When you get to your late 20s, one of the first things that you realize is that new friends aren’t as easy to come by as they were in college.
If you managed to make good friends in school, you’re lucky. But as you grow older, there will come a time when you’ll find yourself looking for new people to share new (or newly discovered) interests with. And sometimes, it does get difficult—especially if you’ve already established a routine or a life with a significant other.
But there are places and ways, and here are 8.8. Be friendly at work
Your world—terrifyingly—opens up when you start working. You realize it’s possible to meet at least one person you have zero common friends with (on Facebook, at least). Hang around the pantry or chat up your cubemate. Don’t just talk about work but get to know at least one person in the office and let them get to know you.
Okay so maybe you’ve been living in that neighborhood forever and you’ve just been too shy to wave or smile at your neighbors. If you don’t have the time (or patience) to get involved in the homeowners association, at least get to know the ones you see often by their first name and be ready for small talk when they reach out. (If you have a dog and they do, too, that can make everything easier.)
No, you’re not too old to party (especially if you’re not the type who gets too drunk and passes out in strange places). Exhibit openings, restaurant anniversaries, book launches (if they’re your thing) are opportunities to meet people who are pretty much into the things you’re into. In occasions like this, you can bump into (and network with) strangers, familiar faces, friends, lost friends and friends of friends.
This is harder than it sounds. Most people in fitness classes just want to be left alone and a lot of those who don’t probably want to hit on you so be careful you don’t send out a weird vibe. But be open to conversation—ask questions, answer questions (if you really know the answer), observe, don’t give unsolicited advice, listen, smile, and don’t be creepy.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to get into? Now’s probably a good time to do it. If you, say, decide to get into photography, you can join workshops and seminars and start meeting people you can swap tricks and tips with.
There’s a Facebook page for every imaginable hobby and interest on earth. Get to it. See if there are members (or a specific page) for people in your area.
There’s nothing like being in a secluded paradise that makes you want to make friends with every person you sit next to. Encourage your group to join bigger group activities (like whitewater rafting) and maybe share a near-death experience with future buddies.
The familiar faces and friends of friends I was talking about earlier? Why not explore that social area? We live in a world of common friends that the most reliable (and least awkward) way of meeting new people is still through old friends. Next time you host a party, open it to your friends’ other friends and see what happens.