By Kelly Youngblood
Why is it so hard to make new friends as an adult?
You would think it would be easy for mature, intelligent people to find other like-minded adults to hang out with, but that’s just not always the case.
For one reason, we’re all really busy and building friendships takes time. We’re also human, and that means we can still feel nervous or insecure about putting ourselves out there on the friendship market. (Stupid junior high and its lifelong scars.)
Or maybe the reason is we just don’t know where to go to meet new people or make new friends.
Sure, some of us can befriend co-workers at the office or luck out and move in right next door to nice neighbors who become great friends. But what if you don’t work outside of the home or your nearest neighbor is a mile away?
Whether you’re new to town or just looking to make new friends, here are some ways our readers have grown their friendship network while living in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Playgroups aren’t just for kids. They are a great way for moms and dads to get out, socialize, and make new friends as well. There are many playgroups in the Champaign-Urbana area and not all of them take place during the day when some parents are at work. Check out our Playgroup Guide to find out which one could work for you.
Similar to playgroups, mom groups offer an opportunity for moms (and dads) to meet new people, share experiences and make new friends. Some groups may have a religious affiliation but not all of them do. Our Mom Groups Guide includes several options in the area.
Have you heard of this website? I hadn’t until recently but it looks like a really cool way to “find your people.” Just a quick look at groups in the Champaign-Urbana area showed over 40 different “clubs” looking for new members. The focus of each group varies but the goal is the same: to meet new people who share the same interests.
So much of our time is spent at our children’s extra curricular activities, it seems like a reasonable place to find a friend. Plus, you know you already have something in common with the other parents. The next time you’re at a dance class, swim lesson or soccer game, strike up a conversation with a fellow mom or dad. You’ll probably find you have more in common than just your children’s interests.
Making a difference through volunteer work is a great way to spend your time. It’s also an opportunity to meet new people (and probably really nice people at that.) Read our guide to Family Volunteering to find out how you can get involved and possibly make some new friends.
Try something new
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but just haven’t gotten around to it? If you’ve been thinking about taking that cake decorating class or signing up for tennis lessons, I’m giving you permission right now to do it. Want to try roller derby? Join the YMCA and take yoga classes? Just go for it. It will give you a chance to meet new people and even if you don’t really connect with anyone, you will be learning something new.
Plan your own party
Don’t wait for an invitation to a party, dinner or night out on the town. Plan your own fun event and invite anyone you think has “BFF potential.”
Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for coincidental meetings. You know how people say you’ll find love when you’re least expecting it? Well, the same goes for friendships. The next time you take the kids to the park, library, pool, etc. start up a conversation with someone you don’t know. That chance encounter could lead to a lifelong friendship.
How have you made friends in the C-U area? Share your tips with our readers!