“I never get invited to do anything. It seems like people are out having fun, but my friends never invite me to hang out. I just end up staying at home and doing nothing. How do I get invited?”
Do you see other people hanging out and wonder how you can get invited? Building friendships and social connections can take time, and it can be tricky to know when to invite ourselves to events and when we should wait.
Sometimes shyness can come across as aloofness. People around you may not even know that you’re interested in spending time with them. Or they may not consider inviting you to events if they assume you won’t be interested.
For example, if you say you dislike sports, people probably won’t invite you when they’re planning to watch a hockey game.
Let others know that you’re looking to make new friends and try new things. The next time someone mentions a game night or some other type of activity, consider saying something like, “That sounds cool. I would love to try that.”
People are more likely to invite you places if they genuinely want to be around you. And people are more likely to want to be around you if you are kind, agreeable, friendly, and engaging. If the voice in your head is saying, “Well, of course no one wants to be around me,” don’t listen to it. Everyone has good qualities, and it’s a matter of learning how to enhance those positive traits while working on ourselves at the same time.
Use Facebook, Meetup, and other apps and social media websites to find public social events. Toastmasters is a group dedicated to practicing public speaking. Other events you may find interesting are game nights, pub quizzes, or discussion circles. These types of events are usually attended by people who are open to meeting new people.
If you’re in high school or college, ask classmates if they want to study together. At work, you can ask colleagues if they want to join you for lunch. If you know of any interesting social events going on, you can ask people if they’re interested in going with you. You can say something like, “I want to try this new type of exercise class, but I’m a bit intimidated. Are you interested?
Inviting others will make it more likely they will invite you, too.
Don’t wait to get invited—invite others to your own events. If you can’t find a meetup for your favorite hobby, consider starting one yourself. Try organizing a group hike or invite some people over for dinner.
If you’re not used to hosting events, start small. It can be difficult to host a large party if you’ve never done it before, especially if you don’t have many friends. Try not to get discouraged if attendance is minimal in the beginning. It can take time to build up attendance. People often have scheduling conflicts and last-minute obligations.
Use social media to get the word out about the events you’re hosting. Be clear in your description. Be sure to state the location, time, and purpose of the event. Specify whether it’s a free event that’s open to everyone or if there are expenses that need to be covered. Give people an easy way to contact you.
For most parties, the hosts will expect that most people will bring a friend or “plus one.” If they want to keep the party small, the host will usually inform their guests that they shouldn’t bring anyone along.
If you know of a friend that was invited to a party you want to go to, you can ask if you can go together. You can say something like, “Are you going to the party on Saturday? I don’t know Anna well, so I wasn’t invited. Do you think I could come with you?”
If you have a good friend invited to the party, they may be willing to ask the host if you can join. For example, they could say, “Do you know my friend Adam? Would you mind if I invite him?”
If someone is talking about plans around you, you can try to drop hints to prompt them to invite you.
Let’s say a friend mentions that they are going hiking over the weekend with their roommate. You may say something like, “That sounds great. I love hiking.”
The problem with this method is that people aren’t always great at picking up hints. They may just think you’re sharing information. To be a little bit more direct, you can add, “Is it a bonding thing for the two of you, or is it cool if I join?”
It feels intimidating to ask directly, but it’s the only way to get a clear answer.
If only there were a simple answer to this question. The truth is, there are many times that it’s completely OK to invite yourself to events and other times where it may come across as rude.
Sometimes, the person organizing the event has a “the more, the merrier” attitude. And sometimes they will feel awkward and won’t know how to respond if you invite yourself.
Here are some clues that it may be OK to invite yourself:
- It’s an open or public event. For example, if a bunch of people meet every weekend to play basketball, there’s a good chance that anyone who’s interested can join in. Similarly, if a bunch of coworkers go out to lunch together, it’s probably an open invitation. Also, if people are going to a concert or an event that’s open to the public, you can say that you were planning on being there too. Since it’s a public place, there’s no reason you can’t be there. You can see by their reaction if you would be welcome to join them.
- The event is being discussed or organized when you are present. If you’re in a group of people and they start talking about or organizing an event, they’re probably not doing so to purposefully make you feel left out. They may even assume that you understand that it’s an open invitation.
- The person organizing the group seems friendly and easygoing. If someone gives the impression that they are laid-back and comfortable with changes, they are more likely to be OK with people inviting themselves to group events.
Times when it’s probably not the best idea to invite yourself:
- It’s a special occasion, like the birthday of someone you don’t know.
- The event is at the house of someone you don’t know well.
- The organizer needs to put a lot of time and effort into the event. For example, if your friend is going to a dinner party where the host is cooking, inviting yourself would create more work for the host.
- The event is for a small group of close friends who you don’t know well. As a general rule, don’t invite yourself to an event where it’s just one romantic couple or a close group of friends.
- Extended events like a vacation or camping trip. Don’t invite yourself to events that people have planned for a long time or where you won’t be able to leave easily if things are uncomfortable.
- The people organizing the event generally don’t seem friendly or interested in getting to know new people. Whether it’s due to personality or just a busy phase they are going through, some people are content with the friends they have and will not be comfortable with new people inviting themselves into their social circle.
If you get the sense that it may be OK to invite yourself, try saying something like:
“That sounds fun. Do you mind if I join you guys?”
Be prepared to graciously accept a “No” if they want to keep the event small.
As a general rule, try not to invite yourself regularly. It can be fine to do it a few times, but if the people you’ve been spending time with don’t start asking you once they’re aware that you’d like to join them, it’s probably best to move on to other people who may be happier to spend time in your company. After all, you want to spend time with people who want to spend time with you too.