Many people put career achievements and family milestones at the top of their “adulting” bucket lists. Making new friends—an activity typically associated with one’s childhood or school years—is usually not something that’s top of mind. But isolation and loneliness don’t get easier during adulthood, and a number of adults want to socialize more actively despite it being harder to do so than before.
A 2019 survey commissioned by Evite revealed that 45 percent of American respondents hadn’t made a new friend in up to five years. The top hurdles to brokering new friendships included people’s own shyness or introversion, worries that most other adults had already formed their own fixed social circles, commitments to family, and the limits of moving to a new city. 45 percent of respondents, however, cited their desire to make friends and socialize more often if they had the opportunities to do so.
As a working woman whose career, family, and other similar commitments often come first, do you crave a way to let loose and bond with others? Here are five ways that you can socialize as an adult and find fun, fulfillment, and friendship among people at similar life stages as you:
1) Attend Community Events and Festivals
First, remember that you don’t have to travel very far to engage in social activities. You can simply step outside your house and see what’s happening in your local scene. Neighborhoods across America hold a variety of events and festivals in which everyone in the community is welcome. From art exhibitions and music festivals to food fairs and parades, there may be a plethora of local events where you’ll be able to meet new people from various backgrounds.
Consider joining one of these activities as an attendee or as a concessionaire. This will allow you to see new faces, strike up conversations, and immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of your community. You’ll also be able to celebrate the cultural diversity and creativity of your neighborhood, giving you a sense of belongingness that’s the best foundation for cultivating adult friendships.
2) Join Clubs and Interest Groups
You can also join a club or interest group to socialize with like-minded folks while pursuing your passions. For instance, when you join a fitness class, you’ll get to meet other people who also love being athletic or whose fitness and health-related goals are quite similar to yours. Your shared passion will give you the confidence to bond about fitness in simple ways, like discussing your favorite exercise routines or finding the best sports fashion products like women’s leggings together.
The same could be said of an endeavor like sports teams, hiking clubs, photography clubs, or even embroidery circles. Having an interest in common will make it easy for you to bond and have fun with other adults, no matter how old you all are.
3) Enroll in Classes and Workshops
If you’re the type of person who sees the value in lifelong learning, enrolling in an adult learning class or workshop will give you an avenue to socialize with like-minded individuals who share your eagerness to learn and explore new skills. Whether you’re taking up photography, pottery, or language courses, these settings encourage interaction, camaraderie, and mutual learning among participants. You’ll be sure to make friends after bouncing ideas off of each other, testing each other’s skills, and uplifting each other throughout your growth in your learning journeys.
4) Volunteer for Causes You Care About
Volunteering is a great way to meet people who are passionate about making a difference in the world, and to give back to your common community at the same time. The good work you do together will pave the way for both fulfilling and socially rewarding experiences.
Whether it’s participating in environmental cleanups, assisting at local shelters, or supporting charitable events, you’ll be sure to meet kind-hearted individuals dedicated to creating positive change. Nurture relationships with them, as well as the people you’ll help.
5) Take Part in Group Travel and Retreat Experiences
Lastly, a group travel tour or wellness retreat may be just what you need to rest, relax, and reflect on life’s blessings while bonding with other people who want a break from the hustle and bustle of their professional lives. Some examples of events you can join are adventure group tours, sports group tours, meditation retreats, spa retreats, outdoor adventure retreats, and creativity retreats. Make meaningful memories during your experience and keep in contact with people who really jibe with you.
There are many benefits to socializing as an adult. Regular socialization can reduce your stress levels, enhance your communication skills, and improve your physical and mental health. All in all, if you put effort into socializing—from seeking out classes or teams to join to putting together the most fashionable outfits for the occasion—good things will come out of your initiative to leave your comfort zone.
It may be challenging at first to fit your new socializing routines into your schedule. But once you expand your social circle and meet new friends who make your life more fulfilling, you’ll realize just how good an investment other people’s company is.