How to Meet People

Make no mistake about it: knowing how to meet people is a skill that will, depending on your case, either save or enrich your social life. Like most of us, you may live in a huge human settlement, but that doesn’t necessarily make meeting new people easy.

The essential benefit of knowing how to meet people effectively is that it gives you a lot more social options. Thus, you don’t have to settle for a crummy bunch of friends or to fool yourself that playing a MMORPG equals having a social life.

Meet People Proactively

Wouldn’t you love having a way to meet new people with barely any effort, from the comfort of your own home, and build fulfilling relationships? Well, I have news for you:

There isn’t any! You’re daydreaming!

The essential trait to master in learning how to meet people effectively is a proactive attitude. It means taking responsibility for your social life and acting in the outside world in order to meet people, instead of waiting for them to act and meet you.

I know that meeting people online is taking ground, and there are specific ways you can meet people successfully online. But that doesn’t mean that overall, it’s an effective method. It’s mostly proof that we’re looking for quick fixes.

Overall, if you want to make friends and enhance your social life, you’ll have to:

  • Get out of the house more;
  • Go to places where there are other folks who are eager to interact socially;
  • Start conversations, be friendly and outgoing;
  • Make conversation with people face to face.

Where to Meet People

Fortunately, there’s a plethora of methods and places to meet new people. Unfortunately, not all of them are that effective.

I’ve tested quite a few of them and my communication coaching clients have tested even more of them. Condensing these experiences, I believe there are at least three ways to meet people that are worth using:

1. Classes and trainings. Whatever it is that you fancy learning, there are probably a lot of people in your vicinity who want to learn it as well: from cooking to photography, from communication skills to playing the harmonica.

Taking a class or going to a training program on a topic that interests you is one of the best ways to meet new people. I personally use this method all the time and many of my best friends I’ve met in various classes and trainings.

2. Sports and physical activities. Every year I see more and more nuts (aaa… people) jogging passed me on the street; and many of them are in pairs. In general, exercising is becoming increasingly popular and it’s taking on an increasingly social form.

So the answer to the question “how to meet people?” might be for you to take on a sport that’s social in nature (translation: it involves more than one person). Think tennis, basketball, hiking, running, dancing, etc. There are organized groups, associations, and local communities in many sports, and they’re usually looking for new members.

3. Volunteer work. This is an excellent way to meet like-minded people who believe in the same causes you do. Most of the people who do volunteer work are not there just to make a contribution, but also to socialize.

Think about the things you would like to volunteer for and start searching for groups or organizations in your area that do those kinds of deeds. Get in touch with them and start getting involved in their events and activities.

Find Out What Works For You

Besides the ways to meet people that tend to work for nearly everyone, there are even more ways that work for particular types of individuals.

Learning how to meet people in church and applying it might be great for you if you’re a highly religious person. Learning how to meet people in bars and clubs might be great for you if you’re not a highly religious person.

What I encourage my coaching clients to do and I encourage you as well is to test it out. Experiment with various methods of meeting new people and be willing to get out of your comfort zone.

Eventually, you’ll find those ways to meet people that best fit your personality and you can focus on them. Learning how to meet people may also require you to make some adjustments to your personality and improve your people skills, but it will be worth it.

What you don’t want to do is act as if what works for others to meet people won’t work for you without giving it a shot, and to settle for a minutely exciting social life.

You live in a world with more possibilities for meeting new people and having great relationships than ever. The only person that could possibly stand in your way is you.

Image courtesy of CraigMarston

How to Meet New People and Make New Friends

I remember many years ago, a woman told me how she is often bored because she doesn’t have a lot of friends. She was living in a city with over 3.000.000 people. I was shocked. I was wondering: “How can you live surrounded by so many people and not have enough friends to spend some quality time with?

Since then, this scene has repeated itself many times, with many other persons. After a while, I realized how common this phenomenon was and it no longer shocked me.

I began thinking how I could assist others to meet new people and make new friends; thus my current profession plus a marginal obsession for social dynamics and improving people skills.

The Loneliness Paradox

Most of us walk on the streets every day passing by hundreds of other people. And yet many of us lack a good social circle, both in terms of quality and quantity.

It’s obviously not a problem of options. As a person who at one point consciously increased their sociability factor, I can tell you that there are not only a lot of people, but also many cool people out there, eager to meet new people and make new friends. It is a problem of confidence, strategy, people skills, or any combination of the three.

The good news is that you can develop any of these and get the kind of social life you want. In this article I will give you the fundamental points to developing your social circle and enriching your social life.

Meeting New People

One great way to meet new people is, in my view, taking on social activities. These activities can include sports, classes, hobbies, volunteer work etc. There are dozens of examples of specific social activities, which is exactly why I think it’s pointless for me to give you a few.

The point is to use social activities to get in environments where there are other people and by the nature of the activity you interact with them. At the same time, you want to get involved in activities which you believe you might enjoy; not just any social activity.

The other great way to meet new people that I know is getting your current friends to introduce you to some of their other friends. Of course, this doesn’t apply if your current friends are in a faraway town or if they don’t have any other friends, but it does apply in any other scenario.

I often tell my friends to give me a call whenever they’re going out with a group of cool people or to a fun party. I’ve repeated this to a few of them so many times that now they are in the habit of thinking about me whenever they go out. It helps if at one point, you can return your friends the favor, but in my experience, it’s not a must.

Making New Friends

Keep in mind that interacting with a new person does not automatically make that person a friend. Friendships happen when two people feel connected in some way. They discover they have things in common, they like each other or they got used with being part of each other’s lives.

Once you’ve met new people, you will need to keep the ball rolling in order to develop friendships. Two things come to mind on how to do this.

The first thing is to be very sociable. When interacting with somebody: talk about yourself and open up, ask the other person questions, listen actively, make jokes and focus on positive topics. Apparently simple actions like these and mixing them the right way are a reflection of good skills with people and the very fabric of making friends.

The second thing is to take the initiative and ask people out. If you interact with a person and you’re getting along well, that’s more than a good reason to initiate future interactions.

So if for example, you meet a person in your photography class you enjoy interacting with them, give them a call sometimes and ask them to join you for coffee, or something similar. As the interactions get rolling, if you get along even better, a friendship develops.

On paper/ your monitor, it may appear very easy to meet new people and make new friends. The trick is to skillfully apply ideas like the ones above. And the emphasis is not initially on the word ‘skillfully’, but on the word ‘apply’. Most people I know with poor social lives essentially need to get off their asses more.

One of the reasons I teach people skills is because I have seen and I have experienced for myself how fulfilling a rich social life can be. We live now in a world with more social opportunities than ever. I’m convinced it’s a worthwhile task to make good use of them.

Image courtesy of MorBCN