It was easier to make friends in school: you just struck a conversation with someone in your class, or signed up for a club or a sport, and voila—a potential kindred spirit. But once we start working, our circles narrow down considerably. We’re busy, often shuttling straight from the office to our home. When we do go out, it’s usually with the same people: co-workers, old school friends.
But you can widen your social circles, and make new girlfriends that can share your interests and expand your horizons. Here are some tips.
First, show up
If you keep turning down invitations (“I’m tired!” “I have to work this weekend!” “No one’s going to watch my cat!”) then people will stop inviting you. Grab every chance to meet someone new or to get to know someone better. What have you got to lose?
Ask a co-worker to have lunch with you. Invite another to try an
exercise class with you. Nearly everything you already do in your routine can probably be done with somebody else, or used as a chance to bond. Grabbing a cup of coffee from the office vendo machine? Ask that new girl in your department if she’d like one, too.
Think of girl-friendly topics
You could be in a room full of potential new friends and still clam up. Think of neutral but engaging topics. TV shows are always a good start, as are sports tournaments and celebrity scandals. You can also take your cue from observing other people. “Hey, I really like your earrings! Where did you get them?” can lead to a conversation about vintage finds or favorite stores. (Read our tips on how to confidently start a conversation.)
Listen to a conversation and ask sincere questions. Did someone at the party mention that she just got engaged? Ask, “So how did you meet each other?” Did your co-worker mention that she likes to travel? Ask, “What was the most interesting place you’ve ever visited?”
It feels good to make other people feel good. Make it a point to say something nice to someone, anyone, every day. You’d be surprised how others will warm up to you—and how you feel better too.
Make friends with the “connectors”
Some people are social butterflies. They know everyone and probably are the ones who organize the get-togethers or just attract everyone in the room. Make friends with them, and you have a bridge to everyone else.
Join a group
This can be an online community, or a class, or a volunteer organization. Every passion, cause, hobby has a group that gathers those like-minded people.
Photo from winggirlmethod.com