Have you ever felt that it's hard to meet like-minded people? Such as, people with the same interests. Or, people with common goals and aspirations. And last but not least, people with whom you can build a rapport and camaraderie with.
I do, sometimes. While I love and appreciate every single one of my friends, sometimes I wish they share some of my passions, so we could bond over them. For example, I blog full-time as part of my business - I spend at least 5-6 hours managing and writing at my blog. On the other hand, none of my friends so much as own a personal blog, much less partake in professional blogging. I'm also self-employed, and self-manage my schedules and working hours. On the other hand, most of my friends work in 9-5 jobs, which are great, but our different visions in our careers made it hard to have a meaningful discussion in the area. Rather than constructively build off each others' ideas which only someone with related background can do, most of the time it's more of a "listen", "nod", "ask a simple question" routine.
While it may seem tough to meet like-minded people sometimes, remember that there are ultimately 6.8 billion people out there in the world. Out of this group, there's going to be at least tens of thousands of people who at least share a common interest with you! It's not about meeting just one specific person who shares all your interests, but about opening yourself to different people who share at least a common interest. Meeting like-minded people doesn't have to be hard - it's about taking the right steps. Here are 7 tips to meet like-minded people:
- People you know
It may not seem intuitive, but your immediate circle of contacts is a great way to meet like-minded people. Have you heard of the 6-degrees of separation? It's the idea that anyone on Earth is connected to each other via 6 degrees of contact, or less. In fact, with the internet, it's probably less than 6 degrees. How does this idea help you meet like-minded people? Firstly, if your friends have similar interests as you, they probably know many other people who have the same interests too, since birds of the same feather tend to flock together. Secondly, even if they don't share your interests, they might know someone who does. Even beyond that, word of mouth is an excellent referral tool - by just asking around and extending to 2nd degree, or 3rd degree contacts, you might find yourself a list of like-minded new friends.
- Your Workplace
The second place which most people overlook is their workplace (or school, if you're studying). This is applicable if you're in a career that you enjoy, and a company which you like. Why do I say so? Every company, especially long-standing ones, have a regimented set of recruitment criteria, which includes certain personality traits and hard skills. For you and others to be recruited in the same company, that means all of you share core similarities. Not only that, being part of the same company means you're part of a bigger culture, sharing same knowledge and thinking patterns (to a degree).
Many of my best friends today came from my previous workplace. Before I started working there, most people I know had passive, negative orientations toward life. I wished to know more people who were more forward looking. My previous company was specific in recruiting people who were driven and self-motivated, so when I entered the company I found myself surrounded by a sea of people who were very talented and driven. It was like a dream come true. In the end I forged many valuable friendships in my 2 years there, which continued to stay on even after I left later on to pursue my passion in personal development.
- Clubs and Communities
Existing clubs and communities are a great way to quickly meet like-minded individuals. See each community as a central hub that attracts people with the same interests. For example, a writers club would attract people who are interested in writing, whether on a recreational or professional level. Online forums and communities on Linked in and Facebook are a great way to start off. Offline communities will include meet-up groups, recreational clubs, interest groups, related classes and membership societies. I took up Japanese as a third language when I was in school and later when I graduated, and each time I met a group of people who were passionate about Japanese language, its culture and also anime. It was fun connecting on a deep level on those areas, where the regular person wouldn't know much about them. Check out Meetup.com, which is a great resource for interest groups. If you're shy about meeting new people, these 10 useful tips to make new friends might come in handy.
- Start a blog
This one isn't exactly instant, and it's probably not a tip most people will use, but it definitely works. I started The Personal Excellence Blog 2 years ago, sharing my best advice on how to live life in excellence. While it started off with 0 readers (as with all websites), it quickly grew. With each person that visited the blog, the ones who were interested in personal growth and conscious living stayed on and subscribed to the newsletter. Many of them would silently read my articles, while a small handful would reach out to connect, via the comments, email, Facebook or Twitter.
Today, I'm lucky to be connected with a buzzing community of over 10,000 like-minded readers who are passionate about personal growth and living a better life. In the past 2 years, I've been contacted by over a thousand different people, some for business purposes, some for networking, and many just reaching out to connect. I would meet up with a small handful of them, even international readers (who fly in to Singapore, where I live). In fact, this week I'm meeting a fellow reader and blogger from overseas, and next month I'll be meeting a reader-turned-friend from Thailand as well! Many of these new friends are amazing people that I'd never have had the opportunity to know otherwise, if not for the blog.
When you run a blog, others know about how you are like, based on what you write and how you write. The like-minded individuals who enjoy and appreciate your thoughts will stay on for more, while those who don't will eventually leave. Before you know it, you're in the company of a huge community of like-minded individuals, who are diverse in their own ways at the same time.
- Networking events/Meet-Ups
I've been to a number of networking events and some of them can be quite pointless, degenerating into empty mingling and name card exchanging. However, there are valuable networking events out there, and it's about picking the ones that meet your needs. Different networking events attract different audiences, so carefully choose the ones that you go to. What are the kind of people you are interested in? Who are the people you'd like to meet? Pick the events most relevant to them.
- Attend a related workshop/seminar
A workshop or seminar is essentially a gathering of like-minded individuals who wish to achieve a common objective. Else, the individuals wouldn't invest time or money in the workshop. Check out the workshops out there, whether on the internet, online communities or newspapers. If you're reading Dumb Little Man, you are probably interested in personal development. There are many hundreds of high quality self-help workshops out there - simply attending to any one will allow you to meet other people who are passionate about personal development as well. I've only attended a couple of self-help workshops to date, and just from the workshops alone I've befriended over 30 like-minded individuals and have developed great relationships with a number of them.
- Reaching out to them
Direct, 1-1 contact is a targeted and efficient approach. With social media and internet today, it's now extremely easy to do this.
- Linked in: You can search within a certain industry or specialization, which will bring up a select group of people. After that, you can read more about their profiles and connect with each individual on a personal level.
- Facebook: Browse interest groups and check out members in the groups.
- Blogs: Check out blogs on topics of your interest. See if the writer is someone you'll be interested to connect with.
Which tips can you use to meet new like-minded friends? Do you have any tips of your own on meeting like-minded individuals? Feel free to share in the comments area.
|Written on 9/27/2010 by Celestine Chua. Celestine writes at Personal Excellence, where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die.|