11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network

By Andrea Cannon on 22 February 2017 0 comments

Working from home can be a great thing. It allows you to work where you want, when you want, and has a number of other perks. However, it can be a bit lonely. Luckily, with the power of the Internet (and some motivation to get out and socialize), even those without an office water cooler to mill around can network and make new friends.

Networking Resources

Working off-site can take a toll on your professional network. To build your reputation, find mentors and collaborators, and connect with people in your industry, take advantage of some of the following networking resources. (See also: 15 Simple Networking Tricks)

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of those most common, popular ways to build and maintain professional relationships. It makes it so easy to network online with other professionals in your field. You can also use LinkedIn to find networking events and opportunities in your area, or connect you with organizations you are interested in.

2. Shapr

Shapr is an app that can connect you with like-minded people, allowing you to swipe left (pass) or right (interested) on your connections. You can set your favorite ways to meet, your passions and interests, and what you're looking for (collaborators, job opportunities, inspiration, potential investments, or new friends).

3. Work Your Existing Connections

Ask friends, past and current co-workers, or even your employer for recommendations on local networking events or seminars. Most cities have their own organizations that specialize in these types of events for working professionals of all kinds. If you can't find any from asking around, try a Google search, LinkedIn, or social media.

4. Take Classes

Consider taking a night class. In addition to growing your skills or teaching you something brand-new, you might befriend some fellow classmates along the way. Even online classes can connect you with new people with similar interests or background in your field.

5. Volunteer

Research some local organizations that could use a hand, and offer your time. Not only will you be contributing to a worthy cause, but you'll also be gaining experience (which looks great on a resume), expanding on your skill set, and of course, meeting new people. Volunteering allows you to become part of a community, which is a great way to expand your network.

Friendship Resources

If you don't get out much, maybe you should start! In the meantime, your smartphone or computer can also be the perfect friendly matchmaker.

6. Bumble BFF

Bumble was originally a dating app, but has expanded to include a "Bumble BFF" feature. Instead of swiping left or right on potential dates, you'll do the same for potential friends. Once you're paired with a new friend, you have only 24 hours to start a chat, so procrastinators and fair-weather friends aren't welcome.

7. Atleto

If you're looking for a workout buddy, then Atleto can help you find local sports activities and fellow fitness enthusiasts. The app can connect you with friends from your existing social media accounts, or you can find new friends in your area. This is a fun way to find an accountability buddy to help you reach your fitness goal.

8. Friender

Friender allows you to swipe left or right on potential connections. You'll create a profile based on personal interests and activities you enjoy, and Friender will recommend a few folks with mutual interests. This app is only for making friends, however, so you won't have to waste time with people who are looking for more.

9. Meetup

Meetup is an online organization with nearly 30 million members that hosts endless gatherings and social functions. You can meet people based on your occupation, personal interests (like hiking or cooking), location, and other factors that are important to you. Join a local club, take up a brand-new hobby, or explore somewhere new, all while making new like-minded friends along the way.

10. Social Media

There can be more to interacting with your Facebook friends than a simple "like" or the occasional comment. Reach out to those friends and old co-workers through Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Invite them out for lunch or drinks, and simply catch up. It'll feel great to get out and sit with people face to face.

11. Get Out More

Once you are no longer in school or working from an office, it can be challenging to meet new people in person. The best thing to do is visit places where connections naturally occur. Maybe find a book club through your local library, or sign up for that fitness class or 5K you've been aspiring to run. Try a local arts or cooking class, or even take your kids on a playdate where you can mingle with fellow parents. There are countless ways to meet new people if you just get out there!

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