7 Ways Grown-Ups Can Make New Friends Without Going Broke

By Paul Michael on 14 June 2018 0 comments

When you're a kid, making friends is easy. Walk up to another kid and say "Hey, wanna be my best friend?" and boom … you're inseparable. But as an adult, it's not as simple. Try that and you seem like a weirdo. You can obviously make friends through work, but what about outside of your employer? Cooking classes, bars, and yoga classes are certainly places to meet people who share your interests, but those activities can burn through your budget in no time. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make friends as a grown-up that won't drain your bank account.

1. Use a friend-finder app

There are plenty of dating apps out there, but what if you want to meet people for friendship only? Well, there are apps for that, too. Bumble, for example, is not just a dating app. You can tweak the settings to specifically be matched with people who only want to find a friend. You can have the app show you whatever gender you want, distance, and other factors, and then swipe like you would when looking for dates. Other apps that can facilitate this include Peanut (for moms looking for other moms to connect with), Skout, MeetMe, and even MeetMyDog (a way to meet fellow dog owners).

2. Find local meetings with people who share your interests

No doubt you have some kind of interests or hobbies outside of work (and if you don't, you're working way too hard). The internet has made it possible to find people who love the same things you love, regardless of how unusual or niche your passions may be. A site like MeetUp.com lists hundreds of different social groups in your area, covering everything from mountain biking and veganism, to brewing your own beers, blogging, and cosplaying. Do a search for your interest, check out the group, and attend with an open mind. (See also: 50 Hobbies You Can Start for $0)

3. Become a volunteer

Volunteering is not just a great way to meet people, it's also an excellent way to improve your self-esteem and give back to those in need. There are all kinds of opportunities, including helping out at animal shelters, feeding the homeless, or building homes for low-income families. Or you could join volunteer organization TogetherWise. It's a project that brings people together to bring a smile to foster kids around the country. You can decorate duffel bags and blankets, build bikes and skateboards, and create special birthday boxes. As you work together, you will naturally start talking to people, and maybe make a friend or two. (See also: 18 Free Ways to Be a Better Person)

4. Connect with more people on social media

Are you on Facebook? How about Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or even YouTube? If you aren't, well, you should definitely consider one of these platforms as a way to make friends. And if you already embrace these sites, go big. Look at friends you already have, and see who they're friends with. Start following people who genuinely interest you on Twitter or Instagram. You could find yourself becoming best friends with someone who lives just around the corner … or halfway around the world.

5. Become more active in your neighborhood

Long ago, everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood. These days, people tend to keep to themselves, and modern technology certainly hasn't helped that cause. But it doesn't have to stop you from making an effort to meet the people who live around you. You could start by organizing a neighborhood event, like a community garage sale or a scavenger hunt. Maybe block off your cul-de-sac and have a neighborhood potluck. A communication forum like Nextdoor can really help, as it uses your address to connect you with people who also live in your area. You can also get creative with posting flyers on community boards.

6. Drop hints with your co-workers and family

People know people. Your co-workers and family members have friends of their own. Maybe they know people whom you would get along with. All you have to do is drop a few subtle hints. Tell them that you'd love to get out more, but don't know many people. Ask if they know anyone interested in your hobbies. Lay a foundation so that the wheels start turning, and they realize that their friend knows someone who is just as much into kite-flying or indoor soccer as you are. You don't even have to be subtle. Just say, "Anyone know someone great who I'd get along with?" It never hurts to ask.

7. Hang out in bookstores and libraries

The library is obviously the cheaper option here, but bookstores are also a great place to meet people with bookish interests. If you're really into books about crime, strike up a conversation with someone browsing that section. It can be as simple as, "Can you recommend a good crime thriller?" or "What do you think of this author?" Most libraries and bookstores have a coffee and snack section now, so if you do hit it off, you can find a place to sit and chat. (See also: 7 Modern Reasons to Visit Your Local Library Today)

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