According to The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, 70% of our happiness stems from our relationships with other people. These relationships include number of friends, closeness of friends and family, and you co-workers.
After finishing school, it becomes more challenging for us to make friends as an adult. This happens for a variety of reasons—work and life get a lot busier as we go out into the real world, and our formerly socially-dominated lives begin to change.
Maybe you recently moved to a new city and don’t know anyone, or maybe have a group of acquaintances, but haven’t bonded with anyone yet.
Whatever the reason is, there are simple actions you can take to make new friends and improve the connection with the people you meet.
How to Meet New People
In a past blog post, we shared the data on loneliness— about half of Americans feel lonely. So while you may feel alone, in actuality you are not. Consider this, if half of Americans feel alone, there is a 50% chance that when you meet someone new, they are also wanting to meet new friend.
But how do you meet new people?
First, look at your schedule and set time aside to meet new people. It’s important to make it a priority and dedicate time to socializing every week.
Next, the easiest point of connection between new friends is similar interests. So find activities you enjoy and go do them! Frendli is designed to do exactly that—connect people based on shared interests.
We came up with 10 ideas for how to meet people with shared interests. Get ready to get out there.
- Sport clubs or workout classes
- Community college classes
- Coffee shops and restaurants (Pro Tip: sit at the bar!)
- Nightlife - bars and concerts
- Networking events
- Church groups
- Dog parks
- Community events
- Online communities that bring people together offline (like Meetup and Frendli)
It can be intimidating to walk up to someone new and introduce yourself, but put yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would you feel if someone approached you and said hi? You would say hi back! While making the first move may feel like a challenge, overcoming these challenges is what allows you to grow as a person.
Pro Tip: Introduce yourself and ask for the other person’s name. Then, remember it!
How to Connect
Let’s say you went out, approached someone and said hi, and maybe even remember their name. Now what? Small talk can feel awkward and forced, and you’re not going to make new friends by talking about the weather.
Therefore, encourage person to talk about his or herself by asking questions and taking sincere interest in the responses.
It’s easy to fall in the routine of asking where someone is from or what they do from work. These are nice introductory questions, but use them as a stepping stone to get into deeper conversations:
- What do you like about your job?
- How long have you lived in (city)? Why did you decide to move here?
- What do you like to do over the weekend?
- What do you like to do for fun?
- Your goal is to find similarities and when you do, share them with your new friend!
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.’” - CS Lewis
How to Follow Through
Instead of ending the conversation with a goodbye, follow-up by inviting the other person to hang out. While you’re still there in person ask if they want to grab coffee – it’s friendly and doesn’t take up much time.
Or, ask for their number and follow-up with a text message that it was nice to meet them.
Make a point to reconnect and find another activity to do together. When it comes time to meet up, it can be easy to flake—but don’t do it. Make a plan and commit to it. Consistency is key to building a friendship.
Jeffery Hall, Associate Professor of Communication at Kentucky University, discovered that is takes about 50 hours to move from acquaintance to casual friend, 90 hours before you consider someone your friend, and over 200 hours before you become close friends.
Every hour you share with a friend is an investment into your relationships and ultimately, your happiness.
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