Loneliness can be a part of the freelancer experience. If you're working from home every day or are working as an independent contributor, having enough social interaction can be challenging. In our other article, How to Make Friends at Coworking Spaces, we tackle how to overcome loneliness when you're working in a coworking space, however, we wanted to share some of our favorite ways of dealing with loneliness if you don't go down the freelancing route.
Becoming a Local at a Coffee Shop
From a sociology perspective, one of the best ways to make friends is through repetitive interactions with someone that are unplanned. One way of accomplishing this is by going to the same coffee shop or location to work every day. When people see you more frequently, they're more likely to invest in you and strike up a conversation. If you're a digital nomad and freelancing while traveling, go up to someone and say hi. So many people in the world are isolated today and are open to conversation but are too nervous to take the first step.
Scheduling Video Calls
One great strategy is having recurring video calls scheduled with your friends or colleagues. Set a reminder on your calendar every month to schedule your calls. When you're talking to these people, especially if they're relationships where you’re changing the frequency of communication, simply say that you really enjoy their company and would love the opportunity to foster the relationship with a scheduled monthly call.
It takes the thought out of it and is a great way to continue to connect. I'd recommend getting at least four people to do this with and scheduling them out every week. That way you have someone that you're connecting with on a weekly basis and continuing to build relationships.
One other strategy is if you have other freelancer friends who don't work near you, set up a video call that you agree to have on in the background while you work. These interactions can be used for productivity, asking questions, or just sharing something silly. Similar to how an office space set up is.
Going to Industry Meet-Ups
In most cities, there are different industry meet-ups that are available. These can be found through word of mouth, talking to colleagues in the industry, googling it, or using Meet-Up. Many industry events have recurring events that are a great way to network and get outside of the routine of working by yourself all day. The upside here is that it's another way to network and grow your clientele.
Finding Other Freelancers to Work With
The last strategy we'll discuss today if finding other freelancers to cowork with. You don't have to sign up for an expensive coworking membership to get the benefits of working near someone. Chat with your freelancer friends and see if anyone wants to meet weekly at a specific coffee shop. Hop onto WeWork and see if there are any organized coworking events that happen in your city. Not seeing anything? Consider starting your own MeetUp and build the community.