If you have opened this article I guess you are looking for safe ways to meet new people and make friends with them.
This desire to socialize is as old as humanity, and we already know many ways how to find friends and influence people. One of the most famous books written by Dale Carnegie is dealing with this issue and it’s one of the most well-known self-help works!
But there is a problem. All those ways to find friends are really assertive and aggressive. The most common advice how to meet new people I have heard is: “Hey, why don’t you just talk to random people while waiting for a bus?”. Me like: “Whaaaat?”
And do you know what’s written in the book by Carnegie? Many ways how to manipulate people, influence them, make them behave your way, stick to you and not a single advice how to make genuine meaningful friendships. Not a single advice how to have fun around people. Only how to use them to achieve your goals.
People who are shy, introverted, not talkative or socially anxious need another way to make friends because they need meaningful connections. New connections are a great way to make a career, to grow a business, learn new things or even make a major life change.
I am an introvert, but I managed to find lots of new friends without talking with them in a bus stop or manipulating them with a mastery of small talk. Here I want to share my strategies with you.
The main principles of meaningful friendship
Before talking about finding new friends for a meaningful friendship, let’s understand what that meaningful friendship is. According to the article about the meaning of life, a meaningful thing is the one which:
- Makes you happy
- Is valuable to others
- Helps to improve and move forward
In no way, manipulative small talk can make someone happy. Sorry, Dale.
After years of making new friends, making connections with inspiring people and analyzing experiences of others I connected the dots. Also, the concept of five love languages helped me a bit. Here are the two main principles of meaningful friendship even if you are quiet and not assertive:
- Do things together
- Have experiences together
Do the thing or have an experience that is fun and valuable for both. Even better if those activities are helping for everyone involved to grow and improve. After such experiences – topics for conversation guaranteed. I mean deep, meaningful conversations.
However, principles are a nice thing, but the real challenge is to apply them in life.
How to meet new people and turn them into friends
I know many ways to meet new people (I read that book by Carnegie), but if you are struggling with that, too many options will just make you overwhelmed. So, I have chosen the best five ways for quiet people. Tested them myself or saw them used by others. All of them are safe, non-assertive, nonaggressive, non-manipulative ways of meeting people and finding friends.
1) Find communities
The best way to meet right people is to find communities with the same interests as yours. No matter is it a profession or a hobby, there are lots of people actually meeting and doing things together. In this case, you would have a circle of people passionate about the same thing as you, and a topic for endless conversation would be clear. Also, those people would support you, and you would have a place to develop and show your talents.
What are those communities? No, not facebook groups. They are great for sharing memes, but not for finding friends.
Actually, any community, that does things together. There are traveler clubs, pet owner communities, discussion meetups, even meetings of introverts. If you have completely no idea where to start, just try this website: meetup.com, they have meetups arranged by places and topics. Find the one you like, and come.
What I did, I joined mountain travelers club, hikers community and later, a local community of bloggers. Traveling in mountains and hiking does not involve much unnecessary social interaction, but experiences are great and fulfilling! However, most of the bloggers are irrepressible and talkative. But since we have a common topic, meeting them is quite interesting.
2) Learn new things
This is also a great way to find people interested in the fields the same as you. And, maybe, also meeting people that have achieved something in your desired field, so you could learn from them and be inspired by them.
One requirement – learning online or from youtube do not count. Our aim here is to meet people, not to learn things. But if we can combine those – it’s super awesome.
The best way is to join a class of the thing you are interested about or want to improve. The most common thing is a language class. But it could be a cooking class, yoga class, calligraphy class, dancing class, music class and much more.
What I did, I attended African drums class and a personal project management class. The drums class were all about drums, I did not find any friends there, but the project class helped me to meet some really great and inspiring people I still keep in touch.
3) Attend events
When we think about events, we think about parties, concerts, sports games. Stahp! It is possible to find smaller, closed events organized by communities (those from #1) interested in the same things as you. (Book fair is a crowded event too).
But there could be a small concert of some local artist in an art gallery. There could be a hiking event. Meditation retreat. Some interesting lectures or excursions. The better are the ones when you actually do things together, rather than just sit and listen. And the best are the ones when you have the opportunity to be on the stage – to speak about your experiences, to show your work or spread your ideas. But that’s not necessary.
What I did, I started attending free lectures in university and hiking events. That is how I joined my community of hikers.
4) Travel with Couchsurfing
I know, that might seem scary. But actually, it is the single best way for a quiet person to meet other people in another country (or another town) with similar interests. There you can carefully read everyone’s descriptions and choose people you want to stay with (and hope they will choose you too).
Even if you are an introvert, you can meet other introverts there too. It is the best way for them to meet other travelers. The other way would be to go and meet random people in the street. Couchsurfing is better.
I have traveled a lot with Couchsurfing (my adventures are in this article). It’s quite difficult to keep in touch with people after I leave them, but I still have some good friends to exchange messages from time to time.
5) Organize activities
This one is very powerful way to meet a lot of people that are interested in the same thing as you. But courage is needed, lots of courage.
The activity must not be a huge event. There are lots of facebook groups (better if they’re local) where you can tell: “I’m going to do this and this, who wants to join?”. This could be some hiking (hiking is great, isn’t it?), going to an art gallery or anything else you are specifically interested about.
I never did that, but I have joined such ultra small events organized by a friend of a friend several times.
Enjoy your friendships!
Things I described are suitable for quiet and shy people because people are more often doing things there, than just talking about them. And that is great because it’s safe and meaningful.
No matter are you looking for a friend to have meaningful conversations with or even trying to find true love, try one of these ways, the one which is the most comfortable for you.
But if you don’t want to have more friends, it’s okay just the way it is. Then, enjoy your quiet time as it is!