In our early years, connecting with others feels so effortless we don’t even think much about it. The other neighborhood kids ask us to play and suddenly a boring summer day turns into hours of running around the backyard, trying not to stain your shorts with juice from your Firecracker popsicle. Or you become fast friends with the girl who sits next to you in Language Arts and shares her gel glitter pens. If you decide upon the college route, making plans for Thursday night might be as simple as throwing on some cozies, popping a big bag of popcorn, and walking across the dorm to invite the neighbors to binge the latest episode of The Bachelor.
But as we grow older, people move to new cities, find new jobs, or start families and shift priorities. Calendars fill up and it’s harder to keep in touch to kindle those same friendships. Without the common factors of school or work, it’s not quite as effortless to meet new faces or find commonalities that come with sharing time together every day. Let’s face it—making new friends as an adult can be kind of hard!
So how do those of us who still want to expand our social circles find ways to realistically do so? Below, YES shares a few simple ways we’ve been able to cultivate meaningful connections.
Take a Class
When you’re younger, you naturally gravitate towards the activities you enjoy. Signing up for a pottery or new fitness class is an easy way to reconnect with old hobbies and interests, or simply get out of your comfort zone as you try something entirely new. Columbus is home to a wide variety of activities—quite a few of which are free—and offers a chance to explore an interest while also interacting with people you might not have had the chance to meet otherwise.
Join a Group
We’re not the first ones to want to make new friends as adults—and there are several groups and online communities to prove it. Groups aren’t organized solely by activities or hobbies either. Whether you’re a first-time mom, a transplant to thecity, recent grad or empty-nester, there’s a group for others in a similar life stage or transitionary period who may have similarities in common.
And no, we’re not just referring to ourselves in the first person here. We’re talking Shonda Rhimes-level, get real comfortable outside your comfort zone kind of “yes.” Switch up your normal routine. If you come home and decompress by reading or Netflixing your night into oblivion, try something new! Change up the path of your after-work stroll through the park, strike up friendly conversation with a stranger in line at Stauf’s, visit that Open Mic Night you’ve been eyeing on the memo board at the library but didn’t think you were “artsy” enough to attend. Connect and engage with your surroundings in new ways, and connections will slowly start to find you.
But since we did happen to mention YES, one of the great things about joining YES! Columbus is the commitment to fostering a sense of community. We plan numerous events and volunteering opportunities that bring together a diverse array of individuals committed to the same vision of empowering women and developing professionally and personally. If you’ve attended any of our Member Meetups, you know we also like to have fun too!