Lifestyle changes sometimes lead to limited social contacts. Although social media can make it possible to talk to somebody all day long, having someone interesting you can actually do something with can be a challenge. Whether you are one of those individuals who never seems to meet a stranger or you are self-conscious when meeting new people, there are fun and interesting ways to find people who might become good friends.
Make a list of activities you enjoy and then check online sources, newspapers, phone books, your local chamber of commerce and colleges to find out what is going on within a reasonable travel distance from your home.
Pick an activity that involves interaction with other people, as opposed to a spectator event. Civic club meetings, classes, dancing lessons, exercise groups, public meetings and other types of activities provide an opportunity to get to know interesting people and build friendships.
Volunteer at an organization that supports a cause of interest to you. By interacting with other volunteers and program administrators, you will have an opportunity to meet new people who share your values. Through work for the cause, you and your new acquaintances will have an opportunity to get to know each other better and develop friendships.
Smile and make eye contact when you meet new people at an activity, in the grocery store, in the post office or at other public places. If you are shy, this may seem difficult to you, but with practice, you will find that other people generally respond warmly when greeted this way. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons Communication Skills Mentoring Program points out that smiling puts people at ease and generates positive feelings.
Show an interest in other people you meet. For instance, if you take a cooking class, you might ask a new acquaintance, "What is your favorite kind of cooking?" Ask further questions based on the person's answers. In "How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age," Dale Carnegie and Associates said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you."
- Ask for an email address when you meet someone you find interesting and would like to know better. Email is less intrusive than phone calls and is one way to ease into a relationship with a new acquaintance.
- AARP: Never Too Old to Meet New Friends
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Communication Skills Mentoring Program
- How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age; Dale Carnegie and Associates
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