Having close relationships with other people is one of the most rewarding aspects of our lives, and good friends and close family are essential for most people’s wellbeing. How wide a circle of friends you have can depend on how outgoing you are, and how much effort you put into meeting new people. Even if you are content to spend most of your time with family members, or a single close companion, it’s still a good idea to get out and mingle at times. With a thriving arts and culture scene, just how can it help you make new connections and form long-lasting bonds?
Making new friends
It can be especially important if you are new to an area, and one of the best ways to meet new people is to find groups and organizations to join or classes to attend. You could go to art classes for example, or join a flower arrangers group. There are many opportunities out there to join clubs that meet regularly to discuss their focus topics, and you know that by attending you will be meeting people with the same interests as you. Organizers and existing members are usually very good at welcoming new people and will soon get you introduced to everyone. Book clubs are another great way to get introductions to different, interesting people, and are often the seeds of lifelong friendships. You can also look for events you have an interest in, concerts, art exhibitions, poetry readings and suchlike. These sorts of gatherings are good if you’re an outgoing kind of person who finds it easy to strike up a conversation, although may feel a little isolating if you aren’t very confident.
If you’re single and ready for a new relationship, then mixing with as many different people as you can is an effective way of finding someone you like. Online dating has become much more popular and is accepted in many cultures now as being a perfectly legitimate way to find a new partner. The advantage of online is that you can speak to many people without having to make any effort to get out of the house. However, you need to be very aware of safety risks when sharing information online, and if you do arrange to meet someone this way, make sure you are in a public place and have friends on hand to help you out if you need an exit strategy. There’s still something a bit special about the romance of a chance encounter, even if it can take longer and be more of an effort. By going to galleries and museums and attending events that interest you, you stand a better chance of meeting someone with whom you’ll be compatible. Sharing a passion for a particular artist or genre of music gives you an instant connection, and makes it much easier to start a conversation.
Arranging meetings with new friends
Whether it’s a date or a new friend you’re planning to meet, the venue will be important. Stick to those areas of shared interest, at least to start with, to keep the connection you felt previously moving forward. The best way to get along with someone new is to be yourself, rather than putting on the appearance you think your new friend would like. It makes no sense to try and be someone else, for if someone is going to be a regular companion, they need to know and like you as you are. Arranging a group activity is one of the most effective ways of getting to know new people better. It could be a night at the theater, a visit to a good restaurant, or perhaps engaging in your shared interest, for example taking some fellow painters to a scenic spot where you can set up your easels for a landscape session.
Arranging meetings with dates
In many ways, this is not very different from meeting new friends, in that you’ll want to meet somewhere that will feel comfortable and engaging for both of you. If you’re stuck for what to suggest, have a look online for some date night ideas that will inspire you to arrange something interesting that you will both enjoy. Whether you’ve initially met your date online or in person, the first real-life dates should always take place somewhere public, so a nice meal or a tour of a local art gallery would be ideal. It gives you the chance to get to know the person better and make a judgment about whether you wish to pursue the relationship.
Becoming a part of your community
It’s often said that if you go looking for something you won’t find it, but if you stop, it will magically appear. That can certainly be true of relationships, so rather than focusing on the goal of new friendships, simply get involved with your community, and you’ll find friendships develop naturally. Volunteering is a good way to start, and there are many opportunities for volunteering in a wide variety of social settings. Charities, good local causes, environmental organizations, libraries, museums, and hospitals are nearly always looking for volunteers, so you could choose a cause close to your heart and get stuck in there. There will also be community-orientated activities like local fundraising and community gatherings that will help you get to know your neighbors and start to feel like you are part of something.
Humans are social creatures, and while there may be exceptions, for the most part, people need other people. It’s been shown in academic research that social isolation can have negative effects on people, leading to reduced quality of life, ill-health and earlier death. The joys of having good friends and a special someone to share your life with shouldn’t be underestimated. In a place as culturally rich as Oregon you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to social activities, so grab your chance to appreciate what you have around you, and meet some special people in the process.