Remember those good old times at school when you went up to the other kids and asked if they wanted to be friends? You might still want to do that as an adult, but somehow it seems awkward. Talking with friends, colleagues and even strangers, everyone would say they would be happy to make more friends and are open to meeting new people, so why does it feel so difficult to do that?
Familiarity Works Best
Think about when you were little. Making friends at school, your neighbourhood and other activities you took part in was easy. One key factor for that was being together regularly. Seeing the same people every day at school and university helped to get to know them better and they slowly became a part of your daily routine and life. The same is true about your neighbours. Since they lived close by you could see each other in the street and it was easy to visit each other’s houses and play. Over time, you were all good friends. This element of being together for long hours with the same people is usually lost as we grow up.
Two cases when you can take advantage of familiarity as an adult are flatmates and colleagues. Living together in the same house gives you plenty of opportunities to sit together in shared spaces like your kitchen or living room and cook or chat with each other. Likewise, your work colleagues are with you 8 hours a day and you can get to know them better during lunch time, depending on your job. Organising flat or work nights out can also help you socialise out of your usual environment and you can then extend that circle by throwing a house party, where all your flatmates can invite their work colleagues too, bringing more new people into the mix.
Always Keep Learning
You may think that the time of sitting in a classroom with people is long gone, but it doesn’t need to be. As children we had to attend school and our parents chose most of our extracurricular activities, ideally with some input from us. Meeting new friends in a class gives you plenty of opportunities to socialize, whether in the form of group studying, extra practice or simply by chatting about a shared interest and why you both love getting better at it. For example, if you have a passion for music, you can sit with your classmates and play songs together or form a band.
As adults, taking up classes may not be the first thing that pops into our heads when thinking about how to spend our free time, but there is no reason why not. Learning new skills not only makes us better people and broadens our horizons, but also helps us meet new friends who share the same passions. If you love dancing and wish you knew some people to go dancing with, take up a dance class. Then organise a social, where you all go out to a club and use the skills you’ve learnt. If you love nature, a hiking club will be perfect to get out and explore the wild, with regular hiking trips and you might meet new friends who also love fashion by taking a sewing class.
Proximity Is Key
Going back to becoming friends with people you can see regularly (like your flatmates and colleagues), it may be time to get to know your neighbourhood better. Particularly when you live in a big city, you may not always be able to travel for an hour to get a pint with a friend. However, if your friend lives just around the corner, or works near your office then it will be much quicker to meet up when you want to. There is nothing like texting your friend to put some shoes on and meet you down the pub, knowing that 5 minutes later you’ll both be sat down with your pints.
A good tip to find people who live or work locally is to start exploring the local businesses. From your local pubs, cafes and shops to even the supermarket you go to, start noticing the staff and the customers and try to say hello to people you see often. Going there when they are less busy means you might get to know the staff by name, which will in most cases not only get you better service, but also valuable information about your area. Ask for recommendations, share your thoughts about the food in the area and when you see them again ask if they liked what you suggested. Eventually, you can get on first name basis and you can then suggest going to the pub some time. You already know it won’t inconvenience them so the chances they’ll agree are much higher.
Smile As Much As Possible
The older we get the more we learn about the dangers out there and the less we trust strangers. That is of course natural and caution is always advised, but this shouldn’t stop you from looking open and friendly when you meet new people. Smiling, offering to help people who need to and giving compliments will open a lot of doors for you and will help attract other friendly people towards you too. Hearing something kind can make someone’s day and if you make people’s day they will definitely want to keep you around. So even if you are not ready to trust people from the start, being friendly towards them is always a good place to start.
Always remember that there are other people out there feeling the same way you do, so you do not have to be alone. We know that very well since all of our members are here on citysocializer exactly because they are looking to make new friends and they are trying to do something about it. So, we give them the platform to organise drinks, dinners, fun days and night out, day trips and more, so that every member can have the chance to find new people like them.
If you want to know more, just check our website.