Moving, entering a new stage of life, or the end of a relationship can heighten our need for new friends. Read on to learn how to make new friends.
The importance of friendship rivals that of familial and spousal relationships. Camaraderie inspires chick flicks and war films alike, drives sales of greeting cards and self-help books, and forms the plot of classic novels and video games.
How and where to make friends depends a great deal upon individual interests and circumstance, but simply following one’s passions will result in new social connections:
- Kids’ activities: Be intentional in your efforts to meet other parents, rather than just dropping your kids off or watching their activities from the sidelines.
- School activities: Involve yourself in your child’s school community to meet other families with children in your neighbourhood.
- Parent/child activities: Read local community newspapers or search online for nearby events involving both parents and children (daytime movies, baby sign language).
- Community centres: Enrol in crafts or sports activities and enjoy programming for all ages.
- Libraries: Visit your local library, often a hub of social connection, especially in smaller communities.
- Seniors’ centres: Discover a rich source of friends and activities.
Explore your interests and meet new people
- Knitting circles: Join a circle, often offered or advertised through yarn or craft stores.
- Book clubs: Attend free discussions of books at your local library, or challenge yourself to meet a few neighbours and form your own.
- Running groups: Look for running and cycling groups through local sports stores if early mornings and endorphin highs are your thing.
- Sports teams: Investigate local organized leagues for diverse sports, some catering to specific individuals: gay positive, over 40s, women only. Recreational leagues encourage beginner participation.
- Group meditation: Search online or inquire at your local Buddhist centre for options in your area.
- General interest courses: Check out your local school board for affordable courses in art, computers, language, dance, and many others.
- Other classes: Hit the gym for Pilates, yoga, and dance classes. Make the effort to meet others before and afterward.
In your neighbourhood
- Have a garage sale: Meet your neighbours, clean out your scary closets, and make some spending money.
- Organize a street festival: Get a few parents together, plan some food, some music, possibly a bouncy castle, and voila! Instant community.
- Grill it up: Deliver invitations to a few families on your street for a barbecue or potluck and make new friends.
- Food banks and community shelters: Give back to your community and meet other kind souls.
- Skill-sharing: Share skills with your neighbours through informal gatherings, whether it’s bike maintenance or cake decorating.
- Animal shelters: Spend time as a dog-walker at your local shelter. Enjoy animal companionship without needing to take them all home!
- Peer counselling: Apply for a volunteer position at a crisis line for adolescents, adults, or victims of abuse. It can be intensely rewarding, and training is normally provided.