Making friends isn’t as easy as it sounds these days. And unfortunately, research shows that people are increasingly becoming lonely, which adds more pressure to this process.
This is a harsh idea to think about, right? Well, considering how COVID-19 has treated 2020, it’s almost becoming normal to have less people around you.
But, I don’t think it has to be the case. At least not completely. I do think there are ways people can make friends. Both in-person and online.
Enough small talk. Here you go.
1. Say “Yes” more often.
As it may be more comfortable saying, “Maybe next time,” that just increases your chance of it not happening.
Accept invitations more often and see how much easier it can be to gain a friend or two in the process.
2. Make a goal.
Throughout this post, you will notice tips that stand out as motivational strategies to help you out along your path. Consider making a goal the first of many hidden tips.
Start with the goal in mind and work backwards from there. This can look like:
- Make a list of interests.
- See if others have similar interests.
- Look up events with my interests.
- Begin going to these events.
- Be open to opportunity in talking to others.
- Talk to others, ask questions, listen.
- Make one friend.
- Invite them to next event.
This is what making goals does look like. There’s no way around it. Keep reading and see what other goals you can try regarding making new friends.
3. Use your skills.
Paint nights were not only created for lucrative business, but they also help connect strangers. Win-win if you ask me.
Use skills you already have (e.g., art, sport, etc.) to gather others who are also interested in sharing similar experiences.
4. Learn skills with others.
You’d be surprised at how many free and low-cost classes there are where you live. (And yes, they exist all over the internet, too.)
See what you can do to Google different types of classes (e.g., cooking, singing, etc.) nearby and begin making connections with new friends.
5. Connect with co-workers.
I get it. You see these people for hours a day, but maybe that’s enough of a foot in the door to put a little more effort into a better relationship.
You can start small with one co-worker at a time, or host a get-together for co-workers only. I’m sure the right people would show up.
6. Attend cultural events.
Whether you’re new to your city or have been living there for years, if there’s one thing that stays constant are cultural events.
Often, these types of events are free to the public and are full of people ready to connect.
7. Go dancing.
Look into what the nightlife looks like where you live and begin making a plan to go out and meet new people.
Perhaps, these are better suited atmospheres to connect because everyone is gathering to have the time of their lives. Why not make friends in the process?
8. Ask someone for a favor.
Usually, this is a good technique to connect with your neighbors. Think of asking for some sugar, a lawnmower, etc.
The idea here is that you let them know you can repay the favor which shows your level of trust as a new friend.
9. Cold call or cold text.
In sales, cold calling is a way to connect with potential customers. Think of this if you try this process.
To cold call or text does sound pretty random, but it does get the ball rolling in reconnecting with those you already know.
10. Tag along.
This tip is great for those who may have someone already in mind to hang out with more. Perhaps, a friend you know who goes out often.
See what you can do to check in with them every now and then and ask to tag along. You never know who else you may meet.
11. Get a pet.
Yup, you read that right. Sometimes, getting a pet is the beginning step in making more friends. Obviously, friends who are a lot less furry.
Consider this tip a cushion for complete loneliness. Pets have the amazing ability to change us in many ways. Check out Tip #9 in this article to learn more.
12. Visit a library.
This day in age you’d think libraries are a thing of the past when it comes to new friendship. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are dozens of libraries with plenty of readers. See what’s near you, take a trip there, and go directly to the genre you’re interested in. You may find a new friend there.
13. Shake up your mindset.
Making friends can be hard if we make it that way. Often, mindset can be the obstacle in this process.
Ever have the thought, “People just won’t like me.” or “Other people are not nice.” It’s these thoughts that get in the way of friendship development.
Try these thoughts on for a change:
- “I am worth getting to know.”
- “Others are worth getting to know.”
- “I won’t know unless I try.”
- “Maybe, meeting people isn’t as bad as I think.”
- “Loneliness isn’t inevitable.”
- “There are others out there trying like me.”
14. Travel alone.
I think it’s such a brave thing when I hear people traveling to other countries, or new places, completely alone.
But that’s the beauty of it: traveling somewhere new and alone can only open doors in meeting new people.
15. Join trivia teams.
There are plenty of cities and towns that have thousands of people who enjoy all types of trivia. These competitions are usually held in restaurants, bars, or other public places with food.
Do a quick Google search to see if where you live supports something like this. If not, start one yourself and begin to connect.
16. Compliment strangers.
It’s not everyday we receive or give compliments. But you’d be quite surprised at how effective a single compliment can do in the beginning steps of friendship.
Next time you’re out and about, give a genuine compliment to a stranger and see where that conversation goes. You may make a new friend out of it.
17. Attend city council meetings.
This one may sound like snoresville, but when you’re in a room with others who have similar passion about local policy as you do, now those are friends to connect with.
Look up your city’s council meeting calendar and the agenda. Look for specific items you may be interested in and start attending.
18. Start a gaming group.
If you enjoy playing video games, chances are you’re already connected with an online community. If not, I’d suggest beginning there.
But, if you’re wanting to develop in-person relationships, see what you can do to join or start a local gaming group.
19. Take continuing education classes (CEs).
CEs can be anywhere from taking a single college course, or a free online class. The purpose is to expand your knowledge, but you can make a friend or two in the process.
Check out your local community college for both CEs and ungraded classes (Yes, those exist). Chances are, you’re going to meet others who are searching for friendship too.
20. Use an app.
“There’s an app for that,” is also applicable to developing new friendships, and with real people.
Here’s a shortlist of some of these apps:
- MeetUp: Connect with others with similar interests.
- HeyVINA: Empowerment app for women meeting girl friends.
- Atleto: Find a new gym partner or friends for other sports.
- NextDoor: Meet your neighbors and develop friendships.
- Peanut: Moms connecting with other moms.
- MeetMyDog: Meet up with other pet owners.
- There definitely needs to be more apps dedicated for men. (contact me if you know of any) 🙂
21. Join active Facebook groups
Got an interest? There’s probably a Facebook group dedicated to that interest. Make sure they are active though, and start sending friend requests.
Don’t got an account? Make one, and then go to the search bar on the very top of the page and begin typing in your interests. See what’s out there and connect.
22. Practice asking questions.
Here’s another personal tip to help you succeed in friendship development. Begin practicing asking questions. Why? Because asking questions is a part of the building blocks of friendship.
Often, I tell my clients that the power of inquiry can really connect two people, hence why therapy works so well with this process.
Here are a few ideas of what types of questions to ask:
- Location: ask questions based on the location you and this person are at.
- Recreation: ask questions based on the sport or activity you are playing at the time.
- Transportation: ask questions based on how they get from A to B (this one can lead to great stories).
- Residence: ask questions about if they are a local, from another state, or country on origin.
- Lastly, ask “do you” questions. “Do you” questions are my go-to for friendship development. Start you question with “do you” and ask about who, what, when, where, and why. For example, “Do you know where the nearest gas station is?” Sure, this is small, but this is how many new friendships begin.
23. Karaoke time.
Whether you go with a friend or alone, karaoke night never has a dull moment.
See if local bars or restaurants provide karaoke nights. Chances are, there’s a group of people who usually meet weekly.
24. Coach a team.
Did you play a sport growing up? If so, see if you can volunteer your time to coach a team. Many parents of the players connect well with their kids’ coach.
Maybe you didn’t play a sport but you’re interested still. No matter. Look into volunteering as a referee (or other nearby positions) just to get your foot in the door to begin developing friendships.
25. Have a yard sale.
Got some stuff needing to go? Why not have a yard sale to let locals know you’ve got stuff that’s on its way out the door.
Gather up your items, post a few signs, and you’d be surprised at who you can connect with at a simple yard sale.
26. Join the PTA.
If you’re a parent, Parent-Teacher Associations is not only the place to advocate on your children’s behalf, but is a sure way to connect with other parents.
Contact your children’s school’s main office in order to get up-to-date information about how to join the PTA.
27. Workout with ZOOM.
Covid-19 removed a lot of people from their local gyms, but there are ways around this. It’s time to get a little creative.
Use the gym app from tip #20 above and see if anyone is interested in connecting with you via ZOOM for a workout. Once you got your group, one of you can Facetime a free workout on YouTube.
I personally do this 4 days a week right now with people all over California. It works!
28. Volunteer at church.
If you’ve got a home-based church you attend, see if there are any volunteer opportunities.
Many churches also have small groups for more intimate discussions. You can definitely make great friendships going this down route.
29. Be open to opportunity.
This one is just a curveball for you to read as a reminder that you can do this. It’s going to be tough, but making new friends can be worthwhile.
Being open to opportunity is one of the main ingredients in connecting with new people. If you think it’s worth it, then it’s worth it. Keep giving it a shot. You got this.
30. Take an improv class.
These are for individuals who may be more comfortable at doing sillier things around strangers. All in the names of fun and creativity.
Search and see if there are any local improv classes where you live and potential friends will meet, act out scenarios, and laugh together.
31. Speak in the frequent zones.
Think of a place, or places, you frequent often. Maybe, it’s a store, a shop, a park or something else.
See what you can do to start small talk with others in places you find yourself more often. You’d be talking on your own turf. Win-win.
32. Use Discord.
Discord is like a combination of Reddit and Instant Messenger: it’s a place to build online communities with actual people who want actual connection.
Whether you’re a gamer, business owner, podcaster, designer, speaker, or want to throw a party online. Discord is the place to do it.
33. Join biking groups.
If you’ve got a bike then this tip might do the trick. See if there are any local biking groups or known trails to meet other bikers at.
Don’t got a bike? Time to get creative. See if there are any local organizations, like this one in Bakersfield, California, that support those who volunteer with a build-your-own bike program.
34. Network as a business owner.
Own a business? Great! There are plenty of both online and in-person opportunities for small business owners to connect with one another.
Check out your local Chamber of Commerce and see if there are any networking events coming up. You may find your next friend there.
35. Wine/ Brewery tasting (21+).
Some like beer, some like wine, but if there’s one thing that people can do during these events is make a new friend or two.
If you’re wanting to stay local, you are more than likely to connect with others at a brewery. Wanting to make friends elsewhere? Going wine tasting may be your thing.
36. Establish reconnection.
Similar to cold calling or text, many of us have an old friend we haven’t spoke to for awhile. If this is you, see what you can do to reestablish old connections.
You can begin this process through use of social media to find old friends or going to local events and saying hello to people you are already familiar with.
37. Get some coffee or tea.
Coffee shops, tea bars and other businesses dedicated to beverage lovers are the places to be when connecting with others.
Think both big and small when it comes to this. Big, meaning you may find a new friend at Starbucks. Small, meaning you may find a new friend at a mom and pop shop locally. Pick your poison.
38. Take up photography.
Photographers, both new a seasoned, have the amazing ability to bring others together to build lasting memories.
If you’re interested in connecting with others with photography, I’ve met plenty of avid photographers who take photos and ask permission to tag others in this process. Some of these connections can be longterm.
39. Start a podcast.
Similar to tip #38, podcasting is the process of bringing people together that have similar interests, and the willingness to talk for hours on end. Some can say they’ve met their best friend this way.
Most people can use their cell phone as personal recording equipment. You can get your name out their via social media, putting an ad out, or by word of mouth.
40. Start or attend a community garden.
Got a heart for a shared community when it comes to agriculture? Then this is your tip to follow.
In the name of going green, many local non-profits, universities, and other programs have created community garden projects. See if your community offers this and begin to connect.
41. Have a block party.
Perhaps, you don’t really know your neighbors too well and you’d like to change that moving forward. So, why not have a block party to start it off with a bang.
Gather up party supplies, some food and beverage, and post some flyers around your neighborhood. If you build it, they shall come!
42. Leave isolation.
Here’s another personal reminder of what it does take to connect with others: remove yourself from isolation, and as often as you can.
It can seem like a heavy burden to establish new friendships. Heck, it may seem impossible, but isolation does not help. See what you can do to start leaving your humble abode more often just to get out.
Waiting for friendship just doesn’t work out as well as it sounds. Get yourself up and see that you’re worth connecting with.
43. High school reunion.
I know. I know. High school reunions are not ideal for many who didn’t have the best high school experience. Let this be your comeback and make some friends in the process.
This tip is more time-sensitive, but that shouldn’t stop you from planning on going to your next reunion. This could also be beneficial for those attending their spouses reunion, too.
44. Treat a friend to a date.
Got a friend you’d like to get to know a little better? Take them out on a friend date. Of course, you’ll want to do this with someone you already consider a friend.
Although Bumble is meant for intimate dating, Bumble BFF is dedicated for those who are only interested in developing friendships. You can start here if you do not have that one friend you can treat already.
45. Explore more.
Sure, you may know your city pretty well, but that shouldn’t be the excuse not to make friends.
Get prepared by taking a book with you or something tangible that can strike up a conversation with onlookers.
46. Start a blog.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve connected with by starting the blog you’re reading from right now. Just begin writing what you like, know, etc., and people will connect with you.
You don’t need money to start a blog. You can click here to make a blog completely free. Seriously though, there’s no credit card needed.
47. Start a side hustle.
The internet has really provided opportunity for people to use their skills as a service. This is good news for those looking to connect.
Figure out something you can provide others, develop a customer base, and maybe you’ll be able to really connect with others who see your vision. The limits are endless with this one.
48. Go to an open mic.
Whether you’re the performer or in the audience, open mic nights are a fantastic way to connect with others.
Check out the events at your local college, coffee shops, improv club, or theater to see if there are any open mics coming up.
49. Don’t give up.
Okay, here’s my last insider tip about finding new friends: seriously, don’t give up. That’s the easier path you don’t want to go down.
The idea of making new friends seems like quite the task because most often, we make it that way. Yes, what I am suggesting is getting out of your own way in this process.
Our minds can be our best ally or our worst enemy, and when it comes to making friends, the latter seems to come up more.
Here are some extra tips in staying motivated:
- Focus on a goal.
- If the goal is too big, make it smaller.
- Practice asking questions to strangers more and more each week.
- Remind yourself this is a process.
- Take care of yourself if you find yourself burning out.
- Your first attempt won’t be your last, and each attempt will teach you something.
- If it’s anxiety getting in the way, please give this a read.
50. See a therapist.
You probably saw this one coming on a mental health blog. But, there are dozens of benefits in working with a therapist when it comes to friendship development.
You and your therapist can focus on any mental health symptoms that are obstacles in finding new friends, make goals in meeting others, and can work on great techniques in connecting with others.
There you have it. 50 ways in how to make friends, both online and in-person.
Soon, I will be making a guide in practicing developing deeper relationships with current friends.
We could all use a little more closeness.