A running theme through everything I learn about happiness and well-being is that we as humans need other humans in our lives. In nearly every study I’ve heard about, the happiest and healthiest people are also the people who interact with others socially. They have all three types of social connections: the person or people you can share your innermost self with and be most vulnerable with, friends to shoot the breeze and hang out and have fun with, and connections around a shared belief or interest, like church, or a bowling league, or a book club.
I have all of these people in my life. The problem is that none of them live near me. Excepting my husband and kids who live in the same house with me, and excepting the couple of times a year I get together with family, my girlfriends, or work colleagues for a few short days, all of my socializing happens digitally.
I feel mostly okay about this, but as our kids grow up, and as my time expands while my in-real-life circle of people contracts, I’d really like to have more people in my physical life to hang out with. When our daughter moves out and it’s just my husband and me rattling around the house together, we’ll need other people in our lives if for no other reason that to have something to talk about. But finding friends as an adult is challenging. When I meet and interact with people, it’s too easy to give up because I compare my reserve with new people to the ease I feel with existing deep friends, which isn’t fair because some of those friendships go back 35 years.
But before an interaction can even happen, I have to find people in my town to interact with, and I’m not sure how to do that. I’m not interested in church, I don’t play team sports, and my closest coworker lives three hours away, so I can’t go to a work happy hour for a beer on a Friday night. I don’t need a lot. Coffee or a cocktail would be great. A book club would be excellent. I live in a University town. I should be able to find this kind of thing, right? How do you all meet people?