How to meet people and make new friends
Meeting people can be hard especially as you get older
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Meeting new people can be daunting, especially if you are shy, but if you are looking to make new friends, there are plenty of options to help you do so.
Signing up to sports or other activities can make finding friends a lot easier as you know you have at least one thing in common. Getting a part-time job, if you don’t already have one, or volunteering somewhere can also give you the chance to meet all kinds of different people that you might not have met otherwise. Think of something you want to do and give it a go.
Where can I go to meet new people?
Try to be open to new things and remember that making connections can take time. There are lots of different things you can try, it’s just a matter of finding what is right for you.
Join a team or exercise group
Find an activity somewhere convenient to you and give it a go. Whether it’s team sports, dancing or something else, you’re sure to find something you like.
If you’re interested in team sports, search for local teams in your area and find out about the local clubs. If you haven’t played a sport before or can’t find the sport you want to play locally, it might be worth trying something new. Sports clubs are always delighted to welcome new members and often have a beginners group or a team who just play socially.
Check out our exercise section for information and ideas on different sports.
Join a local group or club
You might not be interested in sports at all. There are so many other options from book clubs to board game meetups to language classes or conversation groups.
Your local library is a good starting point for information on what’s going on in the area. Check out their notice board or ask the librarian for information. You can find information online as well. A lot of towns have a Facebook group or forum where people share information on groups in the area. Alternatively Meetup.com is a website where people organise all kinds of activities.
If there is something you’re passionate about and you can’t find a group in your area you could think about starting your own. Again, someone in the library might offer you guidance or advice or you could gauge interest on your town’s Facebook group or by setting up a Meetup.com event.
Volunteering is rewarding in so many ways. Not only will you meet loads of different people but you’ll be helping too. Volunteering will also give you opportunities and experiences you might not have gotten otherwise. You could gain retail experience by volunteering in a charity shop, or even get a qualification or certificate rewarding you for your time and good work. See our article about the benefits of volunteering for more about this.
To find volunteering opportunities in your area you could again ask in your local library or contact organisations that you know use volunteers. Online you can visit our article about volunteering opportunities or go to volunteer.ie to find out about more volunteer opportunities.
Get a part time job
If you aren’t already working and have some free time, work can be a great place to meet new people. You might meet different people of all ages in a new workplace. Some workplaces organise days out but even if yours doesn’t, there are plenty of opportunities to socialise with your colleagues.
Go to a support group
It’s not always easy to just make new friends, particularly if you’re experiencing something like grief or a mental or physical illness. A support group may offer an environment you feel more comfortable in. In a support group, you’ll be with people who understand what you’re going through. Specific organisations can help you find a group to suit you. Visit our support services page for information on these.
Alternatively, you could ask your GP or other healthcare professionals if they know of any groups, ask in the library or look on Meetup.com.
Talk to people in school, college, work or where you live
Sometimes it can be easy to overlook people simply because you’ve known them for a long time. That doesn’t mean you can never be friends. It might seem daunting to say hi or ask how their weekend was, but you might end up becoming great friends.
Each new year in college is an opportunity to meet new people as you will have different lectures with new groups. You can also take the opportunity at the beginning of the year to join clubs and societies during freshers week and meet new people through them. Similarly in school use opportunities to mix with new people, such as by sitting beside someone different in class.
You could start a conversation with your neighbour if you meet each other out and about or in work you could suggest to a group of colleagues that you go for lunch together or to do something after your shift. It might seem daunting but people usually appreciate people making an effort like this.
Find a youth group for your specific needs
There are all kinds of youth groups out there and you might find one that specifically suits your needs. If you are part of the LGBTI+ community you should see if there is an LGBTI+ youth group in your area. BelongTo have a directory of LGBTI+ youth groups on their website. Or if you are on the autistic spectrum find out if there is a specific autism youth group near you. Aspire has a directory of autism services, including some youth groups. Our article about how to find a youth group in your area has information on a number of different types of youth groups.
When you start something new starting a conversation with new people can feel daunting, especially if you are introverted or shy. Remember, your conversation doesn’t have to sparkle – ordinary, normal remarks are fine. Have a look at our article How to start a conversation with someone new for more advice.
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