DEAR ABBY: Do you have any advice on how I can make friends with people my own age in my hometown? It's a small college town. I recently graduated from the local university and still live at home with my parents. Most of the people I socialized with in school have moved back home after graduating, found work, and seem uninterested in contacting me, or they're still in school and very busy.
I've had some success making friends online, but my internet friends live out of state or abroad. I work as a substitute teacher and would like to make friends with other subs and teachers, but I don't get many chances to interact with them.
I have always been somewhat of an introvert and homebody and don't get out much. I want to change that before I leave for grad school next year, but I'm not sure where to start. -- HOMEBODY IN OHIO
DEAR HOMEBODY: Start making it a priority to get out of your parents' house and meet new people. The first thing to do is figure out where your interests lie. Surely in a college town there are organizations or groups that would interest you.
If you want to be more physically active, consider joining a gym. If you are political, reach out to the party of your choice and volunteer. I'm sure you will be welcomed with open arms. If you're an animal lover, raise money for a pet rescue organization. While you're doing good, you will be getting to know other like-minded individuals.
And remember that social skills don't always come naturally to people. The more you give yourself a chance to practice, the better you will become at them.