Friends Make You Happy: Upping Your Social Interactions

19 Oct

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I have (yet another) confession: For the past few months I’ve been feeling especially lonely due to my lack of social interaction. While I am following my dreams to become a writer, I lack the type of social interaction one may find from a “real job.” Lunch dates, office meeting, company events? Yes, that doesn’t exist in my world. And I’m definitely not complaining, but I do miss the social aspect of all those things. After all, I am an extremely social girl, and truly enjoy talking to people…all people! My family and friends can never get a word in when I’m around…that’s how much I love to talk. 

So you can imagine when I’m hanging out with me and my mac all day how things can quickly become rather lonely. Of course, I have my roommates, friends from college and acquaintances here and there, but they aren’t around all of the time, and many of them live far, far away (as far as Virginia). So that means I have to rely on the phone, email, and facebook to communicate with many of my closest friends. While I’m thankful for social networking, it doesn’t make me miss these friends any less. It’s face-to-face meet-ups and communication I desire. You see, in college it was the exact opposite of the situation I’m finding myself in at the moment. I had a group of more than a dozen close friends, all whom I could be my silly self around, tell my deepest secrets to, and vent to when I’m having a bad day. We were around one another 24/7, and there was zero privacy. We got ready to go out together, shared clothes with one another, and even shared boys with one another (HA!). We were inseparable. 

Ever since I’ve moved to Boston, I’ve finally learned to become independent, follow my dream of becoming a writer, and ultimately found myself. While many of these things are exceptional and I am more than proud of myself, I miss friendships. I thought it’d be easy to make friends in the city (I’ve definitely never had a problem with it before), but it’s freakin’ hard…almost as hard as finding a boyfriend. And it’s especially hard when you have a job (writer/social networker) that isolates you from social interaction. Sure I can take the T, go to every cafe in the city, and walk around ’til my feet feel like they are going to fall off, but I hardly come home with a new friend. At most, I come home with a funny story and a caffeine high. 

While this doesn’t get to me too much, this morning I let it get to me A LOT. I sat in my apartment sobbing and feeling bad for myself, then realized I needed to suck it up and do something about it. After venting to a good friend (thanks Becky) I felt slightly better, but still not 100%. So I put on a cute outfit and got out of my apartment for a change of scenery. Sulking in my tiny apartment all day surely wasn’t going to help! And sure enough, once I changed the scenery, the brainstorming came to me (with the help of my best friend of course). 

Alas, if you find yourself in this type of position (Um, why am I not making friends here?), I urge you to think outside the box! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Join a book club! Research book clubs in your area. Most of them meet once a month at local cafes for you to discuss that month’s book. It’s a great way to make new friends, chat with people who have the same interests as you, and read some phenomenal books. 
  • Pick up a part-time job at a buzzing cafe, gym, or book store if you have extra time on your hands. When I worked at the front desk of a gym last year, my social life was soaring!
  • Volunteer! Sign up to help out at events in your area, whether it’s a food festival or local 5K raising money for a good cause. This will make you feel good about yourself, and help you meet people with similar passions. I loved volunteering at the Boston Local Food Festival because everyone there was passionate about local food and health, and it was such a wonderful day!
  • Join a writing group. If you’re a writer, why not write among other writers, and help one another brainstorm/think of new ideas you never would have though of on your own. Another pair of eyes is always refreshing. 
  • Talk to people everywhere you go. I always chat with people (who look approachable) when I’m out somewhere by myself. It’s so neat to converse with people who are so much different than yourself. You learn something new every day!
  • Join a meet-up group. Check out Meetup.com for meet-up groups near you. The best part? They offer you groups based on YOUR interests, and have everything from book clubs and cooking groups to single girls meet-ups and hiking groups. 
  • Organize a meet up with fellow tweeters/bloggers: Gather a bunch of blogging/twitter pals and plan a fabulous night (or day) out. If you’re all foodies, plan a wonderful dinner. Health freaks? Do something active together. Bring those electronic relationships to life!

Ahhhhh…just writing it out makes me feel much better! (It could also be that I’ve downed my large iced coffee during the process)

Have you ever found yourself in this type of position? What to you do to up your social interactions? 

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12 Responses to “Friends Make You Happy: Upping Your Social Interactions”

  1. Joslyn @ missfitbliss October 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    This is SUCH a perfect post. I have been feeling the exact same way lately down here in Philly! It’s so much fun to write/blog/interact with people online all day, but then I look up from the computer to an empty apartment and I’m like “where’s the party?!”

    I’ve resolved to go out with friends at least once a week – and make new friends often since I just moved here a year ago. These are all great ideas;) Let me know if you ever make down toward philly, we could do a meetup!

    • healthychicks October 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

      Thanks for the response Joslyn! Glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way, and that there are ways to make it better : ) How is the Philly livin’? Never been!

  2. Smash @ Appreciate The Now October 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    For me, it’s always been an off again, on again thing for either wanting to be alone then never wanting to be alone.

    • healthychicks October 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

      Yup, I hear you on that one! Sometimes it’s hard to find the right balance…

  3. beckabes October 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    You keep on doing what you’re doing :). Whatever happened to us volunteering? Dana Farber, here we come!

  4. Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul October 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Having just spent the last year in a new city and being about to move to another new city, I can definitely relate to struggling to establish a social network (offline!). These are great suggestions!

  5. Amanda October 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    This is another really great post I can really relate to. I moved to DC a few years ago because of my boyfriend’s job. He works with a ton of young people, but I am the youngest person (of only 6) in my office. I love his friends, but am still looking for that core group of girlfriends of my own. It’s very challenging to meet new friends when you aren’t in a crazy-social environment like college. I’m trying to suck it up and put myself out there. Thanks for the great tips!

  6. MelissaNibbles October 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    Great post! I’m a local gal too if you ever want to meetup 🙂

    • healthychicks October 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

      Thanks for the response Amanda! It seems like a lot of women are finding themselves in similar positions! I think joining clubs and doing things that are out-of-the-norm (unique events, new cafes, etc) will definitely help : )

    • healthychicks October 21, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

      Thanks Melissa! Aw, you’re from Boston too? We should plan a blogger’s meet up with lots of food & fun : )

  7. sui October 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    THANK you for this post. I actually found myself terribly lonely when I first moved 500 miles to college– I found it hard to find friends in college, etc., but these are great tips. You have to reach out yourself and meet like-minded people, joining groups that interest you. Only just this third year of living in a completely different city am I meeting like-minded people. It’s nice. 🙂

    • healthychicks October 30, 2010 at 11:36 am #

      Sui- I am so glad you enjoyed this post, and are beginning to find your niche in your new city : ) That’s great to hear. I think a lot of us struggle with being in a new area/making ne w friends/putting ourselves out there, but with a little effort it’s definitely doable and well worth it!

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