If you’re single and older (like me), the majority of your friends are either in serious relationships or married with kids. While you’re probably genuinely happy for them, it also means they’re too busy enjoying coupledom or changing diapers to hang out on a regular basis.
So, what’s a lady to do? Do you accept your solitary life and settle in for next-level Netflix binge-watching? Of course not. You just need to get back out there and make some new friends. And here are nine non-awkward ways to do it, whether you’re an introvert or a social butterfly.
1. Join a Facebook group.
If you’re shy, this is the easiest way to make new friends because each group has a purpose: to discuss a common interest. To join, sign on to Facebook and click on “Groups” in the left-hand column, then click “Discover,” and you’ve opened up a whole treasure trove of options — from “Music Lovers,” to “Math Puzzles.” Plus, those who live in your city usually want to meet up in real life. Five years ago, I joined a Facebook group of creative professional women called “Chicks Who Click.” One of the L.A. “chicks” started organizing monthly happy hours — and now, I have a new female friend circle.
2. Take a random class.
From painting to Pilates, there are thousands of classes you could take. And the benefits are numerous: you’ll break out of your comfort zone, learn a new skill, plus meet a likeminded crew. In my case, I’m a huge fan of Kids in the Hall and SNL, and I’ve always wanted to try improv. So, I signed up at Second City Hollywood. Granted, my class was mostly actors and actresses — which was intimidating. But I took the no. 1 rule of improv to heart: “Yes, and.” In other words, just go with it. You’re going to bomb a few times. But sometimes, you might be brilliant.
3. Go to a neighborhood bar.
It sounds scary, but remember these two rules: One, people will talk to you. You’re a lady at a bar. Alone. It’s an anomaly: How can a woman be so cool going to a bar by herself? (Newsflash: You are.) And two, sit at the bar. It’s basic math: Barstool chairs were made for solo seating, so odds are good another solo patron will sit beside you. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You’ll make friends with the bartender — who’s a good person to know. The best thing? You’ll make a new friend in your neighborhood.
4. Play sports.
For fairly athletic types, joining a sports league is a great way to make a lot of friends, fast. You celebrate wins together and commiserate losses. Just look up teams that are local to your area and accommodating to your skill level, and you’re set. Pro-tip: According to a female friend and dodgeball devotee, nontraditional sports like kickball and dodgeball are more social.
5. Be a regular.
If you love trivia, karaoke, or open mic comedy, many bars and restaurants have regular “nights.” Pick one themed around what you like, start going regularly, and I guarantee you’ll make friends with the other regulars. Five months ago, I started going to karaoke brunch on Saturday afternoons, which is a combination of two of the best things in the world — bottomless mimosas and singing my favorite songs. Now, I’m friends with the other loyal karaoke brunch lovers.
6. Just say yes.
What’s really stopping you from getting out there and making new friends? Sometimes, it’s a little word called “no.” I know it’s easy to talk yourself out of things. But when you start saying yes, you open the door to meeting new people. True story: I said yes to a stranger’s 60th birthday party. I only knew my friend who invited me, but I ended up making another friend who now goes to karaoke brunch with me.
7. See concerts.
If there’s a band or musical artist you love and you have no one to go with, that shouldn’t stop you from going alone. Admittedly, this is one of the harder ways to make new friends because it can be difficult to talk over the loud music. But it’s not impossible. Best of all, when you do make friends at a show, you’ll have a group to see future shows with whenever that band or artist is back in town.
8. Travel the world.
What if you want to explore a new city and none of your friends can go? What’s stopping you from travelling alone? You will make friends. Trust. All travelers do. And once you travel alone, something amazing happens: you gain the confidence to do it again and again. Need help connecting with other solo travellers? There are apps for that, including MeetUp, Solo Traveller, and Backpackr. Plus, if you make a friend in another city or country, you always have someone to hang out with when you go back.
Besides the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from helping others, you’ll also meet a really good group of equally kind people. Don’t know where to start? A simple way to find a volunteer group in your area is to go to volunteermatch.org, where you can peruse various philanthropy opportunities to find the one that’s right for you.