Make new friends for new interests

Have you ever experienced the following?

You get really into a new hobby or activity. You tried it for the first time recently and you can’t help but spend time doing it or reading or thinking about it. This activity or interest fascinates you and you want to learn more about it. Most of all, you want to share it with friends.

Except that you don’t have friends who share your new interest.

Think about the friends you have today. Why are you friends with them? Did you meet them at school or work? Did you meet them playing a sport? Do you share a certain interest with them?

I bet you can divide your friends into themes. There’s your high school friends, your sports friends, your work friends, and so on.

But what happens when you develop a new interest and none of your (close) friends share this interest? You then face the social challenge of finding people you can connect with over this activity.

For example, when I moved back to The Netherlands a year and a half ago, none of my existing Dutch friends were into bouldering. I had been bouldering regularly when I lived in San Francisco and I wanted to develop my skills and climb outdoors frequently.

I invited some of my existing friends to try out bouldering. They sort of enjoyed it, but not enough to do it often.

It took me a while to realize that that’s fine. I shouldn’t try to get my existing friends into bouldering. If they liked it enough to do it frequently, they wouldn’t need me to encourage them. And we share plenty of other interests over which I love to connect with them.

If this happens to you, realize that you can develop a new group of friends who do like the thing you’re newly into. Developing a new group of friends can be challenging, but it’s worth it to do things together with people who are excited, rather than people who are only indulging you temporarily.

For me, it took more than a year of chatting up people in the climbing gym to develop some friendships. You might have more luck, or it might take you even longer.

Either way, if you’ve developed a new interest and your family and existing friends aren’t into it, please do continue to explore it. And please don’t fight the lack of interest that your current social circle is showing. New friends who are excited about your newfound interest will come if you keep trying.

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