Counselor and coach Gideon Killion shares some ideas for getting out there and meeting people.
Making friends and building community can seem daunting when you don’t know where to start. There’s a lot of abstract advice out there about expanding your social circle, but sometimes it’s easier to work from a list of concrete actions.
With that in mind, here are some specific ideas for ways to make new friends in Denver.
1. Find a Church (or Something) That’s Right for You
Regardless of your religious or spiritual persuasion, the Denver area almost certainly has a gathering to suit your needs. I thought of including some links, but there are just too many and I don’t want to favor any one in particular. Start by plugging keywords into Google to find your options. If you’re not sure which religion might be the right fit for you, you can take BeliefNet’s Belief-O-Matic quiz.
What if you don’t consider yourself religious or spiritual? You might want to investigate First Universalist Church of Denver, which honors all paths including atheism and operates from a set of guiding principles rather than a religious creed. Or you could check out Denver Sunday Assembly, a gathering for freethinkers and atheists that describes itself as “a place to go to listen to great music, learn from intelligent speakers (like TED talks), and meet other people in your community.”
2. Get Involved in Politics or a Worthy Cause
A great way to meet like-minded people is to donate your time to a worthy organization, whether that means getting involved in local politics or supporting a cause whose mission you value. If you’re interested in politics, a good starting point would be the Democratic Party of Denver or the Denver GOP.
Looking for a meaningful way to volunteer? Maybe you’d like to help veterans transition back to civilian life through the Helping Veterans program, or lend a hand at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Or you could join Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, which offers opportunities for taking part in outdoor stewardship projects—everything from trail maintenance to fire and flood restoration. If none of those options sound right, try looking for other types of volunteer opportunities in Denver by searching the Volunteer Match database.
3. Join a Sports League
If you enjoying tossing a ball around, you may find that a sports league is the ideal way to connect with others. Denver offers a ton of options, including bowling, pool, softball, and volleyball. In the warmer months, you can play volleyball at Wash Park (here’s a map). There are leagues and pick-up games happening most weekends when the weather is nice. There’s also a meet-up group called Sports Monster that organizes volleyball leagues, outings, and open court events.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more low-key, how about kickball? The Denver Kickball Club organizes league play, pick-up games and day-long tournaments throughout the city.
4. Become a Regular
Here’s another way to make friends: be a regular at a bar frequented by the kind of people you want to meet. (It doesn’t have to be near where you live.) Naturally, there are plenty of bar options in Denver, so you can narrow it down by type. Soccer fan? Try the Three Lions. Want to hang out with a cool eclectic group of regulars? Check out the Thin Man Tavern.
5. Connect through Meet-Ups
No matter what activity you enjoy the most, you’re guaranteed to find a Meetup.com group in the Denver metro area for people who are into the same thing. Here are a few random examples:
- The Fun Young Adults meet-up group arranges game nights, dancing, and other activities for people in their 20s and 30s.
- The Colorado Relaxed Philosophy and Movie Club gets together for a movie and discussion. Their next get-together is on March 4.
- Denver Medieval Combat Sports is for people who enjoy foam weapon combat (yes, hitting other people with fake swords) and other LARP-related activities.
- Like video games? So does the Denver Gamers Association.
- There’s even a group about Dads, babies, and beer.
6. Take Part in a Support Group
If you struggle with any particular issue and want to meet others with similar challenges, you can join a support group. For example, here’s a list of Denver area AA meetings. Also, the Psychology Today website has a searchable database of Denver support groups on a range of topics.
7. Sign Up for a Class
A great way to meet people is to start taking group classes in something you’ve always wanted to try. How about…
- Mastering small talk? “Master the Fine Art of Small Talk” at Colorado Free University
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, or MMA? Kompound Training Center
- Rock guitar? School of Rock (Denver) Adult Program
8. Start Your Own Group or Cause
Of course, if you don’t find exactly the kind of group you’re looking for, you can always start your own group, cause, meet-up, etc. Who knows? Maybe there are others out there looking for the same thing.
Just remember …
Regardless of which social avenue you decide to pursue, you’ll find greater success in making lasting friends if you keep two principles in mind. First, be persistent and consistent—keep showing up and be a visible part of the group. Second, practice good relational skills, like listening more than talking and making space for conversations to happen. (For a refresher, see my previous blog post on How to Make Friends and Amp Up Your Social Life.)
And last of all, don’t feel bad if getting out there and meeting people seems a little intimidating. I would be willing to bet that most people feel the same. But if you feel so intimidated that it actually stops you, I can help. Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to talk it over with you.