people find it easy to meet new people and make new friends, but for others socializing can be
Whether shyness or a busy schedule
make meeting new people difficult, it's important to try to reach out. Having a strong social
network helps us live richer, more rewarding lives. It's also good for our physical health.
Studies show that while work-related
and other stress can increase blood pressure and contribute to heart disease, time spent with
a spouse, family or friends can actually moderate the effects of stress.
Whether you're new to a neighborhood or just
looking to broaden your social circle, here are a few suggestions that will help
you easily make contact with others:
1. Smile at people. A smile is free
and it benefits the giver as much as the receiver. You'll probably find that people are more likely
to approach you if your "natural" look is happy or neutral than if it's sad or frowning.
2. Hang out at your local coffee shop.
You'll get to meet the regulars, especially if you visit at the same time and day of the week,
and you'll find out what's going on in your neighborhood. Or meet a good friend there and shoot
the breeze for an hour instead of running weekend errands.
3. Join an Internet forum for a topic that interests you. You'll learn new things, gather different points of view, and meet "virtual"
friends who are as passionate about your interests as you are.
4. Take an exercise class. Training
for a run will get you breathing hard and chatting to fellow runners. Stepping on someone's toes
in a dance class is a great ice-breaker. Batting around a badminton birdie stokes healthy competition
with an old friend.
5. Join your local congregation. If
you follow a faith, attending services is an easy way to make regular contact with others. Going
with your partner can provide a shared commonality and revive dinner-table conversation.
6. Volunteer. Offer your time to a
hospital, a mission, a center for single moms, a newspaper - anywhere in your community that needs
help (also see: teen volunteering opportunities.).
7. Adopt (or borrow) a dog. You'll
find your new pup is a great friend and a way to meet other dog owners at the park. Many singles say that introducing your dog to their canine friends in the neighborhood is probably the easiest way to meet YOUR neighbors. You may also find that people may
stop you and your pooch on the street just to say hello.