How to Get Out More (The Ultimate Guide + Image Quotes)

You've probably heard the phrase “Get out more!” whether you're a web worker, an overworked corporate employee, or just a homebody.

Yes, you could go for a walk, drink alone in a seedy bar, or drive around looking at billboards, but it's likely that simply getting out of the house isn't enough. No, those who care about you are encouraging you to get out there and meet new people, to be a little more social.

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Of course, being social is beneficial. Our emotional and even physical health as social animals is dependent on social interaction. Our social relationships can assist us in coping with depression, stress, and plain old loneliness. A strong social network can assist you in finding jobs or clients (some 70 percent of jobs are found through personal contacts, usually friends of friends).

However, some of us struggle to learn how to be more social. Maybe you're introverted and prefer to spend most of your time alone. Maybe your job keeps you away from people – you work from home, or your job keeps you glued to a computer screen all day, or whatever – and you don't have many ties to other people to begin with. Maybe you've just moved to a new city and are unfamiliar with the social scene. Perhaps you're simply too busy to get out much.

Here are six ways to get started, ways to put yourself in a position to form social ties. Of course, you'll need to take the next steps: showing up on a regular basis (when appropriate), approaching people, speaking up, and so on, but if you put yourself in a situation where such social interaction is expected and normal, you might find that the rest just falls into place.

1. Become a member of a club

I mean, it's self-evident, right? However, civic participation in the United States has declined dramatically over the last few decades, and rates in other countries aren't much higher.

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From anthropology to zoology, there is a club for almost every possible interest. Do you enjoy dressing up in animal costumes and flirting with other people dressed similarly? There's a club out there for you. Do you like collecting Japanese war memorabilia? There's a club out there for you. Are you interested in gardening, feminism, or farming history? There's a club… you get the idea.

Is there a club near where you live that you can go to? Check out the “events” section of your local alternative weekly; many of the ongoing events will be club meetings. Check the website of your library district as well. Additionally, your local Parks and Recreation department may have club listings. Alternatively, search for national associations related to your interests to see if they have a local chapter.

If all else fails and you're feeling particularly enterprising, start your own club. Contact your local library, place of worship, or community center to see what you need to do to reserve a space (they're usually free for community groups), create a free website, contact your local alternative weekly's events desk to see about getting listed, and you're good to go.

2. Go to a Meetup

If a club sounds a little too… well, “clubby” for your tastes, perhaps a meetup would be more to your liking. Meetups are semi-formal gatherings of like-minded people, usually at a bar or restaurant, who get together to talk and get to know one another.

Meetup.com is the place to go to find local meetups. You can search by topic or by distance from your zipcode; I recommend the latter because you may find groups devoted to topics you would not have thought to look for. If you live in a reasonably large metropolitan area, you should be able to find dozens of local meetups on topics ranging from blogging to politics to knitting.

A typical meetup group meets once a month, either at a predetermined location or by polling members to determine an appropriate venue each month. You may be asked to pay a few dollars to help cover the organizer's expenses – Meetup.com charges a few dollars per month for listing and managing the group.

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3. Enroll in a class

Whether you take a traditional, semester-long class at a community college or university, a short-term workshop series through your local adult extension, or a one- or two-day seminar through an organization like Learning Annex, taking a class is a great way to meet people while also learning something new.

Unless you are under the age of 22, I recommend taking evening classes or adult extension classes; these classes are likely to have a large number of adults taking classes for their own professional development or personal improvement. While younger students can be wonderful people, you may discover that you have little in common with them and that they do not understand the kinds of pressures you face as a working adult and possibly parent. (And they can't get into bars, which means they're missing out on a great spot for post-class camaraderie!)

4. Give a class

Nothing is more social than sharing your hard-won knowledge with those who can benefit the most from it. Community colleges, adult education programs, and local government organizations (such as Parks and Recreation) are always looking for instructors to teach full-fledged courses or shorter workshops. Pick up a copy of your local college's catalog or look up your city government's class offerings online to get a sense of the types of courses they typically offer and what you might be able to add to their schedule.

The pay isn't always great, but that's not the point. Consider it a weekly activity in which you meet interesting people and assist them in furthering their lives and careers. Consider it an opportunity to build your professional presence: while you shouldn't promote yourself in class, it can't hurt to have a couple dozen people who know you're a web designer, writer, marketing expert, business consultant, or whatever – they have friends! It also looks good on your resume.

Most importantly, you'll be in the company of interesting adults once or twice a week, and while you should avoid excessive fraternization if you're giving grades, the in-class interaction can be very satisfying. And if you're not giving grades, there's no reason not to accept your students' invitations to a beer or a cup of coffee after class – and you will be.

5. Find local bloggers or Twitter users

Why not add a few local bloggers and twitterers to your feeds if you already spend a significant amount of your online time reading blogs or tweeting?

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There are several services for finding blogs by location, some based on the blogger's profile, others on geo-tagging data added to their feeds. These are some of my favorites:

Feedmap.net: Enter a zip code or city name and press the search button. This is a relatively new service, so listings appear to be limited, but it appears to be better suited to non-US locations than some of the others.

Outside.in: Outside.in is a website that aggregates local news and blogs into a fairly user-friendly interface. When I visited, it automatically detected my location (which was useful, if a little frightening!). You can set up a profile page to help other local bloggers find you.

PlaceBlogger is a blog search engine that specializes in blogs about specific locations. I had better luck searching by city rather than zip code; there doesn't appear to be a way to search by “distance from” your zip code, only within it.

If you're on Twitter, you can use Summize's advanced search to find Twitter users “near this place” (look in the “Places” box). You'll get the most recent tweets from everyone in your chosen location; follow a few and see what happens.

Of course, reading local blogs and tweets won't get you out of the house, but you might start building relationships with people close enough to get together for some off-line fun and mayhem.

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Attend conferences

Some people despise meetings. That doesn't make sense to me – where else can you interact with dozens or hundreds of people who are all interested in the same things you are?

Find local conferences, bring a stack of business cards, and spend the day in the expo hall (which is usually free or pretty cheap). Distribute your card to everyone and collect theirs as well. When you get home, send them each an email or call and tell them how nice it was to meet them.

But aren't we getting ahead of ourselves? Make a point of asking vendors what their product does during the conference. Don't waste their time if their product is completely useless to you or your company, but don't feel as if you're invading their space if there's any possibility of a connection. Learn everything you can – you never know what you might learn that you can put to use later. That is why the vendors are present.

Try approaching a few of your fellow conference attendees as well. They're all there to network with others in their industry, so go ahead and do it.

Get outside!

Getting out the front door of your house is usually the most difficult part of becoming more social. Unless you're painfully shy, interacting with people will be a given once you're in the right situation. Push yourself a little to introduce yourself, speak up when necessary, and generally make yourself known – we rarely end up making fools of ourselves, which is what we're afraid of.

Of course, there are other ways to be social, but I've tried to focus on the most productive ones. Binge drinking, gambling, going to the movies, or visiting exotic dance clubs may get you out of the house, but they are unlikely to form the foundation of long-term social relationships. What advice do others have for people who want to improve their social life but don't know where to begin?

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You have heard it all before: "Live life to the fullest", "follow your dreams", "be who you are" and "if it is meant to be, it will be". These are all wonderful quotes that are meant to help you live a happy life but they miss the point. Our lives are interconnected with each other and with the world.

No matter how hard you think you try, there’s always going to be a certain level of stress in your life. And when stress gets out of hand, it can start to negatively affect your life. But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are some easy steps you can take to improve your life in the long run, and we’ve found a few that can help you enjoy a better life and get rid of stress.

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