I remember a time when I was younger and still in school – Life was full of places to meet new people. It seemed like I was almost constantly meeting new people and making new friends
As we get older though, we settle into more of a routine kind of life. We visit the same places and see the same people. This sort of consistency is not a bad thing. It is an indication that you have identified who you are and what you like. It also reflects an interest to make yourself happy by continuing to do the things that you like.
One downside of this though is that you are not getting opportunities to meet new people. New people that have fresh experiences, fresh stories and fresh knowledge that you can share.
Below are a number of places that you might be able to meet people and expand your tribe.
People are constantly complaining about how the internet has changed the way that people interact. Meetup.com is a great reflection of how this power can be used for good instead of evil.
The number of groups in your local area will often depend on where you live. Places with more people are obviously likely to have more groups.
Local Facebook groups
Facebook is another great way to find people in your local area.
I have personally seen Facebook groups used really successfully in my area to bring together new mothers. Like many other people, new mothers are often looking for other people in similar situation to connect with.
Facebook groups enable a place to share information, ask questions and arrange in-person catch-ups. Because of the ongoing connection online, they also work to increase the friendship and familiarity offline. Like any social interaction, you will get out what you put in. If you are an active member of the online group, people will also feel more connected to you at any arranged in-person events.
Organized sports are a great way to meet people that share a love of similar sports to you.
Team and solo sports are both just as good because much of the interaction actually happens ‘off field’. People will want to focus on the sport when the game is on. It is the time before and after that much friendly conversation takes place.
If you find people that are at a similar level to you, it is likely that you will bond through shared improvement. If you happen to be much better, you may not learn as much about the sport but you will definitely have a chance to make friends through sharing your knowledge.
Just like sporting clubs, there are social clubs for all sorts of interest groups. One of the best ways to start communicating with people is to find some common ground. If conversation is based on something that you are already passionate about, it becomes even easier. This is particularly important if you are a little shy or reserved. If you get on a roll talking about something that you love, you might even forget your shyness!
Your workplace is probably one of the easiest places to start looking for people that you might resonate with. It is easy to see if they are your kind of people while also being able to keep your distance if they aren’t.
Because you are already spending time working towards the same goals, there is a real chance to see if your colleagues are your kind of people. You have a chance to find how they view the world and how they handle difficult situations.
Catching up with workmates after work is a fairly common thing. If it isn’t something that your workplace does, maybe you could be the one that suggests it. Invite a few of the people that you get along well with for a group lunch or drinks after work. You should be able to see pretty easily if you are able to connect with them in a social situation.
Just avoid talking too much about work. This is normally an indication (for you and the other person) that you don’t really have much else in common. If all you have in common is work, it is very easy to slip into complaining about it when you run out of other things to say. A little ‘debriefing’ is ok, too much complaining though and you just end up looking like a sourpuss.
Volunteer groups, Charities or Non-profit organizations
Although each of these might be slightly different all are great places to meet people that are passionate about the same cause.
These also have the advantage of being able to do something great at the same time. You can give something to help a cause that you care about.
Parents of other children
When your children are babies, mothers groups are great support networks for people going through similar life events.
These relationships are formed based on shared experience. For ‘first time parents’ especially there is so much to learn and it seems that everyone has an opinion. It is great to know people that you trust and know are going through the same things.
As your children get older though, you may find that you have less in common with the other parents. Like most things, when we feel that we know enough, we stop looking for (or accepting) the answers.
Keep yourself open to opportunities
One of the best ways is to meet people is be open and put yourself out there. As we get older we tend to get more conservative. Often we also become more judgmental – we develop this idea of the ‘sort of people’ that we are friends with.
When you are young, everyone is your friend. You can meet someone at the park and after playing on the swings for 5 minutes, they are your BFF. At times it is almost the opposite as an adult though. We look at people and dismiss them based on irrelevant things like the way they dress or where they work.
If you are truly interested in bringing people into your life, you may need to overcome these preconceptions. Meet everyone with an open mind and hold out on judging them until you know enough to judge them properly.
If you truly acknowledge that you are looking to expand your tribe, it will happen. You will be surprised how just being aware that you are on the search for new people to bring into your life will make them appear. Often in unexpected places.
Photo by greglobinski