No, this is not a fitness blog and I am not vying to be your life coach. That being said the side effects of this month’s advice on how to meet people in New Hampshire could be a stronger heart and more sculpted hammys. So let’s get physical!
One of my favorite things about living in New Hampshire is that we get to experience all four seasons. To get the most out of the changing weather patterns you must to embrace an outdoor activity for every season. Long winters are definitely more fun when you are racing down the snow on your local sledding hill, spring is more sprung when you are enjoying it from a mountaintop, summer tans are better earned through beach volleyball, and some of the best peeping can be done cranking your bicycle across the Kancamagus Highway. From the mountains to the lakes, to our beaches and forests, there are great activities that can help you enjoy all New Hampshire’s best assets and make some great friends in the process.
Other side effects of enjoying our State’s great outdoors are that you will meet terrific people with whom you already have a shared hobby. You will definitely make friends! No matter what your current fitness level and interests are there is an activity well suited for you and likely an organized group that are waiting to welcome you. I have broken down my suggestions into a few different categories to help us sort through some of the options. Who doesn’t love a little organization and some bullet points 😊?!
The Recreational Groups are for more casual or social activities. If you are just looking to have fun, get outside, and meet some people in a non-competitive setting then this is the right category to find your new BFF. These are low stakes fun activities that will give you ample opportunity to strike up a conversation.
The Competitive Groups are for those who want to find friends who will raise your heart rate a bit (not romantically, but maybe). These groups are more focused on fitness, but you will definitely still get to enjoy the state’s most incredible natural beauty. These groups can be a great place to make new friends as everyone is there because they want the support of their peers and the competition derived from having teammates.
The Instructional Adventure Groups are for people who are looking to learn more about an activity they have not mastered or have never tried before. Some of these groups are more cost-prohibitive because they require instruction and/or equipment. It can be worth the investment though, you can often make great friends while you are all in the vulnerable position of learning something new. Nothing breaks the ice like laughing at yourself while you fall flat on your back, but be careful too!
- My Social Sports in New Hampshire – Lots to unpack in NH’s four regional groups, don’t worry we will have an entire blog on this one later. Suffice it to say there are tons of options and they have leagues all year round.
- Ski Clubs exist all across the state. These are all different and behave differently from one another; some have social events and some are more about discounts and carpooling. Check out a few and see if there is a good fit.
- Paddle Board Groups – Fun on Winnipesaukee Facebook Group (run by a SUP rental business) OR Seacoast Paddle Board Group (they do a paddle every Tuesday night in the warm weather months)!
- Triathlon Clubs – There are 12 clubs all over the state (ignore the Cali group that snuck in).
- Running Clubs – I stole another link from the smartypants at Stay Work Play. There are a lot of really well organized running groups in every region of NH!
- Cycling Clubs – There are a lot of groups, check them out! Most cycles end with food or drink, so there is plenty of bonding time.
- Masters Swimming Clubs – There are about a dozen groups when you search New Hampshire, some do great open water swims too. These groups welcome swimmers of all abilities, maybe you will even get better!
Instructional Adventure Groups
- Eastern Mountain Sports and REI Trips – These all have a cost but they are great if you really want to learn a new sport or take a brief adventure in NH! Recruit one or two people that you want to become better friends with to join you!
- International Mountain Climbing School – Did you know that NH has some of the best ice climbing in the world? Why not check it out yourself and bring some friends for a bonding experience?!
- AMC Young Members – They do day trips, multi-day trips, and purely social meet-ups as well. This group is great because it specifically targets young people in NH!
- AMC Paddlers – This one is for all ages, but specifically for paddle sports, kayaking and canoeing.
This list is just a starting point. There are community groups focused on all kinds of sports and activities in every region of the state. The message here is that if you have an interest in doing something or trying something new, there is a group of people out there who want to join you!
Now for the Advice
Here are some resources that talk about making friends through sports as an adult. The best advice remains the same as it was when you were a kid on the soccer field–maintain sportsmanship, be supportive, celebrate small victories (especially when learning something new), don’t eat the worms in the grass, and make an effort to get to know the people around you. It’s always a great idea to grab food or a drink after your activity and download the day. The shared vulnerability of learning something new is a powerful bonding agent, use it!
Activities help fast forward through the small talk and give you a shared interest through which to get to know other people. As always, the point is to get out and do something that you love, or you think maybe you will love it. If you do that then you already have a substantial common thread bonding you to everyone else. So just go for it!