Have you noticed your circle of friends is shrinking? Do you want to meet new like-minded people who share your interests, and you don’t know where to begin? Even in these Covid times, we need friendships more than ever to feel connected and anchored.
I believe it can be as easy as A, B, C to make new friends even, yes, after 50. Here are 26 ideas on how you can meet new, interesting people and further enrich your life.
Interested in Italian? Playing bridge? Memoir writing? Community colleges, universities, and recreation departments offer a variety of programs to lifelong learners. Free online courses are also available.
Books transport us to another time and place. Find a group or start your own to discuss books with new book-loving friends. Book groups, literary salons, author tours, and library events are also places to meet new people. Join an author’s Facebook group.
Community engagement is the cornerstone of democracy and thriving neighborhoods. Attend town halls, city planning and council meetings, in person or virtually. Know your leaders, keep up on current events, and engage with your community.
Dogs are amazing friend magnets. Volunteer at a dog shelter, foster, or adopt a dog to enjoy a wonderful companion and ease loneliness, especially during a pandemic. Daily walks and outdoor dog parks offer opportunities to meet other dog lovers.
Everyday encounters can be the beginning of new friendships. Smile, start conversation, be curious and friendly with the regulars at your coffee shop, on neighborhood walks, and at the local farmer’s market.
Faith communities bring like-minded spiritual seekers together. Join a study group, be a greeter, or become active at your local spiritual center, church, synagogue, or mosque.
Gardening offers many ways to meet people outdoors while enjoying the benefits of nature. Local community gardens, university extension programs, school farm-to-table programs, garden groups, or becoming a Master Gardener.
Harness your hobbies
Harness your hobby to engage with others who share your passions—such as bridge, chess, woodworking, writing, doll-making, or more esoteric interests. Local groups and online forums are available with others who share your interests. Read my post on why creativity is vital to our lives.
Invite an acquaintance for an expanded conversation to get to know them better. Take the initiative and ask them for coffee, lunch or to walk and talk. You may find you have more in common and the friendship may bloom.
Just say “yes!”
When someone asks you to do something or try something new, it could be fun and expand your world, say yes and go. Shared experiences are excellent ways to forge new friendships.
Kind acts are simple gestures from the heart to let others know we care. Baking cookies for a neighbor, homemade soup to someone ill, a surprise phone call, or a handwritten card, are appreciated and open hearts and make connections.
Learn something new or dive deep into a subject that interests you. Move beyond solo reading to groups—classes, online or in-person, studying and sharing ideas.
If you like to sing or play an instrument, there are opportunities at all talent levels. Join a chorus, choir, local orchestra or band, or the community theater group. Enthusiasm often is more important to talent, so try it!
Neighborhoods provide opportunities for friends within walking distance. Plan Friday curbside wine downs, block potluck parties, help at community gardens, or get involved organizing safety or emergency response teams.
Outdoors for exercise, adventure and reap extra health benefits. Parks, trails, neighborhood streets, offer the soothing energy of nature. Enjoy robust hikes with energetic friends, or conversation while on a casual stroll in a botanical garden.
Sign up for a paint (or crafts) class, in person or online. Create your own with a bit of imagination and initiative. Find a suitable venue, someone with a talent to share, and invite a few friends you think would enjoy the afternoon or evening.
Travel solo, near or far on a journey to learn, discover, or pursue something new. Along the way, you will encounter others to share the experiences. There are many available resources for “solo-questers”.
Reconnect with old friends, past co-workers you liked, or former neighbors. A call or invitation to get together may rekindle good feelings of years ago.
Stitch it up
Sewing, quilting, needlepoint, knitting or other handcrafts all offer gathering places to demonstrate skills, knowledge and conversations with kindred souls.
Try something new
Time to uncover an idea, place, or experience you never done? Now’s the time. Make a list and pick one now.
Utilize current connections
Utilize current connections to meet new people. Our friends have friends, and you may share something beyond your mutual friend. Initiate a call or get together.
Giving of our time and talent to others is a wonderful way to feel good, do good and meet new people. There is a great need to help others. Check out volunteer opportunities in your community.
The immediate connection and conversation in women gathering to hear a speaker, share ideas or support a cause is infectious and engaging.
Think like a tourist in your hometown. Visit museums, parks, tourist sights, even a docent walking tour or food tour. You will be amazed at the history, and will meet both locals and visitors, and appreciate your hometown in fresh ways.
Improve flexibility and balance in both mind and spirit through yoga classes. A yoga studio, adult classes, or the local Y all offer a variety of programs. Check out my post on getting our bodies moving.
Zest–an attitude to live your best life with excitement and a “seize the day” attitude. It infuses our actions with positive energy and draws people to us.
There you go! Twenty-six ways to expand your circle of friends. Keep in mind, you can start engaging in these activities now – even during the virtual, socially distanced life we are currently living.