Just Do It. Seriously.
The best piece of advice anyone ever gave me was this: If no one else will go with you, do it anyway.
Be a better man by going outside your comfort zone.
It was my freshman year of college in a huge city 2,800 miles away from home. I didn’t know anybody there, except a few people from orientation, my roommates, and a couple other people on my floor. It was pretty exciting, but frightening too. Just like everyone else, I would stick to the people I knew. We moved in packs because it was more comfortable.
Anytime you put yourself in a new situation, there are tons of new stuff to try out. New events, organizations, places, and hobbies will catch your eye. You will likely ask some of your friends to tag along, but what happens if they all say no? If you can work up the courage to go by yourself, you may just find something you like. You will have experiences you would have missed out on otherwise, and you will probably make friends with similar interests.
Break away from the pack and try something you like.
That same year, I decided I wanted to play a sport. In high school, my only “strenuous” activities were marching band and drama. I was the most unathletic kid. But one late night in college, I saw lacrosse on ESPN and decided it looked like fun (I know, no sports to one of the toughest). My friends were more interested in playing Super Smash Brothers than a sport. I walked onto my school’s club team anyway. Sure, I was just as awful as you would think – at first. It turned out that I really enjoyed getting some exercise. I ended up playing for four years. We would take trips up and down the coast, so I got to see places I never would have gone otherwise. Even better, lacrosse was what got me into the gym for the first time. Because of that, I learned how much I loved exercise and now working out is an important part of my daily life.
When you take that step out on your own into something you are really interested in, you never know where it will take you. It could be the best thing you’ve ever tried. Besides, even if you end up disappointed, at least it will make a good story.
Meet friends with common interests.
Maybe in your new situation, there’s nobody you can really relate to. How do you expect to make new friends if you don’t go and find them?
I was invited by my major’s department to an after-hours party at an art museum. No one wanted to go with me, but I ended up going by myself for the free food, drinks, and music around an ancient Egyptian temple. While I was there, I ran into a few people I had only talked to briefly. Turns out I did know people there – I just didn’t realize we had the same interests. And a few of them came with their friends, people I had never met before. I became friends with all of them because I took a risk.
Develop confidence to be on your own.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, can take the place of a good community, but you need to have the confidence to function on your own. Throughout life, you will spend a lot of time on your own. After doing it a few times, it won’t be as frightening the next time, and you’ll find it is definitely worthwhile.
Learn to be a leader.
When you keep telling your friends about the awesome new experiences you had, eventually they are going to take you up on that offer to tag along. Once you have the confidence to do something on your own, it is easy to bring people with you. They may still be nervous about going somewhere on their own, but you can take them and help them get over that fear.
The secret to making this advice work for you is not to spread yourself too thin. It is great to try new things, but you can only commit to a few. Try new things, but know yourself. Only stick with the ones that are going to make you better in the long run. Go deep with those. That’s the only way you are going to grow.