Fellow writer Paige Johnson wrote this piece to share with my readers. Enjoy her advice. It's all good. -Carol McKibben
Many people find it hard to make new friends as an adult, even if it was something they were good at when they were younger. It can be awkward to put oneself into a situation with strangers when the goal is to meet people to spend time with, especially if there is social anxiety involved.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to give yourself a boost of confidence when it comes to meeting new people. Here are a few of the best.
Give yourself a mini-makeover
Not that you need an overhaul when it comes to your appearance, but many people have one problem area that makes them feel self-conscious around others. If your teeth are starting to show some wear and tear, for instance, you could use a whitening system or book a dentist appointment to have them cleaned. Everyday use of coffee and tea can be hell on our pearly whites, so don’t let it be the thing that holds you back or makes you feel not good enough. Everyone deals with it at some point, but getting a brighter smile can boost your confidence when it’s time to meet new people.
Another great confidence-booster is regular exercise. Exercising helps us improve our mood. So, working out before your next “friend date” or networking event might help you feel better about yourself so that you can be confident, open, and outgoing.
Get some moral support
Animals can be a wonderful way to meet new people. Not only do they provide a conversation starter, but there are many places pet lovers can meet one another and bond. Try a local pet store that allows customers to bring their animals shopping or a dog park.
Learn something new
Going back to school might not be in your foreseeable future, but taking a night or weekend class is a great--and affordable--way to learn something new and get social. If there isn’t a school near you that offers such classes, consider doing a “wine and canvas” course, where you pay a flat fee to have a drink while you create a masterpiece.
Make social media work for you
Social media can be a wonderful tool for becoming more, well, social. While it’s not a good idea to meet up with a stranger you only know online, you can find groups such as book clubs, artist meetups, and mommy’s day outs that will allow you to bond with people you know you’ll have things in common with.
Make an effort at work or school
If you work in a setting with several other people and haven’t taken the time yet to get to know them, make an effort by inviting a few of them to lunch or asking to sit with them in the breakroom. Or, if you’re feeling really social, have a party and invite everyone in the office. They’ll appreciate that you’re taking the time to get to know them, and you’ll reap the benefits by getting closer to the people you already spend every day with. Win/win.
It’s never easy to break out of our comfort zones, but having friends is an important part of living a happy life. Most people are content with keeping only a couple of people close to them, and that’s fine; it’s not about quantity, but quality.
Paige Johnson enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.