How to Make Outdoorsy Friends
I moved away from my family when I headed to college at age 18. Since then I’ve lived in a different time zone than my brother and parents. Over time, when you live away from home, your friends become your new family. A little over a year ago, I realized that my lifestyle, hobbies and interests were drastically different than that of my older friends. Not that this is a bad thing, I have some friendships that I’ve made since moving to Denver that are still well and alive eight years later, however, I needed a few gal pals to go on adventures with. So, I went on a mission, to find some badass wilderness babes that could climb couloirs, scale big walls, and backpack up to remote peaks. I needed to find my tribe and make outdoorsy friends.
Join a Meetup, or Three
When I first moved to Denver after college over eight years ago, I was scared. My entire social network had just been forceably dropped beneath me. I knew no one, and I was alone. In a moment of desperation (and probably too much wine), I Googled, “How to make friends.” That’s when I discovered Meetup.
Meetup is an online network where you can join social groups with a particular interest. Do you collect comic action figures? There’s a meetup for that. Want to network with other small business owners? Meetup. Looking for other women who are interested in the outdoors? There’s a meetup for that too.
Tips: Just be yourself. A lot of people who join hiking an outdoor group are actually new to the state, so you won’t be alone if you too have just moved to a new place. Remember that everyone is there for the same reason, they are all looking to connect with new people just like you.
Make Outdoorsy Friends by Joining Local Outdoors Clubs
It might be a little unfair for me to comment on this in since I’m spoiled here in Colorado. However, outdoor clubs are a fantastic way to meet fellow outdoor enthusiasts. The Colorado Mountain Club, the American Alpine Club, Outdoor Women’s Alliance, Hike Like a Woman and Women Who Hike all provide an awesome platform to meet adventure lovers.
Many of these groups offer classes in outdoor skills, group trips, volunteer opportunities, social events, and even pro deals. I’m a member of the Colorado Mountain Club. I’ve taken a few courses with them and learned a lot about skills that would otherwise be difficult for me to feel comfortable trying on my own. The Outdoor Women’s Alliance has been an excellent resource for bouncing women-related ideas and inspiration off one another (ask me about their book club!). Last, but certainly not least, as an ambassador, I’m an active member of the Hike Like a Woman community.
Tips: The more you are involved with these groups, the easier it is to meet people. Try signing up for a class or volunteer opportunity. Classes usually involve a field element, which allows you to go out and practice your skills. This is a great way to meet people who are looking to get involved with activities you’ve always wanted to try.
Making Real-World Friendships on Social Media
I am the first to admit that social media can be a total time suck. However, I met one of my really good friends through Instagram of all places. It was the first time I had reached out to a total stranger via social media, but it turned out that a silly message with the opening lines “I hope this isn’t creepy” has led to one of the coolest friendships I’ve had. It definitely takes some guts to reach out to a total stranger but more than likely, people are excited to talk to a fellow adventurer.
Facebook, as annoying and almost “dated” as it is, still provides amazing opportunities to meet others. A lot of local adventure groups have their own Facebook groups. If there’s a hobby, there’s a Facebook group for it. I met one of my good friends, Vivian, through a blogging group based in the UK!
Tips: Don’t be a total weirdo, engage with people first. Like and comment on photos and stories as a way to introduce yourself. See someone send a sick route that you’ve always wanted to try? Say so! That way when you message them, they already know you care about what it is they are up to and you seem more approachable.
I used to be a total curmudgeon when it came using the internet to find friends. However, it’s not really all that bad. It takes time to develop lasting friendships, but putting yourself out there is the first step. Making adventure friends via the internet has been one of the more rewarding things I’ve ever tried. I now have a solid group of badass lady pals that I can get together with.