If there’s not a work or school environment surrounding you, making friends can be really hard. A recent survey says that the average American hasn’t made a new friend in five years, especially if they’re over the age of 21.
Unlike dating, friendships are harder to pursue online, and might even be more complicated to nurture. In order to develop a real friendship you must find common ground with someone, run into them every now and then and enjoy each others’ company. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Here are five methods that can help you meet new people and make friends, no matter how shy and socially awkward you are.
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One of the reasons why making friends in school and college is so organic is because people are there for reasons other than making friends and meeting people. The fact that a larger motive brings you all together means that the pressure is off when it comes to socializing; you’ll only be doing it because you want to and because it’s the natural next step. Find a volunteer organization that is fulfilling and interesting to you. With some luck, this will bring you closer to people who are friendly and who are interested in the same things as you.
Join a club
Clubs are another great way to sneak in friendships inside an activity that you would otherwise enjoy on a regular basis. No matter the club – be it about books, working out, or food – it’s an activity that will bring you closer to people who have common interests, which is the basis of any type of friendship.
Traveling alone is a very effective method for meeting new people. These friendships tend to blossom quickly since you’re already pushing yourself out of your comfort zone by spending so much time alone. Adding another person to this equation results in a very vulnerable experience for everyone involved.
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Solo trips are also special because they give you the opportunity to control the amount of time you spend with others and the time you spend alone. Of course, you still have to put into some effort. Go out to bars, stay in hostels and open yourself up to meeting others.
Go to a convention
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Conventions are great if you’re the type of person who is really passionate about something, allowing yourself to have fun and blend in with hundreds of people who are all very excited to experience the same thing as you are. These places are also spots where there’s low pressure and that make you feel like everyday rules don’t apply.
Apps like Bumble BFF and Friender are designed to develop friendships, which might feel a little awkward but hey, there are tons of success stories. There’s also Meetup which is an app that facilitates gatherings of people for classes, clubs and more.
There are endless tools at your disposal, so go out and make some new friends.