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Volunteer in areas that are meaningful and interesting to you. You can volunteer as a coach, for a cultural event, or for a local art show. Whatever kind of group activity interests you, you'll find it at MeetUp.
Scroll through the various events in your city to find something that lights your fire, or type in your interest and see what's available. I've found book clubs, networking groups, and social groups through MeetUp. Talk to your neighbors. Sometimes the people we're looking for are in our own back yards.
Have you reached out to your neighbors lately? If you see your neighbor working in the yard, walk over and offer to help. Or make a little extra soup or an extra dozen cookies and walk them to the family down the street. By extending yourself just a little, you might meet some wonderful new friends within a short walk of your home. Wherever you happen to be — in line at the post office, at the grocery store, or at a concert, start a conversation with someone around you.
Have a few conversation starters handy so you always have something to say to kick off a conversation.
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Yes, this might be uncomfortable at first, but if the other person is friendly and responsive, it might be the beginning of an interesting connection.
Ron and I have a beautiful white collie named Scotch. He's unusual because he's white collies are usually black and tanand he really is a handsome guy.
When we take him on a walk, we get stopped by nearly everyone we pass. Taking your dog for a walk gives people a reason to stop and talk to you.
Other dogs will be naturally curious and drag their owners over to say hello in doggie language. If there's a dog park in your community, take a ball or frisbee and have an outing with your pet.HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AT COLLEGE!!
The odds are good you'll meet a fellow dog lover. Sit at community tables. Find restaurants that have community dinner tables or bar tables. Rather than isolating yourself at a two-top, sit at the community table and get to know the people seated nearby. Reach out on Facebook or other social media. I reached out to a few and have met up for coffee.
Through Facebook, you may discover some old friends or acquaintances that you didn't know lived nearby.
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Host your own casual dinner party or open house and invite your neighbors, people from work, or acquaintances you've bumped into along the way. Invite them to bring a friend along so you expand your potential circle of new connections. You don't have to do anything elaborate. Make a pot of soup or order a few pizzas. The point is to simply bring people together and expand your circles. Find a business association. Are there groups or associations related to your career?
Research local business events and attend them so you can network professionally and personally.
Go to a cultural event. Become an annual member of the symphony, local theater, or ballet. Attend the performances as well as the fundraising and member events. Strike up conversations with other attendees who are there because they appreciate the arts just like you. If you prefer visual art, visit your local galleries, talk with the owners or managers, and discuss the art with other guests. One of the best ways to meet people is in a class at the gym.
But if classes aren't your thing, spend time in the weight room when it's busy so you can converse with other gym rats. If there's a cafe or juice bar at your gym, hang out for a bit after your workout and connect with other members. If you have a couple of friends or acquaintances who have a larger circle of friends, ask them to introduce you to new people.
If you've moved to a new city like I have, maybe your existing friends know people in your new city. Ask them to make an email connection and then follow up yourself to suggest a get-together. Participate in Toastmasters or another speaking club. Public speaking isn't fun for most people, but when you're thrown in a setting where everyone shares the same fears and learning curve, it can quickly break the ice.
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Speaking clubs not only give you the confidence to make presentations, but they also give you the chance to meet a variety of new and interesting people. Go on a wine or beer tour. I live in a city with dozens of local breweries, and brew tours are common occurrences here.
If you have wineries nearby or even restaurants that offer wine tastings, join in the fun and meet other connoisseurs. Beer, wine, and socializing always seem to pair well together. Take a dance class. Ballroom dancing is a great way to get up close and personal with potential new friends or romantic partners. But you don't have to stick with ballroom dance.
Take a jazz class, Zumba, or Salsa dancing. It's great exercise, and you'll meet fun people who enjoy kicking up their heels. Find a church or religious community. If you're a spiritual person or have a strong faith, your church, synagogue or other religious community is the perfect place to meet supportive, like-minded friends.
Go to seminars, book signings, or speaking events. Look in your local community guide to see what happenings and events are coming up in your area. Attend some of these events and try to sit next to someone who might be looking for a new friend too.
Hang out at a jazz or music club.
Do you enjoy jazz or some other music genre that works well in a smaller venue and allows for conversation? Find a cool, low key club where you can listen to great music and start up an interesting conversation.
Take your book or computer to a coffee house. When I start to feel house-bound working from home, I go to a local Starbucks or indie coffee house to work. It's easy to keep your head down in your computer or book, but look up every now and then and survey the landscape.
Strike up a conversation with the person at the table next to you. You never know who you might meet. Do you have an old favorite? This is a great way to have an excuse to hang out. For example, just recently I was talking to a new potential friend about my favorite and the only, in my opinion genuine Mexican restaurant in Portland. I was planning to go on Friday.
I made friends with my friend Stephanie because we both had been dying to try something new: We both were bemoaning how awful the gym was when she said she had heard about a cool Bollywood Dance class.
Then it was easy for me to ask if she wanted a partner in crime to try it out. We also have tried a cardio drumming class and a cook-around-the-world night. Want to try something new? Bring it up and see if they are interested in joining. This is both a fun tease and a woo. Friends lend us ideas, books, clothes, suitcases and time.
This is another great way to feel out a new friendship. Have a book you love? Offer to loan it to them. My friend Samantha was wearing the most beautiful shawl—it looked so warm and fuzzy! If you know something that might help someone else, offer to teach them.
Are you a whiz with resumes? Offer to edit it for your new friend. Are you a great cook? Have a cooking day with a new friend if they are trying to learn their way around a kitchen. I started a Spanish vegetarian cooking club exactly this way. Seven of us got together because we all were trying to practice our high school Spanish and learn to cook more vegetarian. We all go through hard times.
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It might be you, it might be your new friend. You want foul weather and fair weather friends—those who are with you through the good times and the bad. This is a great way to know the depth of your potential friendship.
I never will forget a time with my friend Lacy in the beginning of our friendship. Speaking of weddings, I was having a momentary freak out about my wedding dress. I was sure I had picked the wrong one. I hear this is normal. Anyway, I called her in the middle of the day and asked her if she would be willing to come with me while I tried on my wedding dress one last time.
She took the workday afternoon off, schlepped across town with me and sat with me, being so incredibly supportive as I made her examine it from every which angle. Yes, it was the right one. Yes, she is my best friend today.
Dating Now comes the serious part. You have someone you like and slowly have been courting them. Most importantly, you want to know if you are good for each other. Over the next few weeks, go through more of the wooing steps and ask yourself these three essential questions: Could you be locked in an elevator with this person? Are they genuinely happy for you when something good happens to you? Toxic relationships happen when we secretly have ill wishes for someone or they have them for us.
They get jealous, they get judgy, they get controlling. You can be different, but you have to love each other for your differences. This is the most amazing, fulfilling, mushy-gushy part of friendships. I think this is the part of the friendship where investment really pays off. What do I mean by investment? Emotional investment, time investment, energy investment.
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Even the best romantic relationships require tune-ups and energy. I think it is beautiful. Yes, I am getting mushy-gushy. When your friend cares about something, you care about it by proxy.