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50 Best Social Hobbies For Making Friends in Midlife

Updated: May 30

Social Hobbies for midlife

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About the Author - Dr. Angela Caveney


Introduction

Midlife is a fantastic phase of life, ripe with endless possibilities and joy, yet there are some universal struggles that we all face at this age. 


Social isolation is one, very common struggle. Making friends in midlife can be difficult, and it's particularly hard if you have moved to a new city, identify as a social introvert or are looking for a new, less toxic, friend group. 


Another common issue is that, as we wind down careers and launch our kids from the nest, we suddenly find that we have more time free time than we're used to, leaving us asking "what do I do now?" 


If you have a club, such as the Trybe Women's Social Club, where you live, both of these problems are easily solved. If you do not, tackling this problem takes a bit more effort.



In this article, I'll briefly cover 50 specific hobbies that are either inherently social, or that can easily be made to be social by joining or creating a group around the hobby of interest.



What Is a Social Hobby?

The definition of a "social hobby" is simply an activity that not only brings you personal enjoyment, but also involves interaction with others. Unlike more solitary hobbies, social hobbies thrive on collaboration, communication, and shared experiences. They provide opportunities for us to learn from each other and build relationships while engaging in an activity we love.

Game based social hobbies are a great way to meet new people and make new friends

Game Based Social Hobbies

Game-based hobbies aren’t only for kids. They offer fantastic platforms for improving your social life, fostering team spirit, strategic thinking, and usually, a little friendly competition. 

Some popular game based social hobbies include:

1. Board Games

Who doesn't love board games? By design, board games are one of the best ways to make and develop friendships. Hosting a board game night of your own or simply joining a local board game group can introduce you to new people and provide a fun way to bond over a shared interest. From classics like Monopoly and Scrabble to newer games like Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride, there is no shortage of game options for all skill levels.


2. Bunco

I continue to be amazed at Bunco’s staying power as a very popular way to hang out with friends. I think that it's due to the fact that Bunco is a very simple dice game that can be played with a large group of people while drinking copious amounts of alcohol. 


My neighborhood alone has 4 Bunco groups and their wait lists are bulging at the seams. Whereas finding one with an open spot might be a bit challenging, if you're up for creating one yourself, you'll undoubtedly be very popular.


3. Poker

Poker is not just for the guys, ladies! Creating or joining a poker club can create a unique social experience that brings people together. When you sit around a poker table, it's not just about the cards. It's also about the dialogue, the camaraderie, and the shared excitement of each new hand. 

Chess clubs are great for spending time with new connections

4. Chess

Chess, while inherently a contest of individual strategy, can actually be a great catalyst for new relationships rooted in mutual respect and shared passion.

Joining a chess club brings you into a diverse community of like minded people who share your love for the game. This common interest fosters an environment ripe for friendship, as riveting discussions on strategies and past matches become a natural part of your interactions. 


5. Euchre

Where are our Michiganders? I couldn’t resist including Euchre in this list because it is a VERY popular game where I am from. My parents have been part of a euchre club for 30 years!


When played with a group, tournament style, it’s a perfect game for socializing because you rotate partners throughout the evening, giving you an opportunity to both team up with and compete against everyone else. 


6. Rummy

Rummy is another strategic card game that provides a great way to socialize and create social connections. Rummy is not so much about winning or losing, but about the laughter, the friendly banter, and the exchange of thoughts that happen around the table as we share our day-to-day experiences, learn from each other, and forge strong bonds. 

Learning difficult social hobbies like bridge can boost self esteem

7. Bridge

Bridge, is the ultimate social game of concentration, intelligence and strategy. The game's intricacies amplify its social aspects because of the need for cooperation between partners as they strategize and subtly communicate to outwit their opponents. 


8. Trivia

Trivia nights, particularly those held at local pubs and involving team play, offer a fun and social way to test your knowledge on a variety of topics while also meeting new people.


As we put our heads together to recall obscure facts or debate possible answers, a sense of unity and shared purpose naturally develops. Even when we don't win, there's a shared sense of accomplishment in the knowledge we've gained and the fun we've had. 



9. Role-Playing Games (RPGs)

Role-playing games, the most well known of which is Dungeons & Dragons, offer remarkable avenues for friendship cultivation. 


As players, we find ourselves immersed in a shared narrative as fellow adventurers, forging bonds through collaborative decision-making and problem-solving. The nature of RPGs demands high levels of communication, cooperation, and a shared sense of purpose over long periods of time and often late into the night.


Our characters may be fictional, but the camaraderie and companionship created on these adventures are as real as they come. 


10. Bingo

Having survived as a popular game of chance since at least the 14th century, Bingo may be the ultimate social hobby. 


Anyone who has been to a bingo hall can attest that the lively atmosphere  is unmatched, filled with anticipation, camaraderie, and a sense of community. The shared experience of waiting for the next number to be called, the collective sighs, cheers and favorite shout-outs, create a unique bond among players. 


11. Pokeno

Newer to the scene is Pokeno. Its unique blend of poker's strategic play and bingo's element of chance makes for an exciting, unpredictable game that never fails to keep players engaged. 


As we gather around to play, the atmosphere buzzes with friendly competition, laughter, and conversation. The shared experiences - the thrilling wins, the surprising twists and turns of the game and even the humorous missteps all contribute a sense of fellowship.

Gaming can be a social hobby to meet people from around the world

12. Video Games

Far from the isolating activity they're often misinterpreted as, video games have evolved into an exciting platform for social interaction. Through online multiplayer games, gamers from around the world can connect, team up, or compete against each other, facilitating the development of friendships that extend beyond the digital realm. 


Sporty Social Hobbies

Sporty social hobbies offer the same benefits as game based social hobbies (including team building, friendly competition and strategic thinking) with the added benefit of a physical component.


Some favorite sporty social hobbies include:

A running club is a great way to find a few friends

13. Walking & Running

Walking and running clubs naturally promote camaraderie as we all pace together, sharing the same path, the same challenges, and the same triumphs. As we go, the conversation flows freely and naturally without the pressure of face to face conversation.


The dedicated time allows opportunities to get to know each other on a deeper level, away from the distractions of our daily lives. The shared goal of improving our health and fitness levels further strengthens the bond between us as we encourage and support each other to achieve personal milestones. 

adult sports leagues can be a fantastic way to make new friends

14. Pickleball

Pickleball, which is currently very popular in most cities, is an enjoyable and highly social sport for which you should have no trouble finding a club. (Just ask any of your tennis playing friends. lol)


The nature of pickleball inherently encourages communication and cooperation. Winning a match requires not just individual skill, but strategic coordination with your partner. The smaller court size results in us always being in close proximity, creating loads of opportunities for chit-chat and easy conversation. 


15. Tennis

I don't personally play tennis, but nearly all my friends do. (Perhaps I was playing euchre as a kid while they were out on the courts.)


If you live in an area with a vibrant tennis community, there will no doubt be ample opportunities for making friends through team play, leagues and organized tournaments, all of which foster a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect since success on the court heavily relies on the coordinated efforts of the team members.

social hobbies are about spending time with new and old friends

16. Golf

When you think of the quintessential midlife social hobby, golf might be the first thing that comes to mind...and that is for good reason. The relaxed pace, long playing time and strategic nature of the game provide ample opportunities for conversation. Moreover, golf tournaments and club events serve as social hubs, where enthusiasts of all skill levels can interact.


Whether it's discussing the course, sharing tips, or just having a casual chat during the walk between holes, the bonds formed on the golf course often extend far beyond the 18th hole. 


17. Frisbee Golf

Frisbee golf is a highly social hobby that often includes a tight-knit community of enthusiasts. The welcoming, inclusive culture of frisbee golf makes it easy to strike up friendships, whether it's during a casual game in the park or at organized club events. 



18. Bowling

Bowling has always held a special place in my heart because, growing up it was just about the only social life outlet in my small, rural, Midwestern town had to offer. 


The beauty of bowling lies in its simplicity and inclusivity, as its handicapping system makes it possible for players of all ages and skill levels to participate and compete with each other. From celebrating strikes and spares to consoling each other over missed pins, these are the  little shared moments that add up to lasting friendships.


Bowling alleys themselves often buzz with laughter, cheers, and friendly banter, creating a lively, communal atmosphere that's ideal for making connections. 

Bowling leagues and tournaments offer another layer of social interaction, introducing me to fellow enthusiasts and fostering a spirit of healthy competition. 


19. Badminton

The very nature of badminton encourages communication and teamwork, especially in doubles play. There's an inherent bond that forms when you and your partner work together to outwit your opponents, strategizing on the fly and celebrating each point won. 

Ping pong is one of the great hobbies to meet new friends

20. Ping Pong

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is another vibrant social hobby that serves as a fantastic conduit for making new friends across all ages and skill levels.

Doubles play demands seamless coordination and communication with your partner. 


Ping pong tournaments and clubs open up opportunities to meet like-minded enthusiasts. The thrill of the game, the shared laughter over a missed shot, and the mutual respect for each other's skills, all contribute to the sociable aspects of ping pong.


21. Archery

Archery can be so much more than just a solitary pursuit of precision. Archery clubs and training centers create an inclusive environment  where beginners and experienced archers alike can exchange tips and develop new skills. As we cheer for each other's bullseyes and offer support during those not-so-perfect shots, a sense of fellowship naturally forms. 

Thai Chi is a great social hobby to meet people

22. Thai Chi

Thai Chi is not just an exercise for the body and mind, but also a wonderful platform for social interaction. The shared experience of mastering the graceful and meditative sequences creates a sense of community among practitioners. 


Communal Thai Chi sessions often lead to lively conversations and the exchange of experiences. The emphasis on mental focus, balance, and fluid movements attracts a diverse group of individuals, making it a fantastic opportunity to meet interesting people from varying walks of life. 


23. Dance

Dancing and dance classes are classic social outlets as they offer an extraordinary mingling of exercising, artistic expression, and social interaction. The shared experience of learning a routine, coupled with the camaraderie that naturally forms when we move in synchrony with the rhythm, fosters an immediate and unique bond among dancers.


We laugh as we stumble over a new step and cheer each other on through challenging routines. The endorphin surge from dancing, coupled with the human connection, makes each class feel like a party among friends. 


24. Dragon Boating

Dragon boating is an exhilarating team sport that offers a unique blend of physical exertion and team spirit. As a dragon boat participant, you're not just a paddler, but an integral part of a synchronous, cooperative unit.

The essence of dragon boating lies in unison, moving together to propel the boat forward. This harmony breeds a deep sense of unity, as success hinges on the collective effort rather than individual prowess. 

Book clubs are great social hobbies for introverts

Social Hobbies For Introverts

The below social hobbies are great options for everyone, but I’m listing them as particularly good for people who identify as social introverts because these hobbies involve more solo activities at their core, with relatively structured social engagement options.


Some ideal social hobbies for introverts include:


25. Reading

Book clubs might be an introverts perfect hobby because they offer the ideal balance of solitude and social interaction for many social introverts. The structured and time limited nature of book club meetings offers a sense of comfort, as discussions revolve around predetermined topics, alleviating the pressure of spontaneous small talk. 


The opportunity to step slightly outside of one's comfort zone and connect on a deeper level with others through shared insights and perspectives is another thing that often makes book clubs truly appealing to social introverts who often prefer deeper, more meaningful conversation vs surface level chit chat.


26. Writing 

Participating in writing workshops is an ideal social hobby for introverts. Writing workshops offer an environment that nurtures creativity in solitude, while also providing structured social interaction during feedback sessions during which attendees can share as much (or as little) as as they'd like in a safe, supportive environment. 


Writing workshops foster a unique bond among participants who learn to appreciate and respect each other's writing styles and perspectives. The critique process also helps build trust because it's based on constructive criticism and mutual growth.

cooking classes are another good social hobby for introverts

27. Cooking

Cooking classes are also a remarkably good social hobby for introverts, presenting a harmonious balance of social interaction and personal expression. The structured environment guides participants through a culinary journey, reducing the need for small talk and instead, encouraging meaningful conversation centered around our shared love for food. 


28. Yoga & Meditation

Yoga and meditation can be uniquely rewarding social activities, typically drawing like-minded individuals who value calmness, introspection, mindfulness and personal growth.


The serene and peaceful environment of a yoga or meditation studio fosters a sense of connection without necessitating constant conversation. In the quiet moments of stretching, breathing, and meditating together, bonds are formed that go beyond words.


29. Movies

Joining a movie club can be a highly engaging and low pressure way for social introverts to find and make friends. Movie clubs allow participants to be part of a group without the pressure of small talk. Instead, the collective experience of watching a film is shared, followed by a structured discussion about the movie.

attending workshops on gardening will help you meet people

Nature Based Social Hobbies

For those who find tranquility and joy in nature's embrace, there is a myriad of hobbies that not only let you indulge in your love for the great outdoors, but also encourages social connection. 


A few of the most common nature based social hobbies include:


30. Community Gardening

As an avid fan of community gardening, I can personally attest to its power as a social hobby and a fantastic way to make new friends. A garden is a space where individuals from all walks of life come together, unified by a common passion for nurturing nature.


As we work in the soil alongside others, we share tips, advice, stories, laughter, and sometimes even meals, fresh from the very produce we've grown. The friendships forged in the garden are deep-rooted and meaningful because we're not just sharing a hobby, we're sharing a way of life.

Bird watching is a social hobby that leads to good company

31. Birdwatching

Birdwatching is a surprisingly social experience and a wonderful avenue to make a new friend (or more). When you're out and about with your binoculars and field guide, you're bound to bump into others who are equally passionate about this great hobby. 


For an even more social experience, birdwatching groups are a fantastic way to connect with others through organized outings, including trips to nature reserves, forest parks, or other bird hotspots where collective spotting becomes an exciting group activity. 


The shared thrill of spotting a rare bird or identifying a new species creates a special bond among birdwatchers. 


32. Camping

Camping can be a wonderfully social hobby and an excellent way to forge new friendships. The shared experiences and challenges of setting up tents, cooking meals over a campfire, navigating nature and sitting around a campfire under a starlit sky create a unique communal environment that is difficult to replicate elsewhere. 



33. Hiking

Group hiking fosters conversation and fellowship, as we navigate through nature's beauty and challenges together. The shared experiences of fellow hikers overcoming steep ascents, marveling at stunning views from a mountaintop, or even getting lost and finding our way back, all have a way of opening up and bonding us. 


34. Canoeing & Kayaking

There's a unique sense of oneness that forms when you're meditatively paddling through serene waters with a group of fellow canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts. The shared experience of witnessing breathtaking views, spotting wildlife, collaborating in challenging water or even capsizing and laughing it off, all contribute to the formation of social bonds and lasting memories. 


Social Hobbies for Lifelong Learning

The pursuit of lifelong learning through social hobbies provides a not only a unique enrichment to our own personal development, but also fosters bonds with like-minded individuals who share similar interests.

 

Here are a few social hobbies that promote lifelong learning:

A social hobby like public speaking can build self confidence

35. Public Speaking

As a member of Toastmasters, I've found public speaking to be a surprisingly social hobby that has not only helped me develop my communication skills, but also build strong friendships. 


At Toastmasters, we're a diverse group, constantly interacting with and learning each other as we strive toward the same goal of overcoming our fears and enhancing our public speaking abilities. We give and receive constructive feedback, resulting in a spirit of mutual growth and learning. The various social events organized by Toastmasters, such as speech contests and social gatherings offer ample opportunities for camaraderie and friendship. 


36. Wine

Being a member of a wine club has undeniably broadened my social circles while expanding my knowledge about wines. Wine tasting events are not just about the wine; they are about the conversations, the shared experiences, and the bonds formed over a shared appreciation.


As we gather at wine events to sample different varieties, we learn about the different wine regions, and engage in vibrant discussions about the subtle notes and flavors that each bottle offers. The shared joy of discovering a new favorite wine, learning a fascinating piece of trivia about a particular vineyard combined with a light, happy wine buzz can quickly ignite friendships.


37. Dog Training

Dog training is a truly rewarding and popular hobby that not only allows you to form a more profound connection with your furry companion, but also opens up opportunities for socializing with other dog lovers.


Instantly bonding over our shared experiences, dog care tips, and the day-to-day joys of being a pet parent, these interactions often evolve into meaningful friendships.

the fine arts provide tons of social hobbies to meet people

Fine Arts & Crafty Social Hobbies

The world of artistic expression, whether it be via the more formal fine arts or more casual "arts and crafts", opens up a whole new world of options to be creative while connecting with like-minded individuals. 


A few of the nearly unlimited creative social hobbies include:


38. Community Theater

Community theater is a social hobby that offers a wonderful avenue to make friends and build lasting relationships. While working on a show, theater members form a family as they spend countless hours together, rehearsing lines, building sets, and perfecting performances. This immersive and often very intense collaborative environment naturally leads to very strong bonds that often last a lifetime.


39. Join a Band

If you sing or play a band instrument, joining a local band could be just the exhilarating and socially enriching experience you're looking for. 

Music, being a universal language, has a unique way of bringing people together. The countless hours spent in practice sessions, the joys of performing live music, and the shared euphoria of applause create deep bonds of friendship.


40. Join an Orchestra

If you are an experienced musician, consider joining a local orchestra or ensemble. Being part of an ensemble tasked with playing intricate symphonies fosters a profound sense of unity and teamwork as you become one entity, each contributing to the overall harmony. 

Photography clubs and attending workshops can be very social

41. Photography

With a camera in hand, you'll find countless opportunities to engage with other photographers as you adventure out to capture sunrise landscapes and busy cityscapes. 


Photography clubs and workshops form community hubs of passionate photographers, providing the perfect platform to exchange ideas, learn from each other and collaborate on projects.


42. Knitting & Sewing

Knitting and sewing, while often solitary pastimes, offer many opportunities to weave friendships as you weave your patterns. Joining a knitting or sewing club will introduce you to a community of people who share your love for creating something beautiful from a simple thread. The rhythmic, repetitive nature of knitting and sewing is highly conducive to endless conversations about life, shared tips, and mutual encouragement. 

Creative hobbies like pottery can be surprisingly social

43. Pottery

Pottery classes, workshops and open studio sessions naturally form a supportive and collaborative community. As you sit at the wheel, molding clay into bowls, vases, or plates, you'll be surrounded by fellow pottery enthusiasts who share your passion for creating something tangible and beautiful. You'll easily make friends as you exchange ideas, help each other hone techniques, and collectively marvel at the transformation of a nondescript lump of clay into a work of art. 


44. Paper Quilling

The meticulous process of rolling, shaping, and gluing paper to create decorative designs not only fuels creativity, but also sparks lively discussions and mutual learning when done in a group. In a shared quest for mastering this intricate art form, fellow quillers exchange tips, critique each other's work, and bond over our shared victories and challenges. 


45. Quilting

The social beauty of quilting is that it thrives on collaboration, encouraging dialogue and exchange of ideas. Quilting clubs and quilting retreats are currently incredibly popular, and for good reason. During group quilting sessions, the rhythmic, soothing act of stitching pieces together provides ample time for interesting conversation and for relationships to flourish. 


Quilters who want to take their passion up a social notch often gather together around a common piece, with each stitch weaving them closer together as they contribute to a shared creative endeavor. 



46. Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a fun activity and a beautifully tangible way to preserve memories. Joining a scrapbooking club can provide you with new friends as well as new ideas and techniques for your projects. As you collectively navigate through piles of photographs, embellishments, and papers, you'll also share stories, laughs, and sometimes even tears.


47. Origami

The act of folding paper as part of an origami club or workshop is a shared experience that creates a sense of unity and camaraderie. As we challenge ourselves to transform a simple piece of paper into intricate designs, we engage in lively discussions, share tips and techniques, and even assist each other in overcoming tricky folds. 


48. Miniature Painting

As miniature painting enthusiasts gather to meticulously paint and detail tiny figures, they exchange ideas, offer tips on techniques, and sometimes even challenge each other with friendly competitions. There's something incredibly bonding about spending hours together, focused on our miniature worlds, and celebrating each other's accomplishments.


49. Cross-Stitching

Joining a cross-stitch group can provide you with new patterns, techniques, and a community with whom you can share your finished projects. Cross stitch enthusiasts often enjoy a silent camaraderie, bound by the rhythmic motion of their needles and the joint ambition of completing their designs. At other times, cross stitch gatherings are full of lively conversation, the exchange of ideas and learning from each other's mistakes. 

painting is a very popular social hobby to meet people

50. Painting

When you're immersed in painting alongside others, whether it's in an art class, an open studio, or even a casual painting group, there's a unique camaraderie that forms. Painters are drawn to each other, connected by their mutual love for the canvas and the brush. This shared passion, and the sheer amount of time spent together, quite naturally sparks conversation and friendship.


Final Thoughts

Hobbies are not just a way to pass time or entertain ourselves, they also have the potential to create deep connections and a sense of community.


I hope that the above list has inspired you to try a new hobby, develop a new skill or simply to find local events and clubs to add a social component to a passion you already enjoy.


As I already mentioned, a social club can be the perfect launching pad to a whole new world of friends and fun. If you don't have a social club near you, consider all the great reasons to start one of your own! I'd love nothing more than to guide you along that journey. Just reach out!


About the Author

Angela Caveney, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, Neuropsychologist and Founder of The Trybe Women's Social Club. Her absolute favorite things to do are to help women find their people, rediscover themselves and thrive throughout midlife. She can be reached directly at angela@the-trybe.com.


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