Most things about school might be annoying, but the one great thing about the classroom environment is that it makes it easy to make friends. From passing notes in class to gossiping in the hallway to sharing food in the cafeteria, there are lots of opportunities to meet people. Making friends in school is easy because you’re already surrounded by your peers in an environment that forces you to talk to people.
Unfortunately, just because we’re around these peers every single day doesn’t mean that we like them. Some people don’t have friends at their school, and the struggle to make friends outside of school becomes difficult. It’s even more difficult when you’re not in school at all. But just because you’re not taking classes doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. While the real world doesn’t offer peers up on a platter quite like school does, the extra effort made to connect with people can be worth it. There is potential to meet new people anywhere, if you’re ready to be friendly. Step outside of your comfort zone and into the friendship zone! Here are 10 places where you can make friends outside of school:
In A Sports LeagueYou don't have to earn a spot on the varsity team to get involved in athletics. Many cities offer intramural or coed sports leagues just for fun or for friendly competition. Participating in a group activity like playing on a sports team is a great way to bond with others. First step, teammates; second step, friends! Source: iStock
In Your Local Coffee ShopIf there's a cool coffee shop near you, chances are, there are a bunch of people who go in regularly. Coffee shops just attract that kind of crowd. Start going a few times a week and observe the customers. If you notice someone you think seems cool, strike up a conversation. If things go well, ask if she wants to meet for coffee the next day or something. Source: iStock
At WorkIf you have time to balance work with school, family, friends, and extracurriculars, a part-time job can be a perfect way to make extra cash and meet new people. While you should tread carefully as a new employee to get the lay of the land - some work environments discourage personal interaction while some encourage it - making friends with people you work with is easy because you already have something in common. Plus you have someone to call when you need your shift covered! (Make sure to return the favor.) In fact, I would go so far as to say that work is even better for meeting friends than at school. Make your time at your job more enjoyable by becoming close with your co-workers. Source: iStock
Through Your Significant OtherIf you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can use their friends to make friends. If you're dating a dude, see if any of his fellow dude friends have girlfriends, and then ask him to set up some double dates. Dating a BF's friend's girlfriend is great because then you can all do things together. You can also become friendly with his friends. Same thing goes if you're dating a girl. Source: iStock
Through Your FamilyBeing "set up" gets a bad rap, but sometimes your family really does know you best. When the match is purely platonic and meant for non-romantic reasons, some of the pressure is off. Your mom has been saying for years that her friend's daughter is your age and wouldn't it be fun to hang out - do it! Does your older brother have friends who have siblings? Plan a group outing. If your siblings are close in age to you, you can also become friends with their friends. And of course, you can become friends with siblings too. Only child? If you have cousins, hang out with your cousin and their friends, and try to become friendly with everyone. Source: iStock
Through Your Existing FriendsOne way I've made a lot of friends is through my other friends. I know it's easy to get jealous of the girl your bestie has gotten super buddy-buddy with, but try to put away the bitter feelings, and become friends with her too. There's no reason you can't all hang out! Source: iStock
At A Book Club (Or Any Club)It's always nice to finish a book and be able to gush about it with a friend. Join a local book club to meet other people who like reading the same kind of books you do, or branch out and try a new genre. If your community doesn't have a book club, think about starting one! Of course, if reading isn't your cup of tea, join a club involving any hobby you're interested in, be it knitting, scrapbooking, hiking, etc. Hanging out with people who have common interests automatically sets the friendship in motion. And chances are, most of the people in those clubs also joined because they're looking for friends too. Source: iStock
At The GymThe gym is a pretty great way to meet people. While some people are only interested in focusing on their workout, many people are also interested in talking or even complaining about their workout to others. You can strike up a convo with the girl you always see on the treadmill, or you can start taking a weekly class and become friendly with the people there. Source: iStock
In The LibraryWhile you're searching for the next novel to recommend to book club (or maybe just studying for an upcoming exam), take a look around. There are probably other students studying, browsing, or hanging out. Strike up a conversation about the woes of midterms and you'll be swapping pop quiz horror stories in no time. Since the library is a quiet space, take the conversation further in the coffee shop next door. Source: iStock
When ShoppingNeed an opinion on that dress you tried on? Ask the girl in the dressing room next to yours. Strike up a conversation about your favorite stores, the best sales going on right now, and how much you're craving a pretzel from the food court. Invite her to join you! Another option is that if there's a store you always go into and you've started to get to know the employees, you might be able to become friends with them also. Source: iStock
Which of these places have you tried already? What did we forget to include? How do you make friends outside of school? Tell us in the comments!