Meeting new people is often considered to be a matter of chance – how you just happened to discover a common like for Lebanese food with the guy or girl at your book-reading club and then went on to date him/her from there. But what if you were not into reading in the first place? In many ways – big and small – developing the right habits can vastly increase your chances of meeting new people and here are ten of them.
- Personal grooming
Even though personal grooming is seen more as a matter of daily mundane routine, these can actually bring dividends for your social life. Following the basics of personal grooming will help you feel good about yourself and thus get out of your comfort zone. Better still your well-groomed looks will help people to feel comfortable around you and thus increase your social attraction. Ensure that you practice oral hygiene and before going out use a light perfume or deodorant, depending on the season and occasion. Nails and hair are two areas where many people unknowingly go wrong – if you have a tendency to flyaway or frizzy hair, make sure that it is properly styled or conditioned and if you have facial hair, keep it neatly trimmed. You can use makeup according to your discretion but always try and dress appropriate to the venue.
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- Working out
The gym has long been one of the most popular venues to make new friends and hook up with dates. Doing the treadmill or taking an aerobics class will not offer a chance to chat up the cute girl or guy next to you but will help you to burn out all the stress and anxiety that is today a part and parcel of modern lifestyle. If you do not enjoy going to the gym or cannot afford it, sweat not – even your neighborhood park offers high chances of getting to know people from the neighborhood. So take your dog or borrow a neighbor’s poodle to the park at a time when you know other joggers or dog-owners will be coming as well. Watch out for single parents or other caregivers too who can go on to make sensitive and caring friends and partners. Apart from meeting new people, you will be doing your own health a favor as you run laps around the park or play with your Labrador.
- Eating healthy
What could eating habits have to do with socializing opportunities – a lot really. For one, eating a fresh-cooked meal is much healthier than having something out of a tin; to make the former possible you would need to make regular trips to the neighborhood grocery store. And believe it or not, this may work wonders for your social life too. A shopping cart can speak volumes about the person accompanying it. So the next time you are out shopping at the grocery store, look for men and women whose cart is loaded with fresh produce, lean meat and other healthy foodstuff. Better still invite suggestions about whether to use sun-dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes for a pasta sauce – in no time at all, you may be chatting about different cheeses and dressings; finally what better to unwind after hectic grocery shopping than by having a cup of coffee together.
- Supporting a cause
Doing volunteer work is a great way of meeting people who are caring and selfless. If a guy or girl is spending his time and resources to give back to the community, it can be safely assumed that their heart is in the right pace. Thus opt for a cause that you are passionate about so that you can enjoy helping others. If you are an animal lover, help out at an animal shelter or if you love the musty smell of books, see if you can spare a day at the community library. Even if you are reluctant to commit yourself on a regular basis, you could still come up with other volunteer ideas like taking a batch of home-baked cookies to the local fire station or sheriff’s office or getting involved in the organizing of country fetes, festivals and fundraisers. And if you happen to meet a potential suitor what better bond than a mutual love for philanthropic work?
Gone are the days when bookstores and libraries were musty and boring places that only attracted the most enthusiastic booklovers. These days, book stores have bright décor, cozy reading spaces and perhaps even a café at the other end – all making for a great way to chat up other lovers of the written word. The bigger ones among them have a whole range of sections, from poetry art and philosophy to travel, science, culture, biographies and so on – this in turn makes it even more fun to meet new people based on common likes and interests. .
- Pursuing a hobby
Been there, done that – you are about to say. But actually a hobby or a special interest class is still one of the best ways to meet new people who are more likely to have well-balanced life than the ones you may pick up at a bar or nightclub. Best of all, this option will not only bring you in touch with people with similar interests but help you to learn something new and interesting at the same time. If you want to play safe, you could join a class related to something you already enjoy like music or hiking. On the other hand, you could end up having more fun by trying out a new interest like wine appreciation or ballroom dancing. After all the whole point is to go out and do new things with new people.
- Going to a place of worship
Even if you are not religious, it is a good idea to attend social events organized by your church, synagogue or community elders. Here you can meet new people and know more about your community. While experts are increasingly finding about the positive effects of faith on overall well-being of an individual, being in touch with the spiritual roots of the community can benefit your emotional as well as social life.
- Being courteous
The basics of courteous behaviour that young people used to be taught increasingly seem on the wane now. But it is still too early to discount the effect of common courtesy can have on your social life. Holding the car door open for a woman to get out and appreciating a man’s choice of wine at a dinner are some of small but telling ways that you can impress people around you. And when you practice these courtesies in your daily life, they are bound to come naturally to you when you have someone special with you. Even if holding the door for someone with an armload of groceries or giving up your seat on the bus to an old lady many not guarantee opportunities to meet men and women, consider that an attractive man or woman could be watching every time you don't tip a waitress or cut off a driver.
- Do something to de-stress
An essential part of growing up involves separating one’s emotions and feelings from social and public interactions. And yet how you feel inside cannot perpetually be shut out. If you are fighting negative emotions like anger, anxiety and stress all the time, then your attempts at making friends could be seriously hampered. At the same time though the complexity of modern life means that you cannot entirely avoid stress and pressure. So the best thing would be to find something that calms your mind and helps you rebuild your positive outlook. This would differ from one person to another so that while meditation and spirituality might work for some people, others would find greater comfort in reading, voluntary work or gardening. So choose an activity which helps you to relax and reboot from within and the results would surely be apparent in your social life too.
- Developing confidence
Finally no matter how many opportunities you have of meeting people in your daily life, it will mean little if you do not have the confidence to translate them into actual encounters. Fortunately confidence is like any other personality trait and can be developed by working at it. If you feel nervous and awkward in social situations, start with small steps to practice easy conversation. Begin by just saying ‘hi’ to people and then work towards more interesting and pleasing way of conversing – all of which are highly effective in expanding your social circle. At the same time, be careful about your body language - slouching, shaking a leg continuously, drumming fingers on the table and touching the ear, nose or hair repeatedly are all signs of nervousness and are enough to turn off others. Instead if wish to appear attractive and confident, adopt a straight but relaxed posture. Keep your hands on the table or comfortably on your sides. Make sure your gestures and mannerisms are easy and natural but don’t dwell too much on your actions. Finally play up your strengths like a successful career or personal charm to give you an edge and thus boost your confidence on the social scene.