I always was a social butterfly. I wouldn't characterize myself as the popular girl in high school but more like a floater, I talked to everyone but never identified myself with a main group. Needless to say, making new friends was never a problem for me, until I graduated from University. That is when I realized that making friends within an institution, such as school was nothing like making friends outside of it.
I was still very social when I graduated but I realized that my circle was not expanding. I was longing for new interactions and new connections but it wasn't happening. Why? How can someone so social, have a hard time with this!? I even wondered if I should engage people in conversation and then casually asked at the end, "Hey, do you want to be friends?" I convinced myself that it was too drastic and desperate. I needed to do something different but remain sane.
New York helped me in that regard. Here's how I found ways to meet new people and forge new friendships in a new city.
1. Join a social network
Social networking sites are the perfect way to meet new people. When I first moved to New York City I joined Meetup.com and went out to several events. I did not feel shy or out of place because I would always pick events or activities that sparked my interests, that way I always felt like I was winning. Even, if I didn't meet anyone that I felt could be a long time friend, it didn't feel like a waste of time because I, at least enjoyed the actual event.
2. Socialize with your co-workers
Whether your work at a job that you love or despise, you might have a lot in common with one or two of your co-workers. I guess, you won't know it unless you give it a try. Next time you find yourself at the office, don't engage in conversation related to work with your co-workers, instead diversify your topics and ask about their interests and what they usually like to do after work. For all you know, they could be inspiring musicians, painters, writers or what have you. You get my point! They could be super freaking interesting is what I am getting at.
Or, if you don't feel comfortable doing that in the office, next time one of your co-workers suggest to go out for happy hour, go and enjoy the moment with them.
3. Go out to events
There's always an event taking place, no matter what day of the week it is. I guess, this largely depends on where you live. If you live in a city, shame on you for not taking advantage of all the wonderful events taking place. That was a joke! But, on a more serious tone go out and socialize if you can. Check out event taking place at your local museum, library or bar. And so what if you'll have to go by yourself, there are so many people there surely there's going to be one or two people that you'll vibe with.
4. Leave your house
I guess, that should have been #1. If you want to make new friends, the most important step would be to get yourself out there. That is one of the most and hardest step, depending on your personality. But remember, if making friends is truly what you seek for then you shouldn't think twice about leaving the house.
5. Take a chance out of your comfort zone
I remember one day, sharing with my co-worker that I had met an interesting man while on the train. I described to my co-worker the pleasant conversation we had and how interesting he was. I was explaining such a positive experience with my coworkers that I was truly confused at his reaction. He was appalled at the fact that I would speak to anybody on the train and advised me to never do that again. While I agree, that you should be cautious, I cannot wrap my head around missing out on potential meaningful interactions based on fear.
So, don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with people around you. You don't have to wait to go out to an event or a specific social networking party to gather the courage to talk to someone. You can do that at the checkout line, on the train, at a restaurant or any place really. Be vulnerable and willing and the rest will natural unfold and fall into place.