Nine ways to make friends when you have disability

Are you looking for new friends? Sharing time with friends can be really fun! Friends are also a great support when you just need someone to talk to. But sometimes friends are hard to find and friendships are hard to keep.

It can feel difficult to make new friends. Talking to new people isn’t always easy, or you might not know where to meet people. You might simply not know the best ways to make friends with people when you do meet them. Let’s take a look at some strategies to help you connect with people and make new friends.

1. Join community groups

Community groups can be a great place to find friends because you will definitely meet people there, and some of them are likely to have similar interests to you. If you can have fun doing the same things then you might find you have a lot of other things in common with them as well. We offer a lot of different leisure and recreation choices at Mambourin, which are a great opportunity to join fun events and activities with a group.

Five people stand outside in front of a bus

Mambourin offers social activities out in the local community

2. Do some volunteering

When you volunteer there are a lot of chances to meet people. Often you work in teams when you volunteer. This means you can talk to new people and get to know them. You might also be working together to achieve something, such as setting up an event. When you have shared experiences with people it can be easier to make friends with them.

3. Talk to people at work

Talking to people at work is another way to make friends. You might have a lot in common with your colleagues. You usually spend a lot of time with people at work so there is a good chance to get to know them. After a while you might be able to organise meeting up outside of work and you can get to know them even better. Some workplaces have organised social activities, like Mambourin’s Flexi Choices Social Club for employees and trainees that want to have fun with their workmates outside work hours.

Two colleagues wearing high vis in a warehouse, smiling

Many people make friends at work

4. Use technology

Technology also gives us the chance to stay in touch with people. You can send people messages to ask how they are or even to organise something fun.

If you find talking to new people in person to be really difficult, talking online can be a good alternative. You can find people with common interests online which can help you with getting to know people. This could be by joining Facebook groups about things you’re interested in, or even finding like-minded people on Instagram. But always remember to stay safe online! Be careful who you talk to and what information you give people.

Technology can be great for finding and keeping friends. There are a lot of different apps you can use that are designed to find friends. You can use them to look for people with similar interests to you. There are a number of apps available for people with disability to find friends as well. One great one you might like to try is Making Authentic Friends, or MAF.

5. Make yourself approachable

It is easier to make friends when you are approachable. Don’t forget that others might be nervous about talking to new people as well. Sometimes smiling at a new person can make a big difference. This shows the person you are friendly and open. When having a conversation with someone, try to keep your head up and use eye contact if that’s comfortable for you.

Two people sit either side of an outdoor table, they are smiling and looking at each other

Smiling and making eye contact are great ways to connect

6. Ask about their interests

If someone new starts talking to you it is always a good idea to ask questions about them. By showing them that you’re interested in their life they are more likely to have a longer conversation. This also means you will be able to find more things in common. When you have common interests with people there is more to talk about. You may even discover things you will be able to do together.

7. Talk to past friends

Talking to past friends can be very helpful. Sometimes your life can be so busy that you lose contact with friends but this doesn’t mean you can’t reconnect. Often your past friends are the people who understand you the best and you can have the most fun with.

Talking to a friend for the first time in a while can be a really good experience. You can find out all the things that have been happening in their life. Social media means it can be easy to contact past friends as well. It can be as easy as sending them a message on Facebook.

8. Be yourself

When you are being yourself your good qualities come out. Telling people what you like to do and about your favourite things is another really good way of finding things in common with each other. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. When you feel comfortable being yourself you will be more confident and easier to talk to.

9. Get in touch with Mambourin

At Mambourin we offer a huge range of services for people living with disability. This includes many types of social opportunities. You can Contact Us or call us at (03) 9731 9200 to find out how our services could benefit you and help you meet more people.

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