A few weeks ago, I checked in with a friend who recently moved out of state because of her husband’s job. She had a great professional life here and is looking for a job in her new city but, in the meantime, it means that she and their super cute son are hanging out this summer and, not surprisingly, finding new friends in the middle of summer—without school or a job to help make connections- isn’t easy.
She asked if I had ever written anything about finding new friends as an adult. I hadn’t, but thought it was an awesome idea so I started by asking my Facebook friends and Twitter Followers how they had found their best adult friends. Here is a round up of their suggestions and my own.
Volunteer. This is an awesome way to get to know your community and possibly make some good friends. Use a site like volunteermatch.org to find an organization that fuels your passion or check out an organization like Girls on the Run.
Learn something. Take lessons or a class in something you have an interest in or have wanted to explore. Salsa dancing, yoga, canning, nutrition, or cooking classes were mentioned on my Facebook wall.
Network. Check out Meet Up groups for your area as well as professional groups that might be sponsored through your local Chamber of Commerce.
Work out. Find a gym and don’t just jump on the machine. Take some classes where you might connect with someone. One of my dearest friends now is a woman who was complaining to her husband about not being any good at running at the end of a spin class. I introduced myself to her and told her that I would be happy to take her out running. That was at least eight years (and many triathlons for her) ago. Her son was Happy’s first friend. One of my Facebook friends suggested signing up for Team in Training; she made great friends through their training program.
Get social. Media that is. Follow local businesses and personalities in your town to get a feel for what is happening and where it is happening and if there are some folks with whom you might share a connection. I’ve struck up some great friendships via Twitter with people. Connecting via social media might be an easy strategy for the more introverted adult and it allows you to see if there is someone you might really click with in real life.
Join. Whether it is a church, synagogue, mosque or another spiritual location, if being in community aids your spiritual expression, find a spot for you to lay down roots as you will likely find community in events or after services.
Hit the playgrounds. Tami from Teacher Goes Back to School pointed out that she has met some lovely fellow introverts during the morning hours at her local playgrounds.
Linger. Visit your library and coffee shop and hang out a bit. People come back to these places and regularly and you’ll start to recognize each other and exchange pleasantries and more. Moreover, check out their community boards where you might spot some fun get together or classes.
Crowdsource. Put it out there to your friends—in real life- and on social media that you are new to your town and are eager for any connections they can make. As one of my Facebook friends keenly pointed out, the world is so interconnected that even if you do not know anyone in your town, someone you know likely does and would be happy to make an introduction.
Find a timebank. As Sarah of Fighting Windmills explained “It’s an alternative currency economy (hours instead of dollars). For example, I clean my friend L’s house for 3 hours on 2 Tuesdays. Then I have 6 hours in the “bank”. I need my friend R to help me with an air-conditioning duct that was damaged by squirrels in my attic. So he earns those 6 hours for the time he is in my attic repairing the duct. Now he can get help with whichever project he has in mind. It works great for kitty-sitting, childcare exchanges, harvesting a bumper crop, etc. It’s like volunteering, but you’re a little more accountable because the hours are recorded.”
Party. Host a party for your immediate neighbors or even a few more. Also, if your partner is working and you aren’t, host a dinner for your partner’s work friends (and their partners).
Walk the dog. People love dogs and always stop to chat with you when you are walking one (heck, I stopped my run yesterday because a puppy showed interest in me and I just had to return the favor). Use that time to chat people up!