“I want to be more social, but I often feel like I have nothing to talk about. I only play video games and watch TV, and nobody cares. How do I find hobbies so I can actually relate to people?”

– C Kush

The Importance of Hobbies

Hobbies and interests are an important part of leading a fulfilling life. Not only do they help define you, but also in the interest of a social life, they help you find like-minded people who share your interests! Human beings operate on a in-group/out-group way of thinking, and when you share a common interest with someone, that can make them like you more, since you are no longer just a random person. I think that video games and watching TV are considered 1/2 hobbies C Kush, in that everyone can do them, but I also think that if people had Real Life hobbies, they would not spend nearly as much time on video games and TV. I want to talk more about how you can find “real” hobbies.

Fulfilling a Childhood Desire: I Learned How to Play Basketball

I was never good at sports. I was a skinny, underweight, and an un-athletic kid. No one taught me anything about sports. I always doubted myself and thought of myself as uncoordinated. At school, it seemed everyone knew how to play sports. I was embarrassed the girls at my school were better at sports than me. The other boys teased me. I always wanted to try basketball since I was little, but I had so many bad memories of failing at sports, including not being able to dribble while running in middle school, and ever since then, I doubted myself. I was embarrassed. So, as a grown man, I summoned some courage, and I started to go to the basketball court when no one was around. Remember, I was deeply embarrassed. I started shooting by myself, away from anyone’s eyes. For some time, I was going 3x a week. I recorded myself to see how I could do better. I watched instructional videos on Youtube on how to shoot a basketball and how to develop form, because there are no basketball instructors for adults. I realized that although I was not a natural born athlete, if I put in practice, I could do a lot of things and that I was not an impossible klutz that I always thought I was. That’s right: starting this hobby was one of the best things for me to do, because it completely changed how I viewed myself! Eventually, I started playing games with people. What is amazing is that despite not learning how to play basketball until I was an adult, I had a better shooting form than most people I play with! I am not very good overall, in my opinion, but it’s a hobby for me now, and it’s one I enjoy. Do I sometimes wish I could just sit down on a computer and play League of Legends all day instead? Sure. But I know that I get really good exercise and a real sense of achievement when I start making a lot of shots in games. Plus, basketball is something I can use to meet people if I ever move to a new city. Even better, it’s nice to know how to play a game which a lot of people know — pickup basketball games can start anywhere!

Other Hobbies and Interests I Found

I started to play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, I started to learn how to play piano, and I also realized I have a moderate enjoyment of cooking. Currently, I am trying Latin dance, but I am not sure if this will be an ongoing hobby, but I am trying it out of curiosity. I also consider sci-fi movies to be an interest — I can have long conversations with people about the Alien movies or Event Horizon. When I consider that I had no hobbies well into my late 20s (I can’t really consider video games a hobby), I would say that I’ve done well to find these interests in my life. These are interests I plan to continue well into my old age and more importantly, they fulfill me, and I never have feelings of guilt or feelings that I am wasting my life away like I do when I binge-play video games.

How to Find Hobbies You Enjoy

Here are my suggestions for finding hobbies as an adult: try as many things as you can!

I feel that everyone will naturally enjoy certain hobbies — you need to find them by trying. For example, a popular hobby is scrapbooking (which Instagram/Pinterest is a digital form of), but I will never understand it nor want to try it. But many people do! They try it once, then they do it twice, and eventually they do it frequently. It doesn’t matter your age too! In terms of hobbies, you will find people of all ages in many hobbies. You might think Pokemon, for example, is for young people, but guess what? People that are in their 30s and 40s also liked Pokemon when they were kids! Do you like painting? My friend’s aunt did not start painting until she was retired, and she now has her own paintings allover her house! Do you like comic books? Well, if you ever go to a comic book convention, you will see a very wide range of ages.

Here is a long list of things that you can try

  • cooking, baking, grilling, slow-cooking
  • mechanical work
  • customizing cars (adding fenders, installing custom gauges,
  • gardening
  • recreational reading
  • photography (you can do this with a nice camera phone too!)
  • dancing (latin, salsa, hip-hop, ballroom, hula, ballet)
  • yoga
  • hiking
  • painting toy figurines
  • golfing
  • fishing
  • making cool videos on Youtube (and editing videos)
  • exploring individual TV series and their fan communities
  • snowboarding / surfing / skateboarding
  • wood work / metal work / carpentry (making things with your hands)
  • jogging / marathon-running
  • being a sports fan (as a spectator of a bettor)
  • programming and coding
  • making beer / wine
  • fashion
  • fantasy sports

Some Hobbies Are Easier to Try than Others

I recommend trying the cheaper hobbies first. If you don’t like the hobby, then you didn’t spend much money on it. If you need to buy equipment, don’t “invest” in anything nice — buy the cheapest first and learn on it. If you like the hobby and you feel limited by your equipment, then move onto nicer equipment. For example, I started playing piano with a $50 keyboard. I thought the sounds were flat, the keys were small, and the range was too narrow. So, I bought a larger Casio for $150, with pressurized tones, normal-sized keys, and about 80% more keys than my little keyboard. And I am eyeing a $700 Yamaha keyboard, because it sounds much better than what I have now!

Sports Can Be Fun, Though They Require A Certain Level of Physical Fitness

Sports are tricky — people like them, but many of us worry we are not physically fit enough to play them (which is also why video games and TV are so popular — you don’t need to be fit!). If you have wanted to play sports, but were too embarrassed, don’t be! But look for opportunities to learn in a safe environment, where you won’t feel people are watching you and teasing you. My basketball story was an excellent example of getting what I wanted, while also understanding my embarrassment. If you want to learn how to swim, there are adult swimming classes out there. If you want to play in competitive sports, understand you are at a disadvantage since you are starting, and you may need to spend a lot of time practicing on your own before you are physically ready and understand the strategy of the game. This is one challenge I have with basketball — even if I have decent individual skills, I am incredibly behind on team skills such as making a good pass!

Try to find one social hobby

Real hobbies are great, because we find enjoyment in them and they help define who we are (“I enjoy photography in my spare time”), building our self-identity and subsequently our self-esteem. Many hobbies are ones you can enjoy by yourself. That’s fine, but I also suggest you find hobbies that you can do socially, or find a club of people who share the same hobby.

Social hobbies are hobbies which can be enjoyed with groups of people. This puts a bunch of like-minded people together in one place and is a great opportunity to meet people. Yoga, for example, can be done by oneself, but usually, it’s done through a class. Everyone performs the yoga by themselves, but they can move into conversation immediately afterwards. It’s also much more comfortable because even if everyone is a stranger, because they also do yoga, you share a slight bond already. This is much easier than meeting a random stranger, who you will need to pry information out of in the hope of finding something to talk about. With a club, you already have a go-to conversation topic: the hobby itself.

One Last Word: Keep Doing Them!

Hobbies are an important part of your development as a person. When you find these hobbies, keep doing them! You may eventually find other interests and spend more time there, but at least you will always have the enjoyment and identity that pursuing interests and developing hobbies gives you. Best of luck!