Remote work may seem like a novel idea, and it is on lots of different levels. But some workers are finding that permanent work from home arrangements reduce happiness and provide a heavy helping of loneliness — not exactly the ideal formula. However, the primary reason for unhappiness or feelings of seclusion lies within the same idea: discovering new social situations and learning how to make friends when you work from home.
Making friends in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond isn’t an easy task, but as long as you don’t expect any miracles and stick to these tips, you should find a person with common interests. Even if it gets you out of the house, it’s a step in the right direction. Here’s how to start.
The #1 Tip on How to Make Friends When You Work From Home: Try New Things
If you subscribe to the old mantra that you can’t teach a dog new tricks, you’re missing out on so many activities that you may find interesting. And that’s the best place to find people who will enrich your life. When you try new things or discover activities that you truly enjoy, you’re going to meet others that think the same way. And bam, there you go! There’s probably no better way to make friends when you work from home.
On top of the idea of discovering new interests, you also have to consider the Einsteinian version of insanity:
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.Albert Einstein
No, you’re probably not actually insane, but this definition applies to an assumably large amount of lonely remote workers. If what you’re doing hasn’t yielded a new friend, acquaintance, cohort, partner in crime, or crony, you need to try something new. So learn to cook, play an instrument, or try the downward-facing dog at yoga in the park. The idea isn’t what you do. It’s simply that you’re doing it.
2. Get Active Through Sports
You don’t need to be a sports fanatic to get some exercise and meet new people at sporting events. In fact, it’s much to the contrary. Head out to a city park on a weekend, and you’ll see plenty of beer-swilling, joke-telling, and downright friendly people just looking to do the same thing as you — just get out of the house and enjoy the weather. Again, it’s just the act of going that can lead to social interactions and help you learn how to make friends when you work from home.
If you’re not a fan of the more popular team sports like softball or soccer, you still have plenty of off-kilter options that you can find in most small to large cities, including:
- Quidditch, specifically for the Harry Potter nerd within you
- Pickleball – Learn how to play pickleball here!
- Ultimate frisbee
- Disc golf
- Regular golf
- Ping Pong
- Human foosball
The list goes on and on. Just try one with open signups, and you don’t have to worry about a team. The league will put you on one, giving you the unique opportunity to meet people with different backgrounds and interests.
3. Try Online Interest Groups
If you’re a bit of an introvert or you’re already at your computer screen, finding online interest groups is far easier than you anticipated. Most towns and cities have some sort of interest groups that might pique your interest.
While Facebook is a source for these groups, more active interest groups appear on Reddit or Meetup.com. All you need to do is sign up, search for the hobby or activity that you like to do, and go to one of their meetups. It’s that easy to avoid loneliness and make friends when you work from home.
4. Attend an Open Mic Night
Diving head-first into social interaction is a tad bit easier when everyone around is more vulnerable, and nothing gives you the opportunity like an open mic night. Whether you prefer a bar or a cafe, open mic nights bring together music lovers like no other activity. And more importantly, who doesn’t like music?
Reddit is a great source to find an open mic night in your area, and even if you don’t want to display your talent (or lack thereof), people are genuinely friendly and willing to talk to you.
5. Go to Remote Work Events
Nothing says that you need to go out into the real world necessarily to learn how to make friends when you work from home. Sometimes, it’s the easiest and most obvious things that work better than others.
Slack, Zoom, and other online collaboration tools have made working from home a more social affair than ever. If you’re lucky enough to have an employer who organizes virtual parties or happy hours, make every effort to attend. In most cases, people feel the same way you do. Just talking about it can open up the opportunity to socialize and make a friend at the virtual office.
6. Adapt in a Post-COVID World
With mandatory quarantines, shelter-in-place orders, and a general concern about your own well-being and the well-being of others, COVID drastically changed how people interact. Even after the threat of COVID lessened, people forgot how to interact with others or even go outside the house.
But 2022 is an entirely different story. As infections dropped, people had somehow forgotten how to return to their normal lives. You might not be an exception. So now is the time to shed your COVID-induced anti-social behavior. Just change a few of your habits and force yourself out the door.
7. Use Your Babies (or Fur Babies) To Your Advantage
Although children are a handful and can take up a ton of your time, they’re a great way for you to meet other parents. Whether you’re going to a scheduled mass play date or attending your kid’s sporting events, you can chat with other parents. At the very least, you have something in common as an icebreaker.
If you don’t have any kids or aren’t planning to, the same idea works for your pets. Dog parks and organized dog walks are an ideal way to meet other fur parents, talk about your pets, and maintain a more active lifestyle. If you weren’t sure how to make friends when you work from home, your baby or fur baby might be the answer you were looking for.
Just Maintain a Work-Life Balance
Maybe the most important takeaway for how to make friends working from home is that it has to coincide with your own interests and work life. That is to say, the best way to socialize might just be by involving others in your work-life balance. You should firmly believe that you’re the biggest advocate of your own happiness and urge to make friends. So even if you’ve suffered from burnout or loneliness, make yourself the harbinger of good things to come.
Even if you don’t make lifelong friends, you’re at least giving yourself the chance to be active and happy through work-life balance. That’s more important than just about anything.
What are your secrets to socializing and making friends when you work from home? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!
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