How to Meet People
Having reached a low point in my life, I knew something that really added to my unhappiness, was not having the group of intimate friends I desired.
Don’t mistake me, I had friends, just not the friends I needed.
I found myself spending most of my social time in big party groups. People who were fun, but rarely did we connect personally. When I decided to change my life, I knew an important part of that process would be meeting people and making some new connections.
I didn’t know where to start.
What did I want from my friends?
What was missing from the current group of men and women that I currently spent my time with?
I was in my mid-thirties; I was beginning to feel my biological clock pushing me to make a final decision about having kids. I was quite certain of my decision not to, but I was having a very hard time with it being final.
The women in my life pretty much all had kids or step kids and many of these women felt compelled to inform me how I would regret not having kids. I didn’t really have any women in my life who had chosen not to have children themselves and I felt very isolated and alone.
~ I wanted some childfree friends.
I didn’t have many friends my own age at the time.
My friends were varied in age but most of the people we spent significant time with, were older, mainly because their children were adults and they were no longer busy being parents.
I don’t have age issues but it was their season of life I had issue with.
These people were mostly retired from working. They had nearly all day to devote to leisure and it was getting hard for me to stay motivated to go to work every day.
I didn’t always connect with this group in a personal way. We weren’t physically going through the same things and we did didn’t connect culturally either.
I was feeling jealous and alone.
~I wanted some friends my age, mostly so they were in the same season of life as me.
I also didn’t have friends who were health conscious or active. Most of my friends were party friends and health was not exactly on the radar.
The most activity my group was getting was from floating in the lake holding a cocktail. Now I’m not saying I didn’t want to do that, it just wasn’t all I wanted to do.
~I wanted active friends, willing to try new things.
Here's what I did.
I had an idea of what kind of people I wanted to include in my life but I had no idea how a middle-aged woman with no kids, makes friends.
Where would I find them?
I started on Facebook, of course!
I turned to social media and started looking at my current “friends”.
Which ones were doing things I wanted to do?
I reached out to one and asked if I could join in their fun and they said sure, they were actually part of a Meet Up group and it was open to everyone and that got me started.
Meet Up and Social Media
Meet Up is a social app that has groups of people with shared interests. People create events where you sign up to attend in person, and other groups are digital and you can join events through apps like zoom.
Meet up is free to join but some groups do charge a small fee; many don’t.
I joined a local adventure club and we did many different types of events like hiking, game nights, and even river rafting.
I made some very good friends in that group and we are still good friends today.
Other sites are Facebook, don’t forget Facebook groups, Eventbrite, and all the dating sites if you're single.
Look for groups that do charity work in your community and reach out to offer support by volunteering your time. This is a great way to meet like-minded people.
If you are interested in animals, call a local shelter; if you’re interested in community events, check your local community events page online or in the local paper.
Get the contact info and reach out if you’d like to help.
You can also just google volunteering and get tons of options.
Gym or Yoga Studio
Especially if you are making healthy changes in your life, joining a gym, yoga studio, or fitness club is a great way to meet people that will support your goals.
You can sign up for fitness classes or groups like Zumba and CrossFit.
I eventually joined a yoga studio and most recently joined Planet Fitness.
Take a Class
Google classes in your area and choose something that interests you.
I signed up for a cooking series at a local farm to table restaurant and not only did I meet super fun foodies like me, I became a much better cook.
Religious or Cultural Club
If you are religious, begin attending local churches to find one that suits you. Meeting people who share your beliefs is a great way to make fast friends.
If you are more spiritual, look for local meditation clubs or other groups who share your philosophies.
Check out book clubs, wine clubs, dinner clubs, and toastmasters; anything that interests you, knitting, walking, even Larping.
If you like to play, find local sports clubs and get on the team. If you like to watch, go to your local sports bar and grab a seat during the next game.
Local Art Festivals, Music or Food Events
Check your local paper for community events. You can also check local event calendars online.
This will yield a wealth of fun and often free activities in your local community like farmers markets, book signings, musical shows, picnics and more.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are so many ways to get out and meet people. I always start online searching local, city, community, and even statewide events.
I found them, now what?
You can’t just show up somewhere and not interact with people. You will have to actually talk to people.
I know how hard this is for some of you.
This actually doesn’t come naturally to me but is something as a young person I learned to switch on when it was necessary.
Naturally, I am very introverted and can go to a party and sit and observe without speaking to anyone.
However, like I said I have trained myself how to participate in small talk or to speak up and you can too.
It will feel very awkward at first because you will be thinking all kinds of drama in your head about it. You will just have to keep at it; it will get easier and begin to be something you can do too.
How to break the ice.
- Ask questions, people love to talk about themselves.
- Give genuine compliments. Find something you admire about a person and tell them about it.
- Find something in common. Ask them what they like to do and find some interest you share in common.
It simply takes practice and in time you will more easily be able to chat and get to know other people.
The people we spend time with will change over time. Since I first set out to remake my group of friends, it has changed quite dramatically.
I know I will never find myself without fulfilling connections again because I know how to seek them out when I need to.
I also know that my life will change and grow and the people in it will have to change and grow as well and there is nothing wrong with that.