Make Friends, Find Dates, and Be More Social When You Work Remotely Like This
Working solo doesn't have to mean endless loneliness and fewer happy hour invites. Keep your social life active with these easy tips.
Worried about your social life taking a nosedive when you start working remotely?
While work-from-home jobs boast perks like a flexible schedule, greater work-life balance, and the ability to travel more, they can also make you feel isolated and lonely if you don't venture outside your home office much.
Since you won't have a built-in happy hour crew, you'll need to step up your game and learn how to make friends when you work solo.
First, Commit to Being More Social IRL
Remote workers are no strangers to being social. It's just that most of their communication tends to happen online and not in real life.
From Slack messages and Facebook groups to dating apps and virtual calls, remote workers may be more connected than ever yet still feel the pangs of isolation.
The situation gets even worse when you consider that Generation Z, the most likely generation to go remote, is also the loneliest generation in history by reports[*].
Staying home where it's quiet to work may boost your productivity, but it also limits your chances to connect with people and make friends in the real world.
And this gives loneliness a chance to creep in and grow before you even realize it's happening.
So the first step to making more friends is actually committing to doing so.
Then you can finally stop swiping your life away and make real connections.
Especially if you follow this next tip.
Reach Out and Actually Talk To One New Person Every Day
Your social skills are like a muscle; the more you use them, the better and stronger they'll become.
So don't let yourself get isolated behind a screen with remote work.
Go out and hold a genuine conversation with at least one new person each day.
Chat up the barista at your local coffee shop, ask a librarian about a new book, tell someone you like their haircut while you wait for the train -- whatever feels natural.
These brief conversations will flex your small talk muscles and take the scary out of striking up chats with strangers you may find attractive or influential in your industry.
But if initiating contact is too much for you as an introvert, you don't have to go at it alone.
Use Your Current Network to Expand Your Circle
Your friends and family won't know you're looking to fill up your friends deck unless you tell them.
So casually mention activities you'd like to do with other people, like starting a team for trivia night or taking a cooking class, and your contact may recommend someone in their network to meet up with.
You'll need to trust that your friends know you well enough to set you up on blind friend and romantic dates for this to work. And you have to show up for them or risk embarrassing and angering your friend responsible for the introduction.
If you'd rather not deal with that pressure, a coworking space makes a great place to meet other people you already have something in common with (i.e., remote work).
Give Coworking Spaces a Try
A coworking space may be an awesome way to transition from office life to life as a remote worker.
These spaces are typically set up with desks, access to outlets, and room enough to meet like-minded individuals who are in the same remote boat.
This connection and understanding may make it easier for you to get used to working solo and expand your circle of friends at the same time.
Here's the secret about coworking spaces:
While you can keep your headphones on and work all day, don't let that be all you do.
Use the shared kitchen area to meet new people, talk about their jobs, make conversation about their interests or favorite snacks, etc.
There's always a steady stream of virtual employees going in and out of coworking spaces so you're guaranteed to have interesting conversations if you put yourself out there.
And who knows? You may find a lead for your next work gig or your new best remote work friend.
The only downside to coworking spaces is they can be pricey.
You could bump into interesting people for a whole lot less elsewhere.
Become a Regular Somewhere
Working at the same coffee shop, library, cafe, or brewery will help you run into the same people who work there and frequent the location often (like you).
As you continue to exchange pleasantries each day, you'll become more familiar with each other and build a natural rapport from strangers to acquaintances. You may even reach friend or date level.
This is especially helpful if you plan to travel the world as a digital nomad and don't know anyone in the best cities for remote work yet.
Another easy way to immerse yourself into a group of like-minded people is to join a class.
Join a Group, Team, or Class
To foster that feeling of connection coworkers have when they're side-by-side for eight hours a day, you may want to put yourself in another group or team environment.
Think about joining a local kickball league, cheesemaking class, neighborhood preservation society, wine and painting night, book club, and more.
Already being into the same hobby or activity means you'll have common ground to kick off conversations with strangers that may lead to friendship.
And working together on a common goal will strengthen that connection even further.
To find your tribe, check out:
- Bulletin boards at cafes, libraries, coffee shops, and rec centers
- Maker studios and other DIY businesses
- Community colleges for classes and group activities
- Apps like Meetup to connect with people who share your interests online and then meet up IRL
This next tip benefits your social life just as much as your physical health.
One of the major benefits of remote work is having the time to squeeze in exercise and healthier eating habits since you won't be stuck in a daily commute.
Though more expensive than jogging around your neighborhood or practicing downward facing dog at home, joining a gym, yoga studio, dance class, etc. will:
- Get you out of the house
- Jolt your creativity
- Lower your stress to help you avoid burnout
- Introduce you to new people
Start sweatworking and you'll meet loads of network connections.
But don't try to start convos when people are actively in the zone and sweating their tails off.
Keep your chat time for the juice bar, warm-ups, cooldowns, and the food truck outside you always hit up after your sweat sesh.
This final activity works a different muscle but also helps you feel good and meet amazing people.
Spend Time Volunteering
Using your time to help others in need does more than give you warm and fuzzy vibes.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet other altruistic hearts and rally around a cause you're passionate about.
Research volunteering opportunities in your neighborhood that speak to you, such as:
- Helping at a soup kitchen
- Tutoring kids after-school
- Elderly enrichment
- Animal shelter adoptions
- Beach, park, or trail cleanup
- Building a house for the homeless
You'll not only have the chance to give back to your community, but you'll also develop different skills and friendships from your experiences. It's a true win/win.
With so many different ways for remote workers to stay social in the real world, loneliness will have a very hard time creeping in on your watch.
So if you're already working remotely, pick one new tip from this list to try each week until you're a social butterfly 24/7.
And if you don't have a virtual job but wish you did, sign up for emails from We Work Remotely and you'll be the first to see and apply for remote jobs in your field.
Follow these tips and you'll have time to make more friends and find dates working remotely than you ever did working the 9 to 5 cubicle grind.