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5 Ways to Make New Friends in our 20s and 30s

A man on a bike finds support and friendship to boost his self-esteem.

Generally speaking people crave human connection, even those of us who cherish our alone time to recharge. Friendships are an important part of our lives and research shows that friendships benefit our mental and physical well-being. Friends can help us celebrate the good moments, while providing support during challenging times.

Other benefits of friendship include:

  • Reduce feelings of isolation while increasing sense of belonging
  • Reduce stress while increasing feelings of happiness
  • Help cope with difficult moments in our lives 
  • Help boost self-esteem and self-worth
  • Encouragement for positive action and to let go of unhelpful behaviors

However, as we get older, it becomes harder to make new friends and maintain current relationships. It is natural for friendships to change and even fade overtime as we also mature and change. There also seems to be less time and opportunity to develop new friendships. When we are younger, we often have school and clubs that provide those opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic also changed many things including how we work and socialize with others. 

Here are 5 ways to meet new people:

  1. Join a local group, Meetups, and BumbleBFF: Platforms like Meetup and BumbleBFF were created to provide a space for people to meet and make friends with similar interests and hobbies. Nowadays there seems to be a group for everything or almost everything. You can join a local walking group, book club, language cafe, or a sports league. Most platforms allow for both in person and virtual meetings which can help reduce the stress of meeting new people. 
  1. Take a Class: Take up a new interest or make time for a past interest by taking up a class or workshop at a local school or studio. It can be anything from art, language, or cooking. 
  1. Join a Gym: Many gyms provide group workout classes. Talk to those around you and ask what their favorite classes are or who their favorite instructors are. As you begin to see the same people at the gym or classes, it may be easier to begin talking to others. 
  1. Volunteer: Help out your local non-profit and meet new people! There are many different types of nonprofits providing different services. Find something that you would like to give your time to and meet people in the process.
  1. Find a Religious or Spiritual Community: You can find and build community through religious and/or spiritual practices. Consider finding a religious or spiritual organization that aligns with your belief system. 

Most importantly, stay open, positive, and patient.  Meeting new people can be scary and draining at times but it can also enrich your life with companionship and joy. Remember that not all people you meet will turn into friends. Be curious, friendly, and take the initiative.

Article by Mayra Iniguez

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