How Can I Make New Friends
Several months ago I wrote a post titled “Why Don’t I have Any Friends”. I think it’s a pretty good post but here’s the funny thing. It is by far and away my most viewed page! That has honestly shocked me. What this also tells me is that there are some folks searching on that topic. This led me to think a few days ago, maybe I should write a follow up post. Something along the lines of how can I make new friends. So here we go.
I mentioned this in my post about Why Don’t I have Any Friends but it bears repeating here to lay the ground work. When we are in middle school then high school then college it seems easy to find and have friends. Most of us just do. We wind up hanging out with other guys because they live in our neighborhood or ride our bus or play on our baseball team or whatever. And it’s just natural, we don’t have to think about it much. Then we move into the adult world and what happens. Life happens.
Which means we have to be grown up and do adult things. All of a sudden we don’t have nearly the amount of time for guy friends that we once did. Then when we have kids, forget about it. That takes things on a whole other lonely direction. So as we get older it’s easy to lose track of our guy friendships. Some of us are good about holding on to a few good friendships from our younger days but many of us aren’t. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s answer the question, how can I make new friends.
A Common Theme
I want you to think about what I said about how we wind up friends with others when we are younger. We meet them on our sports team or on the bus to school or at church. Sometimes we meet and hang out with them simply because they live in our neighborhood. A perfect example is my 18 year old daughter who just finished her freshman year at college. She became best friends with the person she shared her dorm room with 14 years ago when we moved in next door to her!
What I am getting at here is that in almost all examples there is something in common. Could be living in the same neighborhood. Might be going to the same church. Might be on the same baseball team, etc. As an adult this isn’t any different. You will wind up being friends with people that you have something in common with. Now that we’ve established that, let’s look at some ways to make new friends as an adult.
Ways To Make New Friends
Check Your Current Environment
So to stay in the same ballpark as when we were kids, look around at your current environments. Are there any guys at work you want to hang out with? If you go to church, how about there? I know many guys lose all of their hobbies as they get older but if you’re involved in group hobby type stuff, this could be ripe ground for finding friends. Take a look around your neighborhood. I’ve always wanted to start a guys poker game in my neighborhood, just never actually did it. The problem is of course that as adults with lots of responsibilities we find ourselves in the same exact environments for years, with the same pool of potential guy pals. It’s worth taking a look at the guys in your current groups to see if there’s any potential friend there.
Volunteering is a great way to meet people. Let’s be honest, if you are volunteering at something just to meet people that’s probably not the best thing in the world. If you volunteer at something that you are passionate about or even interested in it’s a great way to meet people with the same interests and passions. It puts you in the company of people that like at least something that you like. Maybe an animal shelter or feeding the homeless or Habitat for Humanity or whatever. The cause is up to you. Pick something that you want to help make a difference in and volunteer once a week or once a month, whatever works. You’ll be around a lot of people that are interested in the same cause.
Get A Hobby
I know it’s difficult to one day say to yourself “I think I need to get a hobby, wonder what it should be……?” It’s certainly possible but it’s like where do I start? If you have things you are passionate about or were interested in as a kid, that’s a great place to start. For instance when I was in high school and college I was an artist. I got my BA in Fine Arts and I was a drummer in a band for about 5 years post college. I was artsy. As I “grew up” that got put on the backburner to do husband and father type things. That’s fine. A few years ago I picked up the painting gig again and loved it. I still have my drums in storage if I ever want to fire that back up.
Think back to when you were a kid. Did you play baseball? Then join a softball team. Want to be a little bit more daring? Try kickball. Do you like trivia and beer? Join Geeks who drink. It’s awesome and they seem to be in a whole bunch of cities. The sky is the limit with hobbies. My suggestion if you are stuck is to think back on what you loved to do as a kid. If nothing strikes your fancy there think of something you’ve always wanted to learn.
If you haven’t checked out Meet Up you are missing out. It’s an awesome online platform for groups to get together. Almost any type of interest you have there’s a group for it (as long as it’s legal). If you go to meetup.com and type in your zip code there’s a huge list of groups you can join and “meet up”. Some of them have meetings once a quarter, others once a month, others several times a week. A buddy of mine joined 5-10 different meetup groups after he got divorced as a way to meet more people with common interests. He joined a hiking group. a motorcycle riding group, a jousting group (not kidding), a beer drinking group, and on and on. He really liked it. Check it out.
Leverage Your Kids – Or Something Similar
If you have kids you know exactly what I’m talking about. You meet other parents (and potential friends) at so many different opportunities. Picking up from after school care, at school functions, at birthday parties, at sporting events, at karate class, etc. You get the point. Your kid is going to have friends and play in sports or other activities and go to school. Wherever your kid needs to go, there’s going to be a parent, at least when they are younger, and the potential to make new friends.
I like the neighborhood we live in for the most part. We’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 14 years. It is a great area for younger families and younger kids. So when we moved here it was perfect. Now that my daughters are 15 and 18 not as much but it was at one point. For a good 5 years we were great friends with all the neighbors in our cul de sac. We would have many late nights hanging out in driveways while the kids played, especially in the summer and fall months. It was awesome. Those days are a ways past but we sure made a lot of friends that way.
If you don’t have human kids having pets allows a lot of the same thing. Taking your dog to a dog park or going on walks in areas where dogs and their parents like to hang out. I was recently at a birthday party for a brewery and there were almost as many dogs as people there. And let’s just say there were a few nice connections happening, dogs and human both.
Find New Friends
As you can see there’s a variety of ways you can find and make new friends. It takes a little bit of effort but that’s true of most things in life. We have to get out of our comfort zone a bit and that’s okay. Nothing worth having comes easily typically.
If you’ve asked yourself recently how can I make new friends take a look a the suggestions here. If you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them. The hard part is putting yourself out there and asking a guy if they want to go get a beer or shoot hoops or whatever but it’s well worth it. Like many guys my age I have to make sure I make time to do things with friends. It’s easy to put it on the back burner with all of the duties of life but having good friends is priceless. It’ s well worth the effort.
Here’s to good friends!