If you believe what you read, people just keep getting lonelier. Anywhere you look, you can find news reports detailing the “epidemic” of loneliness.” The New York Post even came up with the cheeky headline, “Friendship is currency, and Gen Z is going broke.” It would be even funnier if we could laugh about it with our friends, but alas…
But you’re not here for a pity party. You’re here to figure out how to change this dynamic. Making (and keeping) friends isn’t rocket science, but it does require some effort. Let’s look at some of the steps you could be taking. Here are eight of the best ways to make friends.
Join a Club
Whether you’re on campus or off, clubs are a thing. Pick something you’re already knowledgeable about or want to learn more about, and check out a meeting. There will probably be some like-minded people there — after all, you share at least one interest in common.
The Meetup app is a great way to discover off-campus clubs. And Bookclubs is a place where you can find…wait for it…book clubs (your local library might have a list, too). If you’re on campus, almost every college has a list of clubs and student organizations you can join.
Join a Pick-Up Game
Do you play soccer? Basketball? Pickle ball? Another sport? If so, head to a park and join a game. Will it be awkward at first? Maybe. But nine times out of ten, all you have to do is find a group of people playing sports and ask if they “need another?”
Once you’ve joined the game, someone in the group is highly likely to invite you back to play again. Instant friends.
Join a Pick-Up Game, Non-Sports Division
For the less athletically inclined, do you like tabletop board games? If so, there are comic and game shops and board game cafes that regularly host game nights. People there are often looking for another person to round out their game. It’s another fun way to meet new people who share your tastes in social activities.
There are tons of organizations out there doing good in the world, looking for volunteers. Love animals? Check out local shelters and rescue organizations. Prefer people? Look for a food rescue or food bank that needs help.
This is another great way to meet people — staff, other volunteers — who have at least one interest in common with you.
Try a Friendship App
If you’re reading this because you’re out of ideas about how to make new friends, you are not alone! Plenty of other people are feeling the same way, which is one reason friendship apps are a real thing. Ya know, swipe right, except for friends.
If you’re struggling to meet people IRL, try an app like Yubo, Bumble BFF, or LMK. These apps have slightly different features, but all have the same goal — connecting you with new friends. Try a couple of them to see what works best for you.
Go to a Show
We’re using show pretty liberally here. Could be a band you’re into. Or a free event at a local art gallery. Or a car show or a book reading. The point is, once you’re there, do your best to be outgoing. Talk to at least one person you don’t know. After all, you have a built-in topic of conversation — the show you’re both attending. And if you want to hang out again, you can always see if they’re planning to attend the next concert/art show/car show/book reading!
Expand Your Existing Circle
Already have a friend or two? Do they have other friends besides you? It’s time to meet those people. As many of them as you can. You already have one commonality — find out if there are others!
Schedule a group activity so you can all hang out. And then do it again. Before you know it, your friend’s friend will be your friend too.
This one is more of a vibe shift than an activity suggestion. A lot of us spend a lot of time looking at a screen, whether it’s scrolling TikTok or bingeing Netflix. That’s absolutely okay — up to a point. But when screen time starts getting in the way of social interaction, it’s time to change things up a bit.
Activity shifting means making a point to schedule more social activities. Schedule coffee or a meal with someone else. Or attend an organized club or meeting you’ve never been to before. And then keep scheduling it. You can’t make new friends when you’re alone, scrolling or streaming. Be intentional about calendering more time away from your living space and your connected devices.
Start Enjoying the Benefits of Friends
Now that you know some of the best ways to make friends, it’s time to get out there and try them. Just remember — putting yourself in situations with other people doesn’t automatically make you friends with them. You still need to interact. Ask questions and listen to the answers! Smile! And say yes when you get invited back for another hangout!
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