The more meaningful relationships that you have in your life, the healthier you’ll be. It’s a fact — making an effort to meet new people and have positive social interactions with friends can be a source of many different health benefits.
On the other hand, a lack of strong relationships can cause the same mortality risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (according to Harvard’s Healthbeat). Making new friends is important for your health and happiness — you’re never too old to get started!
While it’s absolutely possible to meet new people online, this article will focus on how to make new friends (both romantic and platonic) out in the real world.
Where Can I Meet New People?
Some places are better to meet new friends than others.
The best ones provide a situation that breaks the ice and gives people a natural reason to talk to each other. This type of space allows one to meet others who are similar in terms of interests, hobbies and values. This applies to those of us who are looking for new friends and for romantic partners.
Forget about the usual spots — a party, nightclub, or church, to name a few. Let’s talk about some unique places you can go to make new friends.
Places to Meet Girls
Tired of online dating? Fed up with your guy friends? Looking to make more female friends? If you answered yes to any of these questions, here are five common places that are in most cities to try meeting women
Bookstores are usually open, friendly environments. They’re a perfect place to kill an hour of free time so you’ll get all kinds of different people coming in and browsing the various sections. Unlike the library, talking is encouraged inside of bookstores and there are often places to spend extended time like tables, couches and chairs. As a result, people are generally happy to chat if approached. Especially if there’s a shared literary interest.
Start by browsing sections that align with your interests. It’s easy to start a conversation with someone who’s checking out the same section.
You could ask them about the book they have in their hand or ask if they’ve tried reading an author you’ve been hearing about. See if they have any recommendations or are in need of reading suggestions themselves.
If your local bookstore has a coffee shop attached or nearby, ask them if you could buy them a beverage to continue your conversation.
Most of us can appreciate the inherent beauty of art. That’s why art gatherings are perfect places for meeting all kinds of different people.
Like bookstores, art shows provide a great opportunity to get into a deep conversation with someone you’ve just met. If you were to go to a bar, it might be difficult to find common interests. But at an art exhibition, the conversation topic is right in front of you.
Even if you aren’t an art aficionado, you can approach someone and ask a thousand different questions to get conversation flowing.
You could ask about their favorite artist, their preferred era of art history, their favorite museum, their favorite medium, if they’ve done any art forms themselves – the list is virtually endless.
As an added bonus, many art galleries and museums have free entry on certain days of the week.
Concerts and Festivals
Like art gatherings, concerts and festivals attract art lovers and bring out overwhelmingly positive energy in people. Concerts are an awesome way to meet like-minded people and even make friends.
Lots of people go to concerts alone and would appreciate having a gig-buddy. It’s easy to approach other people who are by themselves because they’re probably feeling equally awkward about standing alone.
Go up to them with a smile and ask who they’re there to see, which songs you hope the band plays, or just questions about their love of music in general.
You’ve got nothing to lose – might as well go for it!
Depending on your hobbies or interests, signing up for a class is one of the best ways to meet women.
Whether you want to study a foreign language, learn how to cook, or take a dancing or painting class – odds are you’ll be able to make great female friends there. Hobby classes are a perfect way to meet new people who you’ll be able to click with.
Groupon is great for seeing which classes are available in your area, at a discount.
And if the class that you decide to take doesn’t have any potential new friends or prospective dating opportunities, that’s ok too! You’ll still be able to learn about a subject you enjoy and develop your own interests.
You may be cleaning floors at a charity organization because you care deeply for a cause. But one thing about volunteering is that it has, what sociologists refer to as “unintended consequences.” In our case, this means you might meet a new crush or make a new friend in the course of your volunteering.
Amy Senior and Nick Libell’s story is a beautiful example. The couple met while volunteering at All About Kids, a children’s charity organization in the UK. They narrated their story for The Guardian:
“Our eyes met across a crowded room more than 40 10-year-olds waiting for their spaghetti bolognese (we never said it was glamorous) and there was no looking back. You get to know each other really quickly and in your most natural state – there are no dating rulebooks or games (other than the occasional Top Trumps or table tennis, of course) and you see the real person rather than the front.”
The great part about volunteering is you’ll meet people who are genuinely good-hearted and care about others. Even if you don’t meet someone who you’d like to be friends with, you’ll feel good about being able to give back to those who need your help.
Places to Meet Guys
The good news is that meeting guys is generally even easier than meeting girls. Most men are open to conversation regardless of who you are – here are some promising ways to try meeting new guys.
If fitness is important to your health and happiness, why not try to meet guys who feel the same? Learning how to engage a guy at the gym can be tricky though. You’ve got to be tactful about who and how you approach.
It’s best to avoid guys who are all business and not making eye contact with anybody. If they have their headphones in and seem hyper-focused on their workout, they’re probably not there to socialize.
A great way to approach someone in the gym is to ask for advice. Everybody likes being an expert in something. If you see them deadlifting with great form, doing an interesting core routine or just rotating on a machine circuit – ask them about it!
It’ll jump start the conversation and you can take it from there. Ask about other advice they have for staying in shape, about their diet or if they run or go hiking in the area to continue the conversation further.
The comic industry and comic stores, in particular, are historically male-oriented. That’s started to shift in recent years but in general, you’ll still see mostly guys inside of comic stores.
With the widespread popularity of DC and Marvel comic movies, the stereotypes of nerdy guys being into comics is no longer the dominant narrative. All kinds of guys are getting into comics. They enjoy going back and learning about the origins of all their favorite comic-movie heroes.
Go into a comic store with an open mind and an interest in learning about a truly fascinating, artform.
Similar to the gym, if you’re into health and fitness going hiking on the weekend is a wonderful way to meet like-minded individuals.
If you’re hesitant about talking to someone in the gym, the hiking trails provide the perfect alternative. You’re out in a beautiful environment in a social setting. If you come across someone hiking, it’s totally normal and natural to strike up a conversation.
An easy way to start a conversation is to ask for advice about which trails to take, which other hikes they enjoy in the area or just ask if they need a hiking buddy.
Most towns and cities have farmer’s markets on weekends. They’re a great place to meet responsible, down-to-earth guys.
Anybody who has their life together enough to go shopping for the vegetables early on a Saturday morning is probably someone who could be a positive addition to your life.
Ask them about what they’re hoping to find at the market, what type of food they like cooking, or what they do after the farmer’s market on weekends. It’s also a great way to casually “run into” someone again if you get too nervous to make contact at first!
Get Out There and Meet New People!
Friendship is a form of love. As David Tyson beautifully puts it, “True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.”
And while it’s great to make friends with strangers, you may want to do some background research on them just to make sure they don’t have anything to hide before you get too involved. Searching them by name on Spokeo can help you get peace of mind.
Now get out there and check out these places today!