"Friends" from L Lemos on flickr

One of the biggest fears about relocating to another town or city is having to start your social life again, especially if you don’t know anyone in your new destination. Even without the relocation factor, some people are just not natural social butterflies and as a result, find it tough to have many friends no matter where they live.

Since I’ve relocated to several different cities without knowing a single soul in each of my new destinations and have made lifelong friends in each place, I know a little bit about how to start over again. I came up with a step-by-step plan to get more friends even though I’m not really a social butterfly either.

I’ll illustrate these steps with an actual real life example of what I did after one of my relocations.

Identify A Passion That Other People Will Be Interested In

Everyone should think about what passions or interests they have. Very likely, most people will be able to come up with a few of these. Then it’s a matter of identifying a key activity from this list which other people will also be interested in. In this example, I came up with snow skiing.

Locate Groups Or Clubs Which Are Centered Around This Activity

So my next step was to find some type of group that involved snow skiing. I ended up finding an adult traveling ski club that had a large membership of almost 3,000 at that time. I visited one of their club meetings before the ski season started and liked what they had to offer. The members were quite friendly and welcoming so I soon signed up as a new member.

Participate In Group Activities

When the ski season started, I went on many of their weekend day trips to local ski resorts. The club had their own ski school with qualified instructors to teach the club members so I took as many classes as I could. The group classes and bus trips were quite conducive to meeting new people.

Conversation among new people was quite natural and easy since everyone had a common interest, which was skiing. Also, this was the furthest thing from a high pressure, meat-market bar situation. Some club members and ski instructors who have been around for some time even facilitated new members to get to know one another by introducing each other.

Volunteer For Various Roles

Participating in club events as suggested in the last step is great but the next step really takes it up a notch. This step involves actively volunteering for various roles within a club or group. Since the majority of special interest and social groups require volunteer members to help out, this is one of the best ways to start an active social life.

After getting comfortable enough with how the various things in the ski club works, I volunteered to lead bus trips and special committees like the club’s fitness division. I also made sure I attended as many of the general club meetings as possible.

I even volunteered to help organize special social and theme events throughout the year. Pretty soon, I was also chosen to lead groups on week long ski vacations to the Rocky Mountains.

Clubs can never get enough volunteers so the longer standing members welcomed my participation enthusiastically. The more I volunteered and the more active I became with the club, the more people I met.

Develop Friendships Within And Outside Of Club Events

Some members who were real social butterflies had private parties and other events outside the club. Because I became a visible member through my volunteering, I was soon invited to these outside events. These outside events featured both club members I already knew as well as other people who were not club members.

My social network grew even larger as a result of attending these outside functions and it was only natural that certain key people would develop as good friends. Even though some of these people, including myself, eventually left the ski club, several of the friendships I developed during my time there continue to this day.

So the actual step-by-step plan I used again was;

1) Identify a passion that others will also be interested in
2) Locate groups centered around this passion
3) Participate in group activities
4) Actively volunteer for various roles to help the group
5) Develop friendships over time with people you interact with

I used the same plan each time I relocated to a new city and with different interests as well. The steps are the same no matter what interest you use as long as it is one that can involve other people. Hopefully these steps will help you enrich your social life with new friends.

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