Outside of the Bar/Club
I used to feel left out when I’d go to a bar and see people who seemed to know each other really well, sitting or standing in groups, sharing stories and laughing. For a long time, I forced myself to go out alone as a challenge to develop my ability to approach women, and talk to strangers in general.
At some point, I realized that most of these groups that I looked on with envy were usually coworkers, and weren’t meeting anyone outside their group. This made me feel much better – fortunate actually – because I was not stuck having to talk to the people I worked with all day. Not only that, but I was becoming really good at meeting attractive women, by myself.
If you are looking to improve your social life you’ll have to accept some harsh truths. It may sound scary, but it’s important to realize that nothing will change unless you do something different. Also, you are alone. You were born alone, and you will die alone. Of course there have always been other people around to make the journey more interesting. But ultimately it’s you reading this, your life, no one else’s.
Spiderman says with great power comes great responsibility (This should be the rule, but all too often, power leads to irresponsibility.) I think it’s the other way around:
With responsibility comes power.
When you accept your situation, facing the harsh reality, and then acknowledging what you must do to change it, you empower yourself to make your life the way you want it. Let’s get started.
1. Meet Your Neighbors
My goal here is to get you to leave your social shell and meet new people. I always like to start with the easiest step. Start with your neighbors. This may be tough if you live in a rural area or suburban wasteland, but if you live in a metropolitan area, meet the people around you. This means the barista girl at your local coffee shop, your next door neighbors, the regulars at your local dive bar, etc.
You’ll find that most people are in the same boat – their lives are limited to their coworkers, and they’d like to branch out. Introduce yourself, talk a little bit about when you moved, your favorite places in the neighborhood to eat and drink at, and ask about them (don’t be too nosy at first). Eventually you’ll have some great new friends that live close by!
2. Join Classes and Leagues
A lot of my advice in this article is based on my experience moving to a city by myself, without knowing anyone. My challenge was that I work from home (when I’m not running live programs), so I ended up spending a lot of time by myself, and had difficulty making friends simply by going out at night.
I joined a salsa dance class, and a coed soccer league. I made a ton of friends doing this, and it was really easy. I’m a little on the quiet side, but I wouldn’t say I’m shy. I made small talk with my teammates before and after games, and at salsa class, I made a point to talk other guys that seemed cool, in the hope that maybe I’d find a wingman to hit the latin clubs with me. It worked.
See what classes you can take in your area – pottery, jewelry-making, dance, book clubs, etc. Also, balance your class with something physical – an adult sports league. It doesn’t matter if you are good or not. Most people in the league are more interested in meeting people than actually being good at the sport.
3. Invite Others
I remember my freshman year of college, I moved to Chicago, where I didn’t know anyone. At first I relied on going to parties and getting wasted just to meet people. But after awhile, that got old, and I realized I had to do something different. I started talking to people in the lobby of my dorm, talking to people in class, and in the cafeteria. I found that I had great success if I invited people to parties I had heard about. I also spent a lot of time wandering around the city looking for cool places to hang out and shop. In doing this, I learned about events in the city – film screenings, music shows, etc.
After I met someone and exchanged some small talk, I found that it was best to just say bye and go my own way. If I pushed to hang out, it seemed needy. So instead, I’d wait until the second or third time I ran into them to invite them to something I was doing. Often, I wouldn’t even plan on doing it; I’d use the invitation as a way of saying, “I’d like to be friends,” without coming off needy. I was offering something fun, instead of asking them to provide fun for me. It makes a big difference.
Now I live in New York, and it’s never been easier to meet people. But I’ve heard this city can be very lonely if you don’t make an effort to get out there. I think all the challenges and embarrassments I faced as I learned to make friends throughout my life has made me good at it. So for me, NYC is not lonely at all. Learn from my experience and get yourself out there!
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