For those of us who are introverts, new to a city, have insular office jobs or don’t reside in a bustling metropolis – figuring out how to make new friends can be really tough. During Episode 14, a listener finds herself in this very dilemma. Career coach and 20/20 Shift Founder, Ariel Lopez, joined us to recommend a few ways to expand your personal and professional networks to form meaningful bonds with new folks.
Interested in mentorship? Giving back to the community? Maybe you love music and want to attend concerts or other cool events for free or lend a hand to your favorite political candidate on the campaign trail. Consider donating your time through volunteer activities. You’ll form bonds with other people rallying around a social cause or event plus feel good about doing it.
2. Pick Up a New Hobby
I recently got back into painting for fun. Beyond being a really fun creative outlet, it’s given me something to chat about at the office and I’ve actually connected with one or two people who also enjoy painting. We’ve talked about taking classes together and finding ways to share in our creative outlet. Do you enjoy travel? Football? Hack-a-thons? Writing? Acting? There are hundreds of thousands of common interest groups and organizations out there! Find one you like and give it a try. Also, don’t be afraid to share your hobbies with your network – you never know where you’ll discover mutual interests.
3. Join a Trade or Professional Organization
If you’re looking to make industry-specific connections, consider joining a professional organization or trade association. Since launching our podcast, my producer has introduced me to a New York City Radio club comprised of people who work in the podcasting and public radio space. They meet regularly and I’ve started attending their events to learn more about the industry and make connections with people who are passionate about the space. Whether you work in tech, advertising, finance or non-profits – there are no shortage of organizations at your disposal both online and offline.
4. Go on a Meet Up
Utilize Meetup, Eventbrite, Splash or Facebook Events to see what’s going on in your city. Many of these platforms integrate with your existing social networks and can show you which of your friends are already attending an event nearby. If you’re introverted, you may not want to go to a 10,000 person gathering on your first outing, but start to think of creative ways to put yourself out there based on your interests.
5. Follow Up With Your Existing Contacts
Not in the mood to form new bonds right now? No problem! Consider deepening relationships with existing people in your network. Have a friend that took a really cool trip to Bali last year? Ask them to coffee to hear about their experience. Old boss got a new gig? Take them on a congratulatory lunch to catch up. Host a casual brunch and ask your friends to bring one other person. There are probably a ton of really fascinating people right under your nose!