For Better Friendships, Be A Better Friend Yourself

When looking to meet new people, try to open yourself up to new experiences. Not everything you try will lead to success but you can always learn from the experience and hopefully have some fun.

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Volunteering can be a great way to help others while also meeting new people. Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to regularly practice and develop your social skills.

Take a class or join a club to meet people with common interests, such as a book group, dinner club, or sports team. Websites such as Meetup.com can help you find local groups or start your own and connect with others who share similar interests.

Walk a dog. Dog owners often stop and chat while their dogs sniff or play with each other. If dog ownership isn’t right for you, volunteer to walk dogs from a shelter or a local rescue group.

Attend art gallery openings, book readings, lectures, music recitals, or other community events where you can meet people with similar interests. Check with your library or local paper for events near you.

Behave like someone new to the area. Even if you’ve lived in the same place all your life, take the time to re-explore your neighborhood attractions. New arrivals to any town or city tend to visit these places first—and they’re often keen to meet new people and establish friendships, too.

Cheer on your team. Going to a bar alone can seem intimidating, but if you support a sports team, find out where other fans go to watch the games. You automatically have a shared interest—your team—which makes it natural to start up a conversation.

Unplug. It’s difficult to meet new people in any social situation if you’re more interested in your phone than the people around you. Remove your headphones and put your smartphone away while you’re in the checkout line or waiting for a bus, for example. Making eye contact and exchanging small talk with strangers is great practice for making connections—and you never know where it may lead!