Do you spend time with your friends? Do you even have any friends? That may sound blunt, but in running a social group for women I’ve noticed that there are a whole bunch of you out there that only spend time with your significant other and/or family, and don’t spend any time just hanging out with friends.
When I moved to Fort Worth, three years ago, I didn’t know anyone other than the people at work. And initially, I did what I think most other single people would do in my situation, I turned to online dating.
About two weeks into this latest round with online dating, it dawned on me that what I really needed was not a date, I needed FRIENDS!!
Spending time (actual face-to-face time) with friends still seems to be highly undervalued in our society. How many articles do we need on all the benefits that come from hanging out with friends before it sinks in? Such as:
- Enables accountability – this can lead to more self-control and help to change an unhealthy habit
- Boosts happiness and reduces stress
- Improves self-confidence and self-worth
- Helps you cope with traumatic events
Plus, relationships with friends aren’t as complicated and invested as they are with family or someone you are around all the time, so there is less pressure and more lightness.
So where to start? I guess one could walk up to random strangers and say “Hey, you look cool. Can we hangout?”. (Seems like a good idea for a social experiment. One of you get on that. You can guest blog your results!)
If you aren’t that brave here are some other, more doable suggestions.
I have made some wonderful friends that I hang out with outside of work. It’s a good idea to get to know the person fairly well before spending time outside the office together. You already have to spend a great deal of time together at work, so make sure you REALLY enjoy being around them.
I highly recommend this site! There are groups in every city across the U.S. and surrounding almost every kind of activity that you may be interested in. Check it out by clicking here. And should you not be able to find a group that speaks to you, consider starting your own group.
Just type in a few keywords in the search engine at the top of the page. (I suggest using your city and something that interest you). Within the results will be a subsection called Groups. Check out their pages and show up to some of their events.
Exploit Your Pet
If you have a dog, start taking your pet to the local dog park. You are bound to start seeing some regulars, and it should be easy to spark up a conversation regarding your fur babies.
Take a Class
Through the local college or a community center. Sign up for one that extends over several weeks. That way you will have time to get to know the other people in your class and hopefully find someone you mesh well with.
Have a worthy cause you are passionate about? Start volunteering. Find an organization that services the cause you are interested in and then either mentor, work events or serve there on a regular basis. This will put you in contact with other like-minded individuals.
My own journey started when I asked a co-worker to lunch and during that conversation she suggested Meetup.com. I found a group on the site called Sarcastic Girlfriends. Needless to say, the name alone spoke to me.
The first time I went to an event, I distinctly remember coming home feeling disappointed, and telling my daughter that I didn’t feel like I fit in there.
Which leads me to a key point here – manage your expectations. Making good friends takes time. It took me going to another three or four events before I started to feel like a part of the group and found my groove. Eventually, I met my two best friends there. But it takes a while, so be patient and keep trying!
So where are you in the friends department? Do you just hang out with your sweetie or family? You need some!! Bingeing on Netflix every night of the week and weekends? You need some!! Only talk to your pets? You definitely need some!!
I love hearing from all of you, so if you have suggestions of other ways to make friends, speak up. Have a great story of how you met your friend? Share in the comments below.
You look cool! Can we hangout?