Friends are wonderful. They make you laugh, they go on adventures with you, and they're there for you when times are tough. Healthy friendships are also linked to better cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, less depression, and a longer life. So it never hurts to try to make new friends.

But sometimes making new friends can feel really hard, whether you're trying to meet friends in school, online, or as an adult. Fortunately, making new friends doesn't have to be hard, especially once you know where to look and how to put yourself out there. Here are some tips for you to get new friends:

1. Make yourself available

If you want to make friends, you first need to put yourself out there somehow in order to meet people. If you just sit alone, friends might come to you, but that's not likely because they might think you want to stay alone. For example, if you're still in school, sit somewhere with other people. It doesn't have to be a crowded table, but try to choose one with at least 2 other people.

2. Join an organization or club to meet new people

This is a great way to find other people who have common interests. You don't necessarily need to have a lot of common interests with people in order to make friends with them. Some of the most rewarding friendships are between 2 people who don't have much in common at all. However, if you like a specific topic, try searching for a location where you can meet people who share that interest.

3. Volunteer for a cause you care about

Volunteering is also a good way for people of all ages to meet others. People who work together often form strong connections. Meet people by volunteering with a community center, charitable group, hospital, museum, or place of worship.

4. Start small with people you know

If you haven’t been socializing much, meeting a whole bunch of new people may seem intimidating. If so, start small first. Lower the difficulty of the task by starting with your circle of friends, i.e. people you are familiar with. Some ways to do that:

Reach out to acquaintances: Have any hi-bye type friends from earlier years? Or friends you lost touch with over time? Drop a friendly SMS and say hi. Ask for a meetup when they are free. See if there are opportunities to reconnect.

Get to know your friends’ friends: You can join them in their outings or just ask your friend to introduce you to them. If you are comfortable with your friends, there’s a good chance you will be comfortable with their friends too.

Accept invitations to go out: If you want to have more friends, you have to step out of your comfort zone and go out more often. You can’t make more friends in real life if you stay at home!

5. Take the first step

Once you are out there with people around you, someone has to make the first move. If the other party doesn’t initiate a talk, take the first step to say hello. Get to know each other a little better! Share something about yourself, and then give the other party a chance to share about him/her. Something easy, like asking how the day is, or what they did today / in the past week is a great conversation starter. Once the ice is broken, it’ll be easier to connect.