It’s convenient to hang out with your coworkers, but you may also want to make friends outside of work. However, that’s more easily said than done for many adults.
The longer you’re out of school, the more you may feel like you have too many responsibilities and too little time to be making new friends. You may also be more selective than when you were younger.
Still, the extra effort is worth it. Otherwise, you could wind up feeling isolated if you change jobs and your office buddies drift away. You may also be missing out on personal connections that could be more meaningful than sharing the same employer.
The friendships you make later in life could even be more fulfilling than earlier ties if you’ve gained self-knowledge and are more open to sharing.
Enrich your life by trying these strategies for developing relationships outside the office.
Online Strategies for Making Friends Outside Of Work:
1. Proceed gradually. Just like dating online, looking for digital friends can be successful as long as you’re careful and realistic. Spend time getting to know each other. Meet in public places if you decide to make contact in person.
2. Try Meetup. New apps for making friends are popping up regularly, but Meetup is still one of the most effective. Create an account, list your interests, and join groups where you’ll be surrounded by like-minded souls.
3. Go Next Door. Proximity is a main ingredient for many relationships, so it’s strategic to search nearby. Next Door is a platform where you can chat with your neighbors and find out about local happenings.
4. Use hashtags. If you have a passion for French cooking or paddle boarding, you might find companions by discussing your interests online. Using hashtags can help you reach others who are searching for the same topics.
Offline Strategies for Making Friends Outside Of Work:
1. Build your confidence. Of course, face-to-face communications create a stronger basis for relationships. Motivate yourself to take risks and reach out. Focus on your strengths and positive qualities. Remember that others are looking for friends too.
2. Spread the word. Let others know that you want to expand your social circle. Your current friends and family may be able to introduce you to their contacts or make other suggestions geared toward your interests and personality.
3. Follow up. How many times have you traded phone numbers with an interesting acquaintance without taking the next step? Set a goal to invite 2 or 3 new contacts out for lunch or coffee each month.
4. Walk around. You discover more opportunities for conversation when you leave your car behind. Stroll around your neighborhood or ride your bike. Walking a dog is a great icebreaker.
5. Take classes. Sign up for courses at a local university or community center. You’ll have something in common with the other students and you’ll see them regularly.
6. Throw parties. Extend your hospitality. Host a backyard barbecue and encourage guests to bring their friends. Volunteer for a committee to organize a block party or house concert.
7. Drink coffee. Find a coffee shop with an atmosphere you like. Become a regular and visit at the same time each day.
8. Play sports. Physical activity promotes bonding too. Research amateur sports leagues in your area or join a gym.
9. Practice spirituality. Your church or other spiritual centers can help you find a community based on your values and beliefs. Check the calendar for discussion groups, social activities, and volunteer events.
Making friends outside of the office can be challenging, but the rewards are great. Build a secure social network that will survive job changes and contribute to your health and happiness.