8 Ways to Network, Meet New Friends, and Leave Your Comfort Zone

When between jobs in 2009, I found myself with an abundant amount of free time and little spending money.

I spent most of my days looking for jobs, applying for jobs, and writing/rewriting my resume.

Needless to say, I needed an outlet.

Eager to meet new people, and explore new hobbies, I started my research on free activities. I ended up playing competitive poker, joining a public speaking group, volunteering, and even playing an investors board game, among about a million other things.

Getting out of my comfort zone allowed me to learn about myself and recreate who I wanted to be.

Here 8 affordable ways to meet new friends and leave your comfort zone.


True to it’s slogan, Meetup.com can be summed up in three easy words, “Find your people.”

Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups. You can find anything from beekeepers to volunteer groups.

It is the perfect way to meet new friends while doing something you love or trying something new.


Whether you are looking to save money or meet new friends, Couchsurfing is the way to go.

By hosting people in your home you are able to meet new people and expose yourself to amazing stories of adventure and travel from your guests.

When using couchsurfing.com for traveling you should look for people with several reviews and recommendations before reaching out. To sign up or learn more click here.

Social Leagues – poker, kickball, dodge-ball etc.

You don’t have to be an athlete to play in social leagues like kickball, dodge-ball, etc. If you aren’t looking to do something physical I recommend looking for a local free poker league.

Kickball and dodge-ball leagues are often created around meeting new people and having a good time. They are perfect way to try something new and get some exercise in the process.

Free poker leagues are often funded by a percentage of money spent by their players at a bar or restaurant. Although buying food and drinks is encouraged it is not required.

To find a free poker league in your area, simply do a google search. If you are living in Arizona, I highly recommend, AZBDP or All-In Entertainment.


One of the most rewarding things you can do is give to someone who can give you nothing in return.

There are never a shortage of non-profits looking for regular volunteers. If you aren’t sure where to start, I recommend joining a Meetup.com volunteer/philanthropist group. These groups often have a variety of weekly events.

Join Toastmasters

If you have never heard of Toastmasters then you and I would have been in the same boat two years ago. I joined this public speaking group in order to improve on my impromptu speaking skills for interviews.

Toastmasters is a group that meets weekly/biweekly/monthly in several locations around your state. These groups come together to develop, improve, and encourage each other in public speaking.

Talk about being out of your comfort zone. This is the best way to really develop your speaking skills, as well as challenge yourself.

To find a Toastmasters or learn more click here.

Take a Class

Community colleges, community centers, YMCA’s, local specialty businesses, etc. offer classes in variety of different fields and subjects.

Find something you have always wanted to learn and then sign up for a class to take it in person. In person classes can teach you both a trade and help you meet new friends.

Join a Community Center

Many cities have community centers that offer community events, free classes, open gym etc.

If your city doesn’t have a community center look for local events within your city.

Attend Local Events

When I created my Airbnb two years ago I wanted to be sure I could tell people about fun things going on in the area.

With a little research I found that the city my Airbnb was in, and it’s surrounding cities, all have their own community websites in order to keep people up-to-date on city events and news.

Start getting involved in your local city by booking marking the page.

When planning your weekend look at events on your community’s website before opting into places you have been in the past.

The best way to grow is to live outside of your comfort zone. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I did something for the first time?”




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