How to Naturally Meet New Friends and Significant Others

by sarahgrand

In my last post, I claim that you can ALWAYS make new friends. But making new friends isn’t as easy as it sounds. The same goes for meeting new significant others. I definitely do not know all the answers here, but I’ll give some advice on how to go about doing these things from my own personal experiences.

This may sound cliché, but I really believe it’s true:

To naturally meet new friends and/or significant others, simply start doing things that make you happy.

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I’m going to explain three ways you can meet new people you like by doing things that make you happy:

  1. You can meet people directly from doing things that make you happy

This one is pretty simple. Let’s say you really love…soccer! But you don’t play anymore because you don’t have the time, or you don’t have friends that are up for playing with you.

Well, first of all, 99.9% of the time, the excuse “you don’t have the time” is utter bullshit. You probably do have the time, and you’re just not making the time. If you’re reading this right now, then you DEFINITELY have the time, because not only are you spending precious minutes of your day on sarahgrand.wordpress.com, you probably accessed this blog through facebook, which you were probably wasting time on before clicking the link to this post. So that takes care of that. You have the time issue settled.

Now let’s say you don’t have any friends that are into soccer enough to actually want to play with you. If that’s the case, then I suggest you spend, I don’t know, THIRTY MINUTES one day looking up soccer leagues in your area. Unless you live in the rural regions of Siberia or something, I’m pretty sure you can find one within reasonable distance of your work or home. Ta da! You join a league, you’re doing something you love, that’s healthy for your body, WITH other people, who have at least one similar interest, who could potentially become friends or significant others, or introduce you to friends or significant others, and so on and so forth.

Maybe this hypothetical situation seems a little too perfect for you. I get it. It’s not like every time you try something new, all this great stuff is going to happen. But you have more of a chance of something good happening in your life if you try new things than if you stay inside your hermit cave of an apartment and mope around. What’s the worst that could happen? You get in a little better shape?

Maybe this situation seems like a really great idea to you, but you’re just way too shy and/or socially awkward to join a new group or activity alone. This is basically me. When I want to go to an event or join a new group thing, I usually try to coerce a friend to accompany me to act as an awkwardness buffer. Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn’t. It didn’t work when I joined the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) almost a year ago. I couldn’t convince any of my friends to join with me because none of my friends are into graphic design (understandable). I somehow still built up the courage to join the society on my own though.

I go to AIGA events alone pretty frequently. Even though most of them are panel discussions where you can basically slip in without anyone seeing you, I still get nervous sometimes to show up solo. But it’s getting better. Generally the more times you do something, the more conditioned you get.

I’ve been kind of able to overcome the hurdle, but for some people, going to events alone is just not an option. It’s too anxiety-inducing. If you’re one of these people, that’s totally fine and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. While I think it’s good to get out of your comfort zone (see “The Benefits of Being Single”), the whole point of this post is to encourage you to do things that make you happy. If joining a group activity or going to an event alone (even in an area that you love) is going to make you so anxious and nervous that you won’t be able to act like a normal human being at said group activity/event and won’t be happy there, then maybe it’s not the best idea for you. See method #2 as an alternative.

  1. You can meet people indirectly from doing things that make you happy

When you ask people for advice on how to meet new friends or significant others, they usually suggest doing things like those I mentioned in method #1: join a club or an activity, go to events or just out more in general, use a dating app or meetup.com, etc. While these are probably the most direct ways to meet new people, as I mentioned earlier, they’re not for everyone, especially really shy people. And that’s fine! I personally kind of fall into this group. Right now, I’m decently comfortable with going to AIGA events alone, but I don’t know if I’m at solo “meetup.com” level yet. That’s pretty intense.

Even if I was less awk, it just turns out that most of the stuff that makes me really happy is kind of isolating—like writing or design. I’m not really into group sports or stuff like that. And I have no real desire to join any meetup groups. Whether you’re really shy or your passions are on the more isolating side, or both, understand that it’s possible to meet people indirectly from doing things that make you happy, even if the things that make you happy aren’t necessarily interactive.

Let me explain by using this blog as an example.

I started writing on this blog again because I got some positive feedback on this inspirational “Anyone Can Cook” post on my design website. Getting that feedback made me realize that it actually makes me really happy to share my thoughts, give advice, and help people through my writing. So I started to write again.

Writing makes me happy, but it’s generally a totally solo activity. Starting this blog again, I had no expectations to meet anyone new or gain new friendships from it. The thought didn’t even cross my mind. But since making my first new post less than a week ago, four people (that I’m not even that close to) have privately messaged me to tell me they really like what I have to say! And those reach-outs lead to short chats. And two of those short chats lead to plans to catch up in person.

I’m not necessarily going to become BFFs with any of the people that messaged me—I might not even ever speak to some of them again. But this example just goes to show you that sometimes, when you do stuff that makes you happy precisely because it makes you happy, and have no ulterior motives, other stuff gets accomplished in the process. I hope that makes sense. Basically, things have a funny way of working themselves out when you start following your heart more. So go ahead and do it already!

Having no ulterior motives is something I want to briefly discuss before I move onto method #3. If you join a hiking group just because you want to meet a burly mountain man or lumbersexual, you probably won’t. I mean you might, but I suspect the chances are pretty slim. I don’t know the psychological reasoning behind this, and frankly I’m a bit curious about it, but that’s just the way it seems to go (at least for me). If you join a hiking group because you legitimately like hiking and would consistently show up to the group even if there were no prospects of meeting anyone new there, then I think you have a better shot of meeting new people you like there. So make sure you’re doing things that actually make you happy, and not things that make your imaginary dream man or woman or friends happy.

Finally, there is one last way that doing things that make you happy can help you meet people you like.

  1. You can attract new friends and/or significant others with your happiness (which you have because you’re doing things that make you happy) 

When I was going through my rut junior year of college (which you can read a bit more about here), I started doing more creative things. And that’s when things started falling into place.

It wasn’t even that I just started meeting new people that I liked. Weird stuff started happening. Stars were aligning. I got a new internship, I lost some weight, I started looking better, gaining more confidence, and trying new things. I think all this good stuff started happening simply because I became a happier person overall, by finally making my creative hobbies a priority in my life. Before that, I had just drowned myself in engineering schoolwork, neglected my other passions, and basically decided I was just going to be miserable for the rest of my life.

Happy people are attractive. If you’re smiling and in a good mood, you literally give off a special energy that other people want to be around. I know this is true from my personal experience. Once I started doing things that made me happy, I suddenly felt like guys were actually interested in me (wait WHAT?), and that’s also when I started making new friends. Aside from having a glow and attracting people to you, being happy also gives you a more open mind. You’ll become more open to befriending people or dating people that you might have turned down in a more negative state.

TL;DR

Start doing things that make you happy. Stuff will start working out. You’ll start meeting new friends and significant others, among other good things.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!

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