How To Find Friends Outside of Work

How to Make Friends Outside of Work

With all the career and education opportunities out there these days it’s easy to create an entire existence around work. One day we wake up and realize we don’t have any friends outside of the jobs that keep us busy, nor a social life that we’ve cultivated that allows us to call up a girlfriend for brunch or coffee, or simply to vent about a bad date. Finding friends outside of work or family can feel daunting and impossible after a certain age, but there are several simple practices I’ve discovered over the years that have helped me build a dream community of diverse and fascinating people I’m blessed to call friends.

Sometimes it feels like “divorced” and “childless” are dirty words. To be fair, I’m 41 years old, and most of my girlfriends are married with families. Even my few friends that are divorced have children. That was not my path. When my marriage ended, luckily my ex-husband and I had not yet had children. I say “luckily” not because I did not want kids — I did and in many ways I still do — but because I do not want to be tied to my ex, nor he to me. I was able to move 3,000 miles away once my divorce was finalized without answering to him, like I would have had to if we had a custody agreement. 

Something I was unprepared for in the wake of my divorce was how difficult it would be to find age-appropriate, single, female friends. Here are some ways I have had success meeting interesting and likeminded new friends, single or not:

  1. Show up – it sounds simple, but the number one way to meet people is to put yourself in situations where you can meet others. Isolating won’t do that for you. 
  2. Volunteer – find a cause or causes that are important to you, and find an organization that embodies your beliefs about said cause. And, assuming they are taking on new volunteers, sign up. And then practice #1: show up. 
  3. Exercise – Join a gym, if you can afford one, or find a local club for your movement of choice (running, walking, yoga, Tai chi, whatever). Meetup is a good place to start. 
  4. Seek Camaraderie – Did you go to a college with a football team? Are you in a community with a sports team people root for? Whether or not you are not a sports fan, there is something intoxicating about a group of humans cheering for the same event that is unifying and uplifting, even if your team, like mine (the Miami Hurricanes), always breaks your heart. We’ve always got next year!
  5. Walk your dog (or borrow a friend’s dog to walk) – in my experience, the dog park is an awesome place to meet neighbors and to make new friends 
  6. Focus on Local – Get involved in the neighborhood in which you live. Go to a city/town meeting. Find your local farmers market. Stroll around your community park. 
  7. Push Yourself – even if you are an introvert, push yourself to try one thing on this list at least once a week. Do this for a couple of months and report back to me in the comments!

Remember: everyone wants to make good friends. Almost every adult I know is looking for more friends. And I am sure you will agree: the best way to make a good friend is to be a good friend. So be honest and be trustworthy and be kind. Looking for someone to chat with and practice on? DM me on Instagram and let’s talk! I love making new friends in real life, as well as online!

Here are some items that might help with community building:

Dog harness, collar, leash: Take your furry friend to your local dog park

Waterpik Toothbrush: keep your pearly whites pearly white, and keep your breath fresh and clean!

Walking shoes: Explore your neighborhood on foot.

Invite your friends for a picnic at the park or at the beach: Picnic/Beach Blanket

Let's be friends

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