As a child my family moved numerous times. Which means I don’t have a lot of friends from my youth.
After my husband and I settled in one locations, for twenty-six years, long-standing friendships developed. Friends who were like family. People who were there for me after his death. However, others had their own lives to live. My life was empty.
What to do, what to do?
My solution? Find new friends, rekindle old interests, or get involved in new ones.
The question – How?
Here’s what I did, and it might help you too.
For example, when I first ventured out, driving at night was not an option. I was a year out from his death and felt more comfortable snug in the house after dark. Driving at night had never been a big concern and I knew that at some point I’d return to being on the road after dark. Not right then, no need to push myself too far. It’s also important to determine how far you’re willing to travel for your interests. Since I live in a rural area, driving 2 hours is no issue for me. For someone else, a thirty minute drive is out of the question.
CONSIDER YOUR INTERESTS
What do you enjoy doing? What did you do in the past you’d like to do again? Is there something new you think you’d like to try? For me it was Toastmasters. I was trying to be a writer, and several people had mentioned I’d need to speak in public to promote my book. Why not check out Toastmasters? I did, and have been a member ever since, almost 12 years now.
FIND A LOCATION
It’s important to find where a particular hobby or interest is pursued. Checking with family and friends is one way. The internet is another. You can simply google your interest, then look for the location nearest you. There is also Meet-UP, where people post about their group’s requirements and meeting information. You can even create your own Meet-up if you want, and have a place to meet.
MAKE A DATE TO ATTEND
Once you know the specifics, where and where the group gathers, make a date with yourself to attend. If possible tell someone in the group you will be coming. I had to call the Toastmasters group and ask if they allowed visitors and get the specifics. At the end of the call, the person on the other end, Scott, said, “We’ll see you Monday. I’m looking forward to meeting you.” Now I was committed, he expected me to show up and it sounded as though he’d tell the others I was coming.
Still, even with someone expecting me to come, I had to pump myself up. After all, it wouldn’t be that big a disappointment for them if I didn’t show. For me, not attending meant staying in the same place emotionally. Going was a big deal.
I wrote the meeting on the calendar. Picked out what I’d wear (something that made me feel more confident.) Filled the car up with gas (to eliminate that excuse.) Planned out my route, and gathered some change for the toll road.
GATHER UP YOUR COURAGE AND GO
That’s it. You have everything you need ready for the visit. All that’s left is to gather up your courage, remind yourself you can do this, take a deep breath and go. Remember, if you start to tear up, you can always excuse yourself and step out of the room while you gather your composure. If it starts to feel overwhelming, you can leave, no one is going to tie you in a chair and make you stay.
However, if you give the gathering, whatever kind it is, a chance you may find yourself with a new set of friends. Although I no longer attend that first Toastmaster group, for a variety of reasons, those people are close to my heart and I’m in contact with several of them on a regular basis.
Once you’ve ventured out to one activity it will be easier to try something else if you desire.
It was suggested that for today’s post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge, we post a how-to. Since I’m working on a how-to create a gratitude jar or journal and it’s not ready, I went a different route. Of course, we can always be grateful we have an opportunity to meet new people. We can be grateful about the new people we meet. Reasons for gratitude can be found everywhere.
In the meantime, if you’re an introvert (hello, nice to meet you), live alone, and are wanting (even if you don’t feel quite ready) to meet others or become involved in something bigger than you, I say go for it. Find your people.
What is something you’d like to do but never have?
What is the most recent group or activity you joined?
What drives you to join a group?