Meeting new people can seem daunting and confusing. When we look around, we see people rushing about, busy with their lives and routines, or looking at their phones constantly. We may feel like we’re the only single person in a sea of “perfect” Instagram couples. But of course, this isn’t true. How people meet is changing, with online dating apps becoming an increasingly popular choice, and unsurprisingly so. In fact, those people looking at their phones might be on an online dating app!

In order to meet someone — be it new friends or a special someone — the first thing to do is to force yourself out of your comfort zone. Easier said than done, I know. But by doing so, you could start new experiences, and potentially new relationships.

Let’s take a look at some ideas on how to meet someone new…

Online

As mentioned above, online dating (apps or sites) is becoming an increasingly popular method of meeting people. In fact, Pew Research found that 59% of adults think that online dating is an excellent way to meet new people. Why is this? Well, as our lives get busier, it is harder to find time to go out and make new acquaintances and let’s be honest, it’s just much easier just to go online and strike up a conversation than it is in person.

We live in a generation of smartphone users, so using an online dating app such as Tinder, Match, or Elite Singles, is comfortable and non-committal. In fact, according to a study done on how couples meet the number of heterosexual couples meeting online skyrocketed from 2% to 39% between 1995 and 2017.

But let’s say that online dating apps aren’t for you. How else can you meet people?

It’s who you know

According to the study mentioned above, meeting through friends has dropped from 33% to 20%, meeting through colleagues has fallen from 19% to 11% and meeting through family has dropped more than half, from 15% to 7%.

But don’t dismiss the idea. Asking friends and family to introduce you to other people is still a great way of making new friends, or potentially finding your other half. Besides, there is already some common ground as you both know (and presumably like) the person who will introduce you. Also, by being introduced by a friend or family member, you will be able to glean a bit of their personality through them first, and there’s a strong possibility that they will either have a picture with that person, or you’ll be able to see what they look like through social media.

Though meeting people at work may have decreased, it’s still an option. Making an effort with co-workers will not only make your time at work more pleasant but will also open you up to further relationships inside and outside of work.

Clubs and groups

Joining a club, a group or the gym is an excellent way to meet new people who share similar interests or hobbies. Look out for clubs or meetups on activities you enjoy, and go from there. Don’t want to join an exercise-based club? No problem. Books, cooking, sewing, you name it, there’s probably a club for it, it just requires you looking for it and taking the plunge.

Find a church or religious group

If you’re a religious person, finding a church or place of worship that suits you would help you meet a bunch of like-minded people. For many, shared religious beliefs are crucial for a romantic relationship to work, so this is an excellent way to ensure you meet someone with shared values. If no one appeals to you in your place of worship, chances are the community will have organized group activities, clubs, or opportunities for meeting other people of faith. Regardless of whether you find a partner, these would provide excellent opportunities for lasting friendships.

Go exploring/take chances

There are always opportunities surrounding us where we can meet new people, should we choose to take a chance and strike up a conversation with a stranger. Be this in a queue at the grocery store, or in the post office, or even waiting for a train. This may seem an uncomfortable option, but you’ll be surprised at how friendly and responsive people can be. Of course, not all people will want to talk, and that should be respected, but it could also be the catalyst of a new connection.

Exploring nature is another excellent way to meet people. Not only will this do you mental and physical good, but you’ll also be able to come across people doing exactly the same thing as you on your travels. Don’t fancy exploring alone? Why not take your dog with you, or offer to walk a family or friend’s dog for them. Walking a dog is a fabulous way to get out and explore, and to start a conversation with people. The presence of your dog should reassure you and make you feel more confident.

There are so many ways to meet people; it just takes a little effort, imagination, and commitment on your part. If you really don’t fancy the idea of joining a club or striking up a conversation with a stranger, online dating may be the perfect option for you. Opinions on online dating are changing for the better, as people have more positive experiences, and many are finding their spouses on them. Be confident, have fun and of course, be safe.