You’ve read the Social Shiners articles. You’ve practiced at work, school, with strangers at the supermarket, and maybe even with people you already know. You’re getting better and better and conversation and meeting people.

The next step is to create an opportunity to see them again.

What does “hang out” mean?

If you are not familiar with the term “hang out,” it is an informal term (verb) used in place of “socialize” or “rendezvous.” The reason “hang out” is so popular is because in America, no one will ask you to “socialize,” because it’s such a formal term, while socializing is really about having fun and relaxing. Whether it’s as friends, coworkers, or a possible romantic date, people ask each other to hang out all the time. Note that older generations may used different terms.

men socialize

Two men “hanging out.” As you can see, there is no actual hanging involved — the term simply means to meet to socialize.

The importance of knowing how to ask people to hang out

When we were kids, we would have no problems seeing friends. If they were friends from school, we would see them everyday. And if they were good friends, our parents might have scheduled playdates or invited them over to play after school or on the weekend. As we grow older however, we will move, get busier, and meet new friends. To preserve those relationships, we need to learn how to continue socializing with those people, especially because we will no longer see them everyday.

If you did not have much socialization during childhood like me, the same principle still applies to you: as an adult, you will need to learn how to grow relationships by scheduling times and events to meet. Whether you have close friends or not, you will need to continually communicate or meet with them to maintain your relationship throughout your life. This sounds tedious, but remember, your ultimate goal should be to develop close relationships that last for the rest of your life.


When you meet a person that you really enjoy talking to, you might want to see them again and get to know them better. To do this, you will need to

Find people looking for new friends

The most important part of your search for meeting new people will be to find people who are looking for new friends. This is important, because you want to maximize your chances of success.

The best times to make new friends are when you lots of people doing something new or moving somewhere. Here are some great ideas:

  • School. High school is difficult because often, friends in middle school will become friends in high school. This means they aren’t as open to new friends. However, if you find a new student, you should try to make friends with them. If you are a freshmen in college, then make the most of it. Many students will be attending college away from home and very open to meeting new people. In fact, there may never be a better opportunity to meet new friends than freshmen year in college.
  • Hobby clubs and interest groups. These are usually great for 2 reasons. One is that “birds of a similar feather flock together” — it will be easier to socialize with people who have similar views or interests. The second reason is that many people who join these clubs are joining because they want to meet new people. These can be anything from dance, crotchet, martial arts, car modifying, cooking, Magic the Gathering, political views, Japanese anime, foreign culture clubs.
  • Working abroad as an expat. I personally spent several years working abroad as an English teacher. While there, I met many expats from America and Canada. Although being from the same country and speaking the same language is not a good foundation for a relationship, being sudden minorities do cause people to be more open to meeting people.
  • Friends of friends. You will notice that a great way of meeting new people is through other friends. The reason behind this is that you will always have more trust in a friend of a friend than in a complete stranger. When your friends introduce you to their friends, they are vouching for them and letting you know that they are an interesting person and vice versa.

Remember this: not everyone is looking for new friends.

How to ask someone to hang out

To do this, there are 3 steps:

  1. Recognize that you want to hang out with this person
  2. Arrange a meeting
  3. Get their contact details

There will be many people you meet. If you do not have friends, you will feel as though you want to be friends with all of them. That is not a good strategy. You want to make sure that you like this person first or you believe you are compatible as friends.

Next, you will arrange a meeting. You can do this by suggesting a meeting “hey, we should talk more about this over lunch sometime” or “you’re pretty funny. we should hang out sometime.” If the feeling is mutual, you’ll receive similar enthusiasm. If not, most people will not be cold enough to say “no, I don’t want to hang out with you,” but rather, they’ll give an excuse or give you their phone number and never answer. You’ll be disappointed, but this is part of the path to being a Social Shiner.

Finally, get their contact details. In this day and age, most people will ask for a mobile phone number or email. You could use many other ways too, but email and mobile phones are great because it gives them time to answer. With a phone call, a person will probably be too busy to answer. With an email or a text message however, you can easily send a message. If they are truly interested in hanging out with you, you should see a reply.