Work From Home & Have No Friends? Here’s How to Beat Work Isolation

With more people working from home, we are losing a traditional form of socializing. Working in an office, a restaurant, or a school means seeing other people all day long and talking to them. And working from home means…talking to your pet or yourself all day long.

Not exactly a great way to make friends. In fact, “I work from home and have no friends” is becoming a real problem in the US. We’re even experiencing a loneliness epidemic.

I’ve worked from home for the last seven years and I would say I have a thriving social life. I even had a thread go mini viral on how I make friends.

That’s not a brag! It’s a promise that you can build strong friendships even if you work from home.

How do You Make Friends if You Work From Home?

There’s no water cooler talk when it’s just you at home! There’s no one to grab lunch with three times a week and become friends over time with.

There’s mostly just Slack memes and Zoom calls. How can you build friendships off of that?

By looking outside of work for friendships.

Work has been a place where a lot of people have traditionally made friends because working from home for most people hasn’t been possible since the Industrial Revolution.

In order to run a bar, you need a bartender to show up in person. And it used to be, to run a tech company or an accounting firm, you needed your engineers and accountants to show up in person.

That meant that most of our daytime hours were spent at work, and we got a lot of our socializing from work. Today, this is still common, as work from home is not the dominant style of working. But it is growing, and people do report feeling lonely when they leave the office.

How to Build a Social Life Outside Work

Just because you work from home and have no friends right now, doesn’t mean this will always be the case! Building an in real life social network is totally possible, even if you’re an introvert.

Start by thinking about what you like doing. How do you spend your free time?

If you’re a gamer, that means we want to look for real life communities of gamers where you can meet people.

If you play an instrument, we want to look for open jam sessions that you can attend to meet new friends.

Make a list of activities you enjoy. This will be our guide as we start building friendships.

Second, look at your schedule and carve out time that you have to devote to making friends.

Ideally, this will be the same time frame each week. Repetition is key to making friends! We want to make room in your schedule for you to attend the same yoga class every week, or the same D&D game night every week.

Now that we have a topic and a time available, Google is our friend. Use the internet to find a group of people already doing the thing that you want to do in your area.

Google something like “running group for women los angeles” and see what comes up.

Bigger cities will have the advantage here, as there are more people to hang around with. However, don’t assume small towns have nothing going on! Small towns often have volunteer opportunities for fundraising for the local library for firefighter station, or offer group classes like nature walks.

Find a group that appeals to you, check out when they meet and add it to your schedule. Boom! We’ve got our first friend date on the calendar.

How to Be a Good Friend

Now, here’s the dirty secret to friendships: building a friendship takes time.

You probably won’t find your bestie from going to one yoga class only. You’ll have to show up again and again, talk to people while at the class, and then move the friendship outside of the yoga studio.

This is the step that a lot of people get stuck on. It’s hard! You do have to put yourself out there and be willing to speak to people at the events that you go to. Otherwise it’s the same problem as working from home; you aren’t talking to anyone else.

Here are a few ways to build up to a friendship:

Go to the same activity repeatedly and become a regular. People will remember you and some will begin to approach you.

Have a few questions ready to approach others with. Try “How long have you been doing this?” or if you notice they are good at something, ask for their help. Compliments always work as a conversation starter too!

Questions like “I like your shoes. Where did you get them?” can be followed up with “Oh I’ve never been to that store, I’m new to the area. Can you give me some other recommendations? I need a new coat too.”

Get their number and don’t be afraid to send the first text. Many people are lonely and looking for friendships. Being asked to hang out is exciting to the majority of people! If you got a text asking you to come over for a movie night, it would make you happy, right? So don’t be afraid to send that text to others.

Use free events and holidays as reasons to reach out. I hear from a lot of people that they don’t have anything to say, or any ideas to hang out with people.

I like to look at local event calendars to find events nearby. For example, breweries will often have theme nights, like a movie night or a game night. That’s a great thing to invite a friend to.

I also like to use holidays as a reason to reach out. In February, I reach out to new girlfriends and invite them to come with me to Galentine’s Day events, for example!

Work from Home Doesn’t Have to Mean No Friends

While work is still how most of us spend most of our time, it doesn’t have to mean that we are all friendless.

You can make friends outside of work by being consistent and exploring your hobbies.

What tips do you have for people who work from home and have no friends?

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