I know its often suggested and pretty much a meme, but I feel like getting a more social hobby really turned my life around. I thought it’d be nice to have a concrete example. For reference, I’m 5’2, Asian, socially awkward.
After graduating college, I had no friends for 6-7 years. I just worked, went home and played videogames, spent time on on the internet, and went to sleep. Weekends weren’t much different, minus the work. Then one day just randomly, I decided to browse Meetup.com and came across a tennis group. I had played a little bit in high school, wasn’t any good but it was pretty fun. I wasn’t physically fit, I had sat on my ass for the past 7 years, not even going to the gym. But I decided to give it a shot. I grabbed an old racquet from the garage, went to the park by myself and practiced against a wall a couple times, just so I wasn’t as terrible.
The first meeting, I was pretty intimidated. Although they welcomed all skill levels, I was concerned I would make a fool of myself. I was also frightened on a social level- they probably all knew each other and were buddies, and I’d be butting into their fun.
To my surprise, none of that mattered. Everyone was welcoming. I was the “new guy” but it wasn’t cliquey at all. They didn’t care I wasn’t great. It was a great experience, to be outside and doing physical activity while also socializing. It was great too because 90% of the time you’re just playing the sport, and you can have light chit chat between games or afterwards.
I kept going back, and eventually I became genuine friends with them. Sometimes after we played, we’d grab a bite to eat. Also, we would occasionally get together to go to the movies, events, house parties, etc. I made 2 close friends that we were able to hang out 1 on 1, and then about a dozen more casual friends where we would hang out at a group setting. The male:female ratio was roughly 5:1
After 2 years of playing, I was actually pretty decent (very satisfying to see your personal improvement too), and joined a local team and played in a league. I was able to play in a mixed team where it was 1:1 male to female, and made some female friends. Once in a while if we do well, we get to travel together to nearby cities 2-3 hours away for the weekend, and play in local tournaments for fun. Its like a mini-vacation, where we all stay together in a couple hotel rooms or rent a house, play our match and hang out the rest of the time. The great thing about these leagues is you’re rated by your skill level, so you can be a beginners and still compete.
I used to be one of those people who said “sports is just not for me”…I liked nerdy things. But as with anything, it takes practice but once you start getting into it, it is addicting. And while I never found a SO from my hobby, it allowed me to gain friends and a social life, and a passion for something.