How To Meet People

Sometimes people have lots of potential friends in their lives and they just need to do more to try to hang out with them and start a relationship. But the opposite is just as often a problem, when they don't have many friendship prospects around. In that case they have to meet some.

Below is a long list of my ideas of ways to meet new people. Once you've met some people, you can take the other steps required to possibly turn them into friends. It's all about being proactive.

Some more general points about being able to meet people

Before I get into the many places to meet people, here are some broader principles I've noticed:

Characteristics of good places to meet people

Some places to meet new friends are better than others. The more of the following that apply to one the better:
  • It's somewhere where the situation breaks the ice for people and naturally gives them reasons to talk to each other.
  • It allows you to reliably see the same people several times, so you have a chance to get comfortable with them and gradually get to know them. It's not that you have one five minute chance to make a good impression and then you may never see them again.
  • It allows you to meet people who are similar to you, in terms of your hobbies and values.
  • It's somewhere where there's a core of regulars, but there are also new people to meet continually entering the mix.
In the list below I've roughly arranged the points along these lines, with the easier ones towards the top.

You may have to force yourself out of your routine to meet people

Some people are a bit lonely because they've gotten into a daily pattern where they're either working, or they're hanging around at home pursuing solitary hobbies. That's fine, but if they want to meet some new friends they may have to shake up that pattern. They might need to add some more social hobbies to their repertoire, or push themselves to get out and do things in the evening when they'd normally be chilling out in their apartment.

You may have to try out a few ways to meet people before one works for you

I don't have any official stats for this, but I'd guess meeting people is one of those 80/20 things. You'll meet most of your new friends easily through a handful of avenues, while other ones won't really work for you at all. You may go to a few events and not really run into anyone you could get to know better. Or you'll find making friends there is technically doable, but logistically difficult and discouraging. Then you'll join one more club and instantly and effortlessly make a group of amazing friends. So don't get discouraged if your first few attempts don't seem to come to anything.

Lots of ways of meeting people aren't perfect

You can handicap yourself by looking for the ideal set of circumstances to meet people under. Sometimes you have to work with the so-so hand you've been dealt. For example, someone may attend swing dancing classes and feel there's not enough opportunity to get to know anyone, since new people are always coming and going, and there aren't a lot of chances to talk. The situation may just not be workable for them, like the point above was getting at. Or they may have success if they stretch a bit, say by inviting potential friends out anyway even if it is more of a low percentage play, or by coming earlier or staying later to create time to talk to people.

You've got to have some tolerance of uncertainty and rejection

If someone is minimally confident and sociable, they should eventually be able to meet some new friends, regardless of where they do it. On the other hand, if they're just too shy or insecure or awkward, then none of the avenues for meeting people will seem to work for them. If that's the case they should try to work on their other issues as well.