you enjoy, and always be open to offering a smile and a friendly “Hello”. Things will unravel from there.