How To Meet People and Find Friends

“Where can I find friends? It seems like such a silly question, but where can I meet people as an adult? I want to feel more connected to other people”

Although there is a lot of information about how to make friends, there aren’t nearly as many resources on how to find friends. And it’s hard to make friends when you don’t know where to start looking in the first place!

This article will cover everything you need to know about where to make friends. Let’s get to it.

Also, see our guide on how to make friends as an adult.

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How to find friends

If you think about it, you probably interact with many potential, platonic friends on a regular basis. You just might not realize it.

It’s important to think of each interaction as an opportunity to connect with someone. When you have that positive mindset, you’re more likely to feel open to social opportunities.

1. Spend more time out in the world

It sounds cliched, but it’s important. Go to parks. Go to restaurants. Travel. Attend events. In other words, actively put yourself out there. That’s the first step, and it can be the most challenging one.

Get in the habit of spending more free time away from home. You will naturally try new things, and you open the possibility of meeting people.

Of course, it’s not enough to just show up and not talk to anyone. But you need to continue exposing yourself to social interactions. The more you put yourself out there, the less anxiety-provoking these situations will feel.

2. Look for friends where you work

Coworkers can make great friends. After all, you’re already hanging out with these people for most of the day. You probably already know some of their interests and quirks.

Start by being more social at work. Offer to help your coworkers with important projects. Bring food to the office regularly (most people love free donuts!). And be friendly when people talk to you- don’t complain about work!

3. Start talking to your neighbors more

A good friend might be right in your neighborhood. Consider taking more walks outside and making it a point to say hello when you see someone. Some good conversation starters include:

  • Complimenting their home (I love your gardening! Where did you learn?)
  • Asking for specific recommendations (Do you know anywhere that has good Mexican food around here? I’ve been craving tacos).
  • Commenting on shared interests (Our kids attend the same school! How does ___ like her teacher?)

Just like in those examples, try to end each statement with an open-ended question. This strategy gives your neighbor the chance to tell you more about themselves. From there, you may be able to keep the dialogue going.

4. Spend more time with family friends

Do you have close siblings or cousins? If so, their friends might be a good starting point for meeting new people. If you get along with your family, you’ll probably get along with the people they like as well.

It’s a good idea to be honest with your family member about your intentions. Let them know that you want to make new friends. Ask them what they think about you tagging along on some social events. Most of the time, family members are happy to oblige- they like knowing that the people they love get along.

5. Commit to joining a club or social group

Sign up for something that interests you, and that meets at least once a week. Ideally, the group should be capped at no more than 20-30 people at a given time. That small number gives you a better chance to mingle and get to know the people around you.

At each event, make an effort to talk to at least 2-3 people. Have a plan for how you can strengthen your connection outside of the group. For example, you might ask if they want to meet you for coffee before the group or dinner afterward.

6. Take up volunteering

You can find friends while doing something good for society. Volunteering is a great activity, even if you’re introverted or struggle with depression or social anxiety.

Try to find socially-based volunteer opportunities like working at an animal rescue or an organization like Habitat for Humanity. The website, VolunteerMatch, will show you volunteering opportunities near you.

7. Try a friendship or life coach

Friendship and life coaches may help you find people to connect with. These professionals aren’t therapists, so they don’t tackle complex mental health issues. But they can offer you helpful suggestions for getting out there and meeting new people.

You can search online for “friendship coach near me” or “life coach near me” to get started. Most coaches recommend attending a few sessions to get the best results. In addition to learning more about finding friends, you may also get tips on self-esteem and dealing with anxiety around socialization.

8. Go online

“I want to know where can I find friends online”

The best connections can be entirely virtual. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to meet new people online. But it’s also possible to feel overwhelmed by all the endless options. You have to really know where to look if you don’t want to waste your time.

Check out our ultimate guide on how to find friends online.

9. Rekindle old friendships

Sometimes, you don’t have to “find” new people to find a connection.

It’s very possible to rekindle old friendships, but it takes effort and willingness. Here are some tips for getting started:

Reach out first: Even if many years have passed, most people enjoy hearing from someone from their past. Send a text or Facebook message- it can be as simple as, I was just thinking about you. How have you been? It’s been so long!

Make concrete plans: If the conversation is going well, take the step to make plans. I’d love to hang out sometime. Are you free next weekend to grab lunch? Or is there another time that works for you?

Follow-up after hanging out: If you do spend time together, it’s not enough to just hang out once. That night, send them a message letting them know how much you enjoyed yourself. It was so good seeing you. I’m really glad we did this.

How to find friends in your 20’s

This time can be a massive adjustment.

You might be living on your own for the first time. People are starting to graduate from college and begin their professional lives. It’s common for people also to begin dating more seriously. Some people might start getting married and having children.

Friendships can be tricky during this time. People have different priorities, and relationships may naturally change. Here are some suggestions.

Start with your current classmates

If you’re in school, socializing with classmates is one of the easiest ways to meet new people. They already share similar interests as you, and you’re in close proximity to one another!

Try to make a point of coming to class a few minutes early to chat with the people around you. If people are forming study groups, offer to join.

See our guide on how to make friends in college.

Hit up the gym

Many people value their physical health, and the gym is a great place to connect with other people. But you have to be proactive. Don’t just put on your headphones and turn up the music- you won’t meet anyone that way.

Try to go around the same time each day and week. This increases the chances of meeting other people who also work out around the same time as you. If you lift weights, ask if you can “work in” with someone. This basically means that you’re sharing equipment in between sets. Nine times out of ten, the other person will agree.

Then, you can easily compliment the other person or ask a neutral question related to the workout itself. Your form is great! I love your shirt- where did you get it? What preworkout is that?

If you don’t lift weights, you can also try group fitness classes. Even though you won’t socialize much in the class, you can chat with people before and after.

Start your own club or group

It’s one thing to join an existing group, but if you choose to start something, you’ll naturally need to connect and outreach to other people. This can be a great way to socialize. If you’re a college student, look into the options for starting your own club or group. You can also consider making your own Meetup.

Keep in mind that this decision requires effort. You need to be willing to create and plan group rules, structure, and activities.

How to find friends in your 30s

By your 30s, people usually become much busier with work and their families. At this point, many people start settling down. They may be getting married, having families, and focusing more on their careers. Unfortunately, people tend to prioritize their friendships less at this point, but there are still ways to meet new people.

Related articles: How to make friends in your 30s and How to make friends after college.

At church or temple

If you’re religious or spiritual, you can meet a lot of people just by attending regular services. Most places of worship embrace a community aspect. They often hold events and clubs for members. Many of them also have groups divided by age, which means you’re more likely to meet people like yourself.

Try to attend a few events each month. Be friendly and introduce yourself to other people. It’s okay if you’re not that religious- most people just appreciate the social aspect.

Through your kids and their friends

If you have kids, you already have access to a social network. Who are they hanging out with? Can you get to know their parents? The hard part here is done- you already know what the common interests are (your children), and so now you just need to start talking!

If you have young kids, try to set up weekly playdates. You can rotate at each other’s houses or plan to meet at the park. When you two are spending time together, make the effort to start talking about more than just your child. If they seem interesting, you can ask if they’d like to spend time together without the kids.

Adults sports leagues

If you like playing sports, why not join a team? Nearly every city has community sports like basketball, softball, or volleyball. You don’t need to be a pro to join. Most cities even have beginner-level teams.

The key to finding and making friends through sports is consistency. Show up to every game and practice. Have a positive attitude (don’t be overly competitive or aggressive). Offer to help carry back equipment and always pay your dues on time. If people get together for dinner or drinks after, make it a point to show up and socialize.

How to find friends in your 40s

Your 40s may be a strange time. People can be all over the place- some of them are raising kids, others are traveling the world, some are getting divorced, and some are even retiring!

At this point, it can be hard to find friends because you’re no longer in school and you may have been working in the same job for many years. If you’re looking to make friends in your 40s, check out our extensive guide on the topic.

Here are some places to start looking:

Adult classes

Many people start embracing more passions in their 40s. This is a great time for you to try that thing you’ve always wanted to try!

You can look for a class online or through your local community center. It doesn’t matter what it is, but it should meet at least once or twice a week for several months. That timeline allows you enough time to interact with people regularly.

Make it a point to show up to class early. This gives you time to mingle with other people, which can lead to building a friendship. If you connect with someone, ask for their number. You already have the class in common. Now, it’s time to see if they want to meet up to practice or grab a cup of coffee.

Book clubs

Book clubs are great because they offer a sense of structure and routine. Everyone reads the same book and discusses it together. There’s no pressure to “make a unique conversation” because you’re all there chatting about the same thing.

You can find a book club through your library, Meetup, or through mutual friends. You may also want to consider starting your own.

Travel groups

If you enjoy traveling, you can find friends while you’re out exploring. Consider booking a group tour for your next trip. Today, there are numerous companies offering trips for all kinds of people, ages, and preferences.

When booking a trip, try to opt for a longer one. The more time you spend with people, the more likely you are to have deeper conversations with them. A couple of days may not be enough. But a few weeks can result in making a lifelong friendship.

How to find like-minded friends

Any of the above tips can help you find like-minded friends. But if that’s your main intention, start with these suggestions. Main article: How to find like-minded people.

Socially-based activities and hobbies

The more you engage in a certain hobby, the more likely you are to meet like-minded people. But certain hobbies naturally require socialization. These include activities like:

  • Trivia.
  • Comedy.
  • Board games.
  • Bowling.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our 25 recommended social hobbies. Commit to trying 1-2 of those activities over the next couple of months. Talk to people who are more experienced than you. Ask for assistance in trying something new or when you don’t understand a certain technique. You’ll see that most people love sharing their advice and insight.

Niche online forums or groups

Whether you have triplets or you’re into breeding reptiles, there’s probably an online group for you. You can start by searching on Facebook or Reddit. Type in your specific hobby, interest, or concern into the search bar and see what pops up. You’ll probably find online groups, subreddits, forums, and other online communities.

The key is to be an active member in these groups. If you’re just lurking, you will learn new information, but you won’t find friends. Answer people’s questions if you have insight. Leave comments sharing your perspective.

You can also directly message someone who leaves a comment that resonates with you. Doing so may spark up more conversation.

Professional networking groups

If your career has a professional organization associated with it, sign up for your local chapter. This is a great way to get involved and boost your resume. But it’s also a great way to meet like-minded people who work in the same field as you.

Just like with most groups, you get what you put into it. For more on making the most of these groups, check out this useful article by Inc.

How to find friends in a new city

Moving to a new city can feel scary, but it’s also full of possibilities for meeting new people. Check out our main guide on the best ways to make new friends when you move to a new city.

Here are some suggestions for finding friends:

Local cultural events

Cities usually have dozens of events happening on a single day. On the weekend, there may be hundreds of festivals, parties, parades, etc. Many of these events are free or low-cost. These are great opportunities for meeting other people and familiarizing yourself with where you live.

Join a boutique or specialized gym

As a general tip, you can find friends at the gym. But in a large city, a single gym may have thousands and thousands of members. It can be hard to actually make genuine connections with other people.

Instead, you might consider joining a more specialized gym like a spin class, hot yoga studio, or a climbing gym. These gyms don’t have nearly as many members, and everyone works out there for the same reason. Many of these gyms also host community events for their members, which increases your chances of meeting new people.

Farmer’s markets

Although it may not seem like a first choice, you may find friends while also buying vegetables. These markets attract lots of people, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation at a local booth or table. If you go every week, you’ll also get to know the vendors, and that can lead to a friendship.

How to make friends (after finding them)

Finding friends is only half of the equation. Making friends means knowing how to start a friendship and truly connect with another person. Our complete guide on making friends can be an excellent launchpad.

Don’t get too hung up on needing to make friends everywhere you go

Friendships shouldn’t be forced. You don’t want to go to an event and try to make everyone there be your friend. This will come across as desperate.

Instead, go in with the mindset that you just want to practice your social skills. You’re going to try to practice more small talk and enjoy your time there.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on building connections, but it means you shouldn’t base all your happiness on whether or not you made a friend that day.

Be friendly with everyone you meet

Small talk matters and you must be friendly if you want to attract friends! If you’re standoffish or close-minded, people will pick up on that negative energy.

You can be friendly through both your nonverbal and verbal body cues. For example,

  • Smile when meeting people.
  • Give genuine compliments.
  • Ask people questions about themselves.
  • Make comments that connect shared experiences (It’s so cold today!)

Make sure people like being around you

Be the friend you wish you had. You know those types of people- they just make people feel good because they know how to be friendly and connect.

That means listening closely, being generous with your time, and always doing what you can to support other people.

Don’t exclude anyone and make it a point to try to make others feel good whenever you can.

Ask for people’s numbers during an interesting conversation

Getting someone’s number moves you from finding a friend to actually making a friend. When things are going well in a conversation, try to take it to the next step. You can say, We seem to have so much in common. Can I get your number? I’d love to talk more about this!

Then, follow-up the next day with a quick text and a follow-up question. Hey, I really enjoyed meeting you yesterday. What did you think of the event?

Use more self-disclosure

There is a big misconception that you should focus mostly on asking people questions about themselves. Nobody wants a one-sided friendship, and most people don’t want to talk about themselves 24/7.

Instead, try to think about letting your own guard down. For example, let people know how you’re feeling. Share more personal stories about yourself. If you’re concerned about turning people away, check out our guide about avoiding oversharing.

Viktor is a Counselor specialized in interpersonal communication and relationships. He manages Socialpro’s scientific review board. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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