Building meaningful connections with others is more important than ever in today’s fast-paced, data-driven and digital world. Strong connections can provide a sense of belonging, support, and purpose and help combat the loneliness and isolation that are too common in modern society.
Social connectedness can influence everything from our mental health to our success at work, and even our physical health and life expectancy.
Especially for singles, social connectedness is doubly important. Firstly and more obviously, because it provides a direct pathway to socializing. But secondly and for some even more importantly, because social connections provide a pathway to meeting potential mates!
All is well and good, but many of us find ourselves at a stage in our lives when friends or social connections are not easy to come by. This may be due to a change in our circumstances, such as leaving university, changing location, or splitting up from a long-term relationship. Or it could be due to an inherent difficulty in forming relationships due to poor communication skills.
Whatever the reason, the fact is that friends won’t just come knocking at the door. You may want to meet new people, but hanging around bars or waiting for colleagues to fill that gap doesn’t work.
So what is the solution?
Well, it may be the right time to ask yourself:
how am I spending my free time?
You may find that you are stuck in the rat race. Working or studying or spending your time doing chores. Without you realizing it, your free time may be spent doing activities that don’t take into account the creation of social connections.
What should be done instead?
Get a Social Hobby or Start a Social Activity.
Any will do as long as they have a social nature. Going to personal training or learning a new language via online tutoring will not cut it as they won’t help you meet new people.
Social hobbies or activities on the other hand are pastimes that emphasize interactions with fellow humans. They create an atmosphere where people can come together to learn and develop new skills while enjoying conversation and connection.
Instead of just standing around in a set-up situation like a bar, trying to find topics to talk about, they facilitate more casual, free-flowing conversations while you focus on a task at hand.
For sure, starting a new hobby or an activity can feel like a difficult task to achieve for some of us.
But, if you think about it, most likely 80% of the other participants are there for the same reason you are: to meet new people, get better at a skill, and enjoy their free time. A triple-win situation!
So, let’s explore some options to inspire you, although there are many many more to look at in our easyGuide:
Athletic Social Hobbies/ Activities
It is common sense that someone who plays sports is more likely to have friends who play sports. So, if you are a sporty type what better way to start making new connections than via the abundance of sports groups available?
Some ideas to get you started could be joining a running club or a cycling group.
Or you may join an adult recreational team playing football basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, golf, or whatever sport you fancy.
Most times these activities also involve group outings.
You can also join a Fitness Class.
These days there is a workout class for every type of fitness imaginable. From kickboxing to Pilates or boxing to yoga. However, before joining any fitness class take into major consideration the social factor. The Fitness Centre you join must be geared towards social events and group bonding. Getting fit is one thing but creating a social life through fitness must also be part of your goals!
So, make it a point to talk to at least one new classmate after each workout. If you find that this is especially hard for you it may be time to look at getting some help to boost your communication.
Outdoor Social Hobbies
If you are an outdoorsy person or you have an adventurous nature then it may be a good idea to seek out other nature-lovers to hand out with.
Join a hiking group if you like Mother Earth or pick up sailing, kayaking or any other water sport if you are more of a sea person. You can even try your hand at more edgy staff such as parachuting or paragliding!
Creative Social Hobbies
Since ancient times artistic and creative creation has been linked to strong social bonds across age groups and subject matter. So whatever the creative nature of your chosen hobby, be it Dancing, Singing, Art, Writing or Crafting (from knitting to cooking lessons to woodworking to chess playing), they all create a community of like-minded people. So even if you aren’t naturally creative don’t let that hinder you from trying it out! You may be surprised at what beautiful conversations can take place as well as getting to do something that relaxes you.
Psychologists have found that volunteering creates a shared social identity and sense of belonging among volunteers. Whatever the cause, be it animal welfare or feeding the homeless etc., coordinating with others toward a common goal is an easy way to find a crowd that you identify with.
Finally, you can even join groups where when it comes to talking, less is more: For example, Meditation is all about quietness and stillness.
But did you know that people’s brain waves sync together during group meditations? So if you prefer to connect on a spiritual level, meditation can help you meet people on the same wavelength without talking at all!
We do realize that for some, setting aside the time to build relationships can seem like a daunting task. However, it can be a fun and uplifting experience. One that can even spark a romantic connection. So give it a go. Get out of your comfort zone and do some research into what kind of hobby or activity represents you best and give it a go!