You probably already know that having a fun and varied social life is one of the key components to happiness, but if you didn’t then there is scientific evidence to back it up. A 2015 study carried out by the researcher Barbara Freedrickson found that even the most casual of positive social interactions with acquaintances can cause a major lift in spirits

If you don’t think you are social enough and want to find new ways to spend time with new people and make new friends, then read on – we’ve put together these five ways to improve your social life.

Invite a colleague out for lunch

How many of us take full advantage of our work lunch break? Around 62 percent of Americans eat their lunch at their desk, scoffing down a sandwich while never getting away from the glow of a computer screen or the hum of the office. Your lunch break is a great opportunity to socialize, so why not suggest that a group of you head out for lunch on a Friday afternoon where you can sit in the sunshine and talk about anything that doesn’t involve work.

Meet an old friend for coffee

When you live a life dominated by work or family, it is easy to fall into a rut and end up spending time with the same few people over and over again. Broadening who you see and socialize with can lead to a marked improvement in your social life. Whereas 20 years ago you would graduate from high school or college and loose contact with a majority of your old friends, social media makes it easy to stay in touch with school friends. Take advantage of that by inviting one of your old mates out for a coffee and a catch up on what is new.

Take up a new sport

Sports provide a great way to socialize and meet like-minded people. By joining a local baseball team, a badminton club or taking up a fast-growing sport such as pickleball, you’ll be extending your social circle with the added benefit of getting exercise as well. Who knows, you might like it so much that you’ll go from joining a club for simply the social side to painstakingly researching which is the Best Pickleball Paddle For Spin in order to become the best of your new found friendship group.

Don’t be afraid to go out alone

Long gone are the days when going out by yourself was seen as sad or lonely. Nowadays, plenty of people head to bars and restaurants alone and this can prove to be a great way to meet new people. If a local band you like are playing in a pub but you’ve no-one to go with, then go alone. You’ll have a great evening anyway and you might even strike up conversations and pick up new friends along the way.

Turn off the technology

One of the main reasons that we have little need to socialize is technology. You don’t need to leave your house now to order food, see a movie, buy a book or even talk to your friends. That convenience can come at a cost though when it comes to a social life, so every now and again turn off the technology and do things the old-fashioned way by visiting a shop or actually getting out and speaking to people face-to-face.