Every year, our lives become increasingly digital. In 2017, the average American spent over 12 hours per day consuming digital media (this includes TV, internet use, smartphone use, etc.). That’s not a made-up number, and although there are many benefits to being able to connect digitally, there are also some important drawbacks.
The more we interact with people over Facebook, the more alien the concept of going out into the real world and meeting new people becomes. The more people rely on Tinder, the less people throw themselves into the dating world at parties, clubs, etc.
I’m not arguing that online social interaction is bad, and in-person social interaction is good, but many of us have become overly reliant on the internet as a social platform, and as a result, our social lives aren’t as rich as they could be.
Your friends are one of the pillars of an enjoyable life, yet many of us spend four hours a day playing Candy Crush or gathering Instagram likes, and 0 hours a day interacting with other people (when it isn’t required by our job). Fortunately, although meeting new people who we get along with may seem like an alien concept, it’s actually quite simple to do, even in the digital era.
Ironically, the easiest way to make new real-life friends is through online platforms. Meetup.com is my preferred choice because it’s popular, and it allows you to meet people who share common interests with you.
On meetup.com, if you’re a hiker, you can meet other hikers, if you are an atheist you can meet other atheists, if you’re a writer, you can meet other writers. One of the most difficult facets of meeting new people is meeting people who you have commonalities with- and meetup.com takes care of this obstacle for you.
The idea of meeting strangers from the internet might seem a bit intimidating, but the hardest part of it is actually leaving your house and getting over your initial hesitance. Once you’re with the group, it’s quite natural to socialize, and even if you’re shy, people will usually make an effort to get to know you.
Certainly, there are alternatives to meetup.com, my personal favorite place to meet people is popular clubs. You might be thinking, “It’s not worth it meeting people at clubs because it doesn’t attract the best type of people.” That is simply untrue, all kinds of people go to clubs, everyone from grocery store clerks to doctors and lawyers.
And that’s what’s so great about clubs, you can meet people from all walks of life. You might find that you click with people who you never would have expected to interact with otherwise.
Of course, clubs get bonus points if you’re single, if you’re interested in finding someone to date, they’re a great environment for throwing yourself out there.
You can also meet people at concerts, events, dance classes, yoga classes, and really anywhere that people gather in large numbers- there are different pros and cons to each, personally I prefer meetup.com and clubs to anywhere else because it’s expected that you’re going to meet new people in those contexts.
I do want to emphasize that the hardest part of making new friends is getting over any shyness or anxiety you feel. You can read this article to find some exercises specifically designed to help you tackle those obstacles.
What holds people back from meeting new people is the feeling that doing so is going to be awkward or uncomfortable. Once we get that feeling, we rationalize that we’d be better of just staying at home.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether its more important to have a great social life, or to avoid the potential awkwardness of meeting new people.
Most people are open to new friends, you don’t have to worry about what to say or how to act too much, the hard part is saying hi. Once you get used to overcoming that initial anxiety of meeting people, making friends will become natural and enjoyable.Follow me on Snapchat to see daily infield footage (approaches, makeouts, pulls) Username: AveryGHayden
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