How Do I Meet New People as an Adult?

A lot of people (myself included) often wonder how to meet new people as adults. As a child the interactions were facilitated and it seemed easier, but as adults it’s still possible – we just have to do more work to get the same results.

Here are some things you can do to facilitate friendship:

Attend Meetups

One thing I’ve learned about meetups is that to make the lasting friendships there, you can’t just show up and leave. You have to stay until the end, see who’s still around, and then ask them to go get a beer or a coffee afterwards. In that way, you’ll create a much deeper, longer lasting relationship with someone that could become a friendship.

Indianapolis Marketing Meetup

Change Habits

Pick one habit to change such as your drive home. For example, instead of driving straight home, stop at a park and walk around. If you see someone there, talk to them. If you are the first person to leave work, be the last person to leave and engage in a deeper conversation with one new person. If you always take the same streets home, purposefully take a different path and pay attention to what you see. You might find a new place to hang out (and meet new people).

Or, instead of driving to work, see if there is a way to carpool, walk, or ride a bike to work. You could also wake up one hour earlier than normal and be the first person in a local coffee shop in the morning. If you don’t know the name of the barista or checkout person at the gas station, ask them their name and tell them yours. The next time you are there, greet them by name.

By making slight changes to your daily habits, you can cause unknown, unintended, changes (like the butterfly effect) that will lead you down a different path than the one you’re on now. In addition to small changes in your actions, here are some pretty standard things you can do to “meet new people” and “make friends.”

  1. Be thankful for the life you already have.
  2. When someone asks you to do something you wouldn’t normally do, consider doing it this time.
  3. Join a local church.
  4. Find a local meetup on meetup.com.
  5. Start a new habit and do something consistently to see who else is doing that same thing consistently. Talk to that person.
  6. Help someone younger than you or older than you without expecting to get paid.
  7. Look for ways to volunteer.
  8. Join a coworking facility.
  9. Consistently visit a bar or coffee shop at a certain time.
  10. Be the friend you want to have – invite other people to lunch with you, tell other people what you are doing and invite them to join you, throw a party at your house or apartment, rent out a gym and play some dodgeball, join a softball or kickball league, play a pick-up basketball game at the local park.

To do the things you’re not doing now, you’re going to have to do the things you’re not doing now. That means taking a different path through life, doing things a little bit differently, going places you normally don’t go, doing things you normally don’t do – and being consistent about it.

People who don’t have a clue what they want in life usually don’t know themselves very well. We all like to live in our comfort zones. Same life, friends and activities for years. We think that when we are more comfortable that we are more happy. But the key to happiness may be in getting out of your comfort zone.

The key is to throw yourself in situations which are out of your comfort zone. Go on a trip somewhere obscure, preferably alone. Take some odd job, Do crazy stuff. Break your barriers. Don’t just sit and think about what your passions are. Go find them.

When you do things that normally isn’t you, you will discover what truly is you.

It can be very difficult to get out of our comfort zones – they are comfortable after all. But comfort does not equate to happiness. I think we tend to believe that we know who we are, when in reality we have settled for what we are currently because we are afraid to get out of our comfort zones.

The best part about getting outside of your comfort zone is that it gives you one of the greatest feelings that money cannot buy: Appreciation. We are all aware that we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, but that understanding hits a lot harder when we experience it first hand.

Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult?

As one New York Times article stated, “As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other”, which are things school and college are perfect for. The people at work would be the next best thing, but aren’t always the pool of people you’d necessarily want to be friends with (sometimes).

But there are other ways to get these types of interactions – frequenting a coffee shop or bar, church, or meetups that other like-minded people also frequent – all take care of those points. When we are little we make friends where we find them. Do you live next door? You’re my friend. Do you sit next to me at school? You’re my friend. Generally we have similar, but limited interests. But as an adult we filter out the people we don’t agree with politically, socially, or for other reasons. By the time we get to the few people left there’s a very small pool of potential friends via self-selection.

It may not be that it actually gets any harder to make friends as you get older, rather that you get better attuned to what you want in a friend.

As an adult I only hang out with people that I actually like and who I feel a mutual sense of value with: they bring something good to my life, I feel I bring something good to theirs. It takes time to find people like that, but it’s worth the effort.

The Best Times of Your Life

In the last episode of The Office, Andy Bernard says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ole’ days before you’ve actually left them.”

The Best Times of Your Life

Have you ever wondered if the best times of your life are behind you? How do you know when you’re in the best times of your life? How do you know if there are still good times to come?

I remember sitting with my best friend, eating pizza, and watching TV while laying back in our recliners. My friend turned to me and asked, “What if this is the best time of our lives and it’s all downhill from here?” The year was 2001 and shortly after we each lost our jobs, moved apart, and September 11th happened. Things change.

What if there isn’t one best time in your life, but “episodes of greatness” – pockets of time in different times of your life that can be considered the best times of that era?

While there are many years I cannot consider the best times of my life, I’ve had many periods I consider the best parts of my life. Those episodes always include the following factors:

  • Actively spending time with people I love
  • Basic needs are met (ie. secure job and location)
  • Working on a project or something bigger than myself

If you’re wondering if your best times are behind you, look at what made those times great and vehemently seek out those same conditions in the future. If your friends or family don’t have time for you, first make time for them, but seek out new experiences. Get out of your comfort zone. Eventually the new zone will become comfortable too.

If your basic needs aren’t being met, first make sure you are safe and that you have reliable housing and income. That’s easy to say and sometimes very hard to do. I understand. But realize that things do get better through incremental progress, even if it’s slow. Make one change a month and you’ll be a completely different person in a year.

If you aren’t working towards any big goals or are aren’t part of a team working on something bigger than yourself, it’s hard to feel fulfilled in life. Not everyone can find their purpose in life, but you can make an effort to work purposefully, and through that work, feel fulfilled and happy. It could be one of the best times of your life.

First Days of Summer Spent at Spring Mill State Park

Vacation; The Art of Disengaging

For the last few nights, when I go to sleep at night, I have been dreaming about my day job.  I’ve been helping out with business continuity planning for the last couple of weeks and it’s taken up more time outside of normal business hours than I realized.  It wasn’t until I looked back over the last two weeks to see where the time had gone that I saw how the business continuity planning and events had affected my life.

During the day I am a business analyst.  This means I review, recommend, and maintain various systems.  At night I work as a business consultant providing business solutions to various customers.  When the two jobs start to occupy the same time, two things happen.  One, my stress level goes up and two, a lot less normal activity gets done e.g. mowing the yard, folding laundry, putting away the dishes.

A while back my wife asked if I would accompany her on a business trip to Spring Mill State Park where she would be attending a training seminar.  I was to help her take care of our youngest child of three, who is still breast feeding. What this would mean for me would be watching him at night while she goes and studies in the lobby with her classmates and again during the test on the last day.  The rest of the time would be up to me.

I asked my best friend, who happens to also be my boss, if I could get those three days off.  He said I could, but because of Federal laws I’d actually have to take five days off instead.  I agreed and so starting yesterday, I was officially on vacation.

At first it was hard to disconnect.  I kept thinking about things I had to do at work as a business analyst.  For example, I realized I forgot to set my email and voicemail away messages.  And there were people I had talked to at the business continuity event that I said I would email, but did not have the chance to.  I decided to actively change my thoughts and chose to think about other things, thereby beginning the disengagement from work.

Gaining Control of My Thoughts

It wasn’t until we started driving down to Spring Mill State Park this morning that I started analyzing my thought patterns, only to find that I was focusing on what I didn’t want instead of what I did.  I was creating scenarios in my mind whereby people didn’t like what I was trying to do, did not approve of it, and were actively working against it.  I was looking for ways to spend less time and hide more from those I thought were my enemies only to realize that they were only enemies in my mind – and if I could change my mind, I could change my reality.

In addition, my wife and I decided the night before that I would use the time alone walking the trails to be a one-on-one prayer time with God.  We want prosperity for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our neighbors.  We want to see others succeed.  We wanted to be thankful for all that we had been given: the children, the love we had for each other, the roof over our heads, and the incomes we are blessed to recieve.  We realize that wealth is part of prosperity and actively ask for God to overflow us with the abundance he has created.

This morning, after arriving at the park, I set off on trail 3, which goes by three caves in a loop to and from the Spring Mill Inn.  I would love to be in better shape than what I currently am, but as it is, I was huffing and puffing from step 1 of the trail.  My body learned to adjust and I would say things to myself like, “I am healthy and I am strong,” in order to keep going.  The biting flies were out and so Erich Stauffer, Fly Killa, was brought out of retirement.  Then I remembered what my wife and I had spoke about the night before and I began to pray.

I didn’t close my eyes.  I just walked and talked with God.  When I focused on Him, the flies weren’t around, but when I thought about the flies, the flies came back.  I had an incentive in this regard to keep my eyes on Jesus during my walk.  There was one point early on, about a quarter of the way through when I felt God say to me, “Run! Run as fast as you can!” I ran for about 20 feet then went back to walking and although it was later in the morning, the sky was not brighter.

At the half-way point I was near exhaustion, but there was no turning back now.  I had to go on.  I began singing praise songs, just making something up or singing “Hallelujah” over and over. I was still having trouble controlling my thoughts.  It seemed I could not even take attendance of them as they were jumbling into a ball as dust gathers under a bed.  I could not tell if it was my physical condition causing my lack of thought control or my lack of thought control causing my physical condition.  I decided there was only one that I could change, so I began working on changing my thoughts.

About 3/4ths of the way through I decided to ‘clear the mechanism’ and focus on one thing.  I decided I wanted to see a deer.  I figured this was a reasonable goal/request since it was early morning, I was in the woods, and with one clear thought, it should be easy to attract.  The woods were now getting darker, not lighter.  I remember saying, “Isn’t the morning supposed to get lighter, not darker?”

I continued to walk, looking down at my path, making sure to not trip or misplace my step – and that’s when I had my aha moment.  How could I see a deer when I am not looking for one? I can’t ask to see something, then not look for it, can I? No rational person asks for help, then keeps no lookout for help, do they?  I am reminded, just now, of the story of the man in sinking boat who asks God to save him.  A boat comes by and a sailor asks the man if he needs help, which the man replies, “No, I am waiting on God to save me. This happens two more times until the man finally drowns.  In heaven the man asks God why he didn’t save him and God replies, “I sent three boats!”

So I began to keep my head up, actively looking for the deer I had asked to see, noticing only how dark the forest now seemed. And that’s when I saw it – and heard it – and began to run.

It was a wall of white mist moving through the forest like a smoke monster, but instead of sounding like a New York City cab receipt printer, it was a mix of snapping limbs, heavy rain, and thunder.  I ran as far as I thought I could and finding myself at the top of a ridge with no foliage cover, I ran until I reached cover again, but it was no use.  Even under the trees, the rain was too much and I was drenched.  I began to walk.  Limbs were falling all around me and I remembered what God had told me earlier.  I didn’t run and now I was stuck in a storm.

How I Met Your Mother

By the time I made it to the parking garage, I was soaked.  In two and a half hours Zac would be there.  I felt defeated.  I sat, dripping, in the back of my Vibe with the hatch back open. I wasn’t sure exactly what to do, but over the course of the next 45 minutes I ended up telling the rain to stop, completely changing my clothes, and walked in to eat an all you can eat buffet.  Like Jim Gaffigan says, the bacon tray was at the end and I said to myself, “If I knew you were down here, I would have waited!”

I did wait on my wife – or at least intended to.  After breakfast I was zonked, but we were not yet able to check into the hotel so I went out to the car to sleep.  My wife ended up knocking on the window about a half hour later.  I couldn’t sleep after that so I went to visit the Gus Grissom museum until Zac was to arrive.  I have this thing where I know when to move in order to arrive on time or to meet someone so when I got the feeling, I acted on it.  I was to meet Zac in front of the Spring Mill Inn.  On my way back, I decided to guess what vehicle Zac drove.  I decided it was silver and probably a Jeep.

I parked my car, walked to the front of the Inn, sat down in a rocking chair, and watched as a silver Rendevue pulled into the parking lot and Zac got out (at least I got the color right).  At the same time, my wife stepped out the front door with the keys to our room and together we met Zac by the flag pole.

[NOTE: There is little to no cell phone reception at Spring Mill park, except in one location, around the flag pole.  They call it “flag-pole reception”.  I wondered why so I began to think about why this was.  I looked around and as you can see in this overhead photo, the entrance to the inn is like a parabola with the flag pole being the focus, thereby magnifying any signals enough to talk around the flag pole.]spring-mill-in

Zac, my wife, and I sat down for lunch.  One of the things we talked about was how I met my wife.  Last week, a coworker at my day job asked if I watched, “How I Met Your Mother.” I said I never had and he highly recommended it.  This afternoon, Zac also recommended the show.  I feel that this was a show I should be watching so I will be recording it to do DVR when I get home and might even catch up online if possible.

We hiked almost every trail in the park, including the one I had already walked that morning with God.  We talked about thoughts, love, and joy.  By the time we got back to the inn, we were both thirsty.  I had a Mountain Dew and Zac had Cherry Coke.  We watched Amazing Kreskin videos on Youtube until my wife got out of her class.  She handed me the baby and I handed Zac four quarters to play a pinball game.  With the extra lives he was able to play one pinball game for over 15 minutes.  Once my wife got back we went back up to the room and watched more Youtube videos and talked until Zac took off.

It was a good way to spend my birthday.  I now realize that one of my love languages is time spent with people.  That is why I cherish time playing Settlers of Catan or eating a meal with friends or family.  I hope that even if those reading this are in a normal scenario this week that you can still look for God in everyday life.  Be careful what you think and ask for what you want.