Part two of our big list of ways to bring more people into your life. From finding people who really get your interests to homeshares, car shares and tracing distant relatives, there are many ways of connecting with people if you’re willing to reach out.
1. Open University is just one of the many distance learning options around today. Type the kind of course you’d like to do into a search engine and you might find a week-long course in Canada or a summer school in Stockholm. Anything with groupwork and exams will have you bonding over Skype calls in no time
2. Learn a musical instrument. At first you might only meet a tutor but if you keep at it you’ll soon be able to seek out bands to join, or you could start your own
3. Offer your spare room to overseas or Homeshare students. Their youthful energy might inspire you
4. Take a part-time job. Hospitality staff, classroom assistants, tour guides, market researchers, cleaners and supermarket work are just some of the types of work commonly available that will bring you into contact with a huge range of people
5. Be a first aider. The Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance are two of the organisations that offer training to volunteers who are willing to make a commitment
6. Set up stall. A good way to meet people interested in antiques is to buy and sell antiques, or anything else you love buying and think you could sell. You local council will have a list of markets and boot sales
7. Be an expert. If your passion is something obscure, blog about it and give your blog a social media account. You might not find other fans of ancient Greek astronomy in your neighbourhood but they’ll be out there on the web and if they’re a friendly bunch they might well arrange opportunities to meet up
8. Trace your ancestors. Mapping your family tree doesn’t just have to mean going back in history, you can go sideways and find out where your fellow descendants of a common ancestor are today
9. At work, look for ways to meet people from other departments or branches, such as being a fire warden, union representative, joining the social committee or being the liaison person on a new project
10. To improve your chances of being given more responsibility at work, maybe your local Toastmasters’ club is the place to be. They encourage members to get over their fear of public speaking, interviews, and generally practice leadership skills
11. Take part in car-share schemes – as a driver or passenger
12. Contestants on television shows that run over a series of weeks often say they’ve made good friends among the other contestants. Maybe they’re being diplomatic for the cameras or maybe not. What’ve you got to lose?
13. What niggles you? Stand up to litterers with Keep Britain Tidy. Join the campaign against piped music with Pipe Down. Push back against the tide of bland beer by signing up to CAMRA, the campaign for real ale
14. Get to know your neighbours. Are you in a block that would appreciate a residents’ association? Start a neighbourhood watch group, join the community council or sound out support for a street party
15. Build it and they will come. Most festivals are started by one or two enthusiasts who are willing to work very hard. If you can book a venue and sell enough tickets to cover your costs, you’re halfway there. What better way to meet fellow enthusiasts of pickled onions, calligraphy or lampshade making?
16. Beyond the well-known support groups for bereaved people, there are more specialist ones for people bereaved by suicide, crime in general and culpable homicide or murder specifically. If bereavement has triggered another problem, have a look for support groups for that
17. Money-minded or would like to be? Some credit unions take on volunteers
18. Short of money? Join a local food co-op or start one. You’ll find lots of advice on the sustain website http://www.sustainweb.org/foodcoops/ Dress exchanges are another way of getting to know other frugal-minded people in your area
19. You’re never too old or unfit to enjoy sport. If you can’t find a local team to match your needs, start one. Take inspiration from the walking football trend – touch netball; walking hockey; slow roller derby?
20. If indoor games are more your thing, there are Scrabble clubs, bridge clubs and Mah-Jong clubs so there could well be a club for your favourite game too
21. Holidays built around an activity will immediately give you more in common with your fellow holiday makers so if you like yoga or opera or fancy learning survival skills or Italian cooking, you’ll find lots of options. Always wondered if you could cut it as a comedian? The legendary Second City in Chicago does short intensive courses. There are courses for making perfume in France, block printing textiles in India and bee keeping in Suffolk. If you can think of it, someone somewhere probably has a holiday package for it
22. Whether food is your strength or your weakness, most places have groups dedicated to losing weight or promoting a certain type of eating, such as veganism, paleo, or local delicacies
23. People with health problems have a wealth of insight that can be put to use in patient participation groups at your GP’s surgery, patient councils at your local hospital or in groups set up to help people living with particular conditions.
24. Carers can be some of the most isolated people in society. In recognition that many find it hard to attend carers’ groups, the big carers’ charities now have online forums where you can chat with others online
25. Try the international network designed exactly for meeting new people: meetup.com Reading their twitter shows the mind-boggling range of subjects around which people form happy and active groups
First published in Issue 11 Widows and Widowers magazine
Image by istock.com/monkeybusinessimages