Make Friends Through Activities

If you are new to an area, or simply just busy with work and other responsibilities, finding ways to make friends can be challenging. Starting a conversation out of the blue is difficult, but you can increase the likelihood of making new friends if you participate in activities you enjoy.

Get Involved

You're definitely not going to make friends if you don't leave the house or the office, so get out and experience the world around you. When you are having a good time, you are most likely to be comfortable and open to starting conversations with strangers.

Join a gym. Anyone who enjoys working out or who has been meaning to begin some sort of exercise program should consider investing in a gym membership. If you are still having trouble starting up conversations after joining, try taking a fitness class that looks like fun or involves working in pairs. You'll definitely have something to talk about if you are taking jabs at a partner in a kickboxing class.

Volunteer. Explore local volunteer opportunities in your area. Animal lovers can start helping at an animal shelter. Starting a conversation about the adorable kitten or lovable dog that you are helping take care of would be simple. Volunteering benefits everyone, from the charitable organization you're helping to you and your future friends.

Attend church or a place of worship. Going to a place of worship regularly can help you make friends with similar beliefs and values to your own. Religious study groups are frequently offered to people of various ages and genders, so you will be with a group of people similar to you as you learn more about your faith. Debates and deep conversations often arise from theological topics, which can deepen and strengthen friendships.

Join a hobby club. If you don't already participate in a hobby like scrapbooking, fantasy baseball or card games, consider starting one of your own. For example, many craft stores offer "crop nights" for scrapbookers to get together to work on their projects. You'll instantly have a conversation topic if someone in the group is working on a scrapbook page similar to your own.

Hang out in coffee shops. Bars and clubs tend to be loud, and people there might be looking for romance rather than friendship, so it can be difficult to hold a conversation. On the other hand, many coffee shops are quiet, and they have couches and easy chairs grouped together, so you can often sit near someone you've never met without feeling like you are intruding or invading their space.

Before you start a conversation, though, check to see if they are busy. Many people like taking their laptops or notebooks to coffee shops because a change of scenery helps them get work done. If a person is typing on a laptop, reading or listening to headphones, they probably won't be as interested in conversation.

Use your social networks. Take advantage of the social networks that already exist in your life in order to meet friends. Consider socializing with your co-workers. Even if you aren't close friends with any of them, if you socialize with them outside of work, you are likely to meet other friends of theirs, and your network will expand. Also, if you have well-meaning family members or friends that are constantly trying to introduce you to people, give them a chance. You might be surprised at how effective this method can be to meet friends.

Go Online

Another place to meet friends is on the Web. Whether you end up eventually meeting face to face, or if you keep your relationship in cyberspace, the friends you make online can be just as valuable as the friends you meet elsewhere.

Chat rooms and message boards. Join chat rooms or message boards that discuss topics that interest you. If you have a hard time jumping into conversations, try private chats. This can be a good way to meet friends with the same interests as you. Chat rooms exist for nearly every subject, so perhaps choosing a topic like your favorite TV show would be an easy place to start.

Online games. From Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) to poker, you are likely to find a game that interests you, and plenty of new people to get to know. Asking for advice or tips on how to advance in a game is a good way to meet people and naturally start conversations.

Before you get started, keep basic online safety rules in mind. Real people are often different from their online personas. In many cases, the difference is slight. A person might be bold and brash in a chat room, but they could be meek and mild in person. In other cases, the difference might be dangerous. A person could claim to be something he or she is not. Use caution if you ever plan to meet an online friend face to face. Try to meet this person as part of a large group, such as a political group or a group of gamers, instead of all alone. When you do meet an online friend in person for the first time, tell your friends and family where you are going and when you plan to return, and bring your cell phone with you.

Starting Conversations

When you try to meet friends, finding a natural way to start a conversation is a major challenge. Depending on the situation, one way of breaking the ice is asking to borrow something simple like a pen or pencil, or asking what time it is. Take your surroundings into account and comment on them. For example, if you're at a game tournament, mention the strategies that are being used by other players. Your environment will offer the most opportunities to naturally begin a conversation to meet friends.

In order to meet friends, it is important to stay relaxed. If you feel nervous, you should walk away, take a deep breath and then try to start a conversation. You might have some awkward moments, but don't give up. People will respond, especially if you share their interests.

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