How to enlarge your social circle, make new friends as single member of Church

Magnify your calling. You will be greatly blessed as you give your time and talents to the building up of the Kingdom of God. Serve the Lord by serving those around you. Do your home and visiting teaching. You can develop great friendships with these brothers and sisters.

Get involved in ward activities and socials. If you don't want to come alone, volunteer to help out on a committee. Participate in activities like the ward choir.- Don't dwell on what you don't have at this moment. Have a positive, cheerful attitude. It is very important in developing new friendships. Be happy with yourself and your circumstances now. Express your gratitude to the Lord for the blessings He has given you.

Realize the Lord knows the righteous desires of your heart. He will bless you with the things that you need when you need them. If you have faith in promises the Lord has made and are faithful and obedient to His teachings, those blessings will come.

I trust in the Lord and His promises to me. And I am ever grateful for the wonderful friendships that I have gained over the last few years. They will be with me forever. - Rebecca Mrkva, Columbus, Ohio

What we did:

Spend time

I grew up in a family ward but eventually moved to Salt Lake and attended a large singles ward. At first it was uncomfortable not knowing anyone. The ward had frequent times when members would meet at the Church building and carpool to an activity. Being unfamiliar with the area, I would always elect to ride with other members. After a few times of doing this, I realized that I was meeting many new people by just spending time with them in the car. Even after I was in that area a few years, I still would always want to take this opportunity to meet new people.

Recently, as a single adult, I became a member of a family ward. This year as part of the pioneer activities, there was a day designated for the ward members to meet in a high school parking lot and walk to the Church. As a single member feeling kind of isolated, my first instinct was not to participate. After some thought I realized that this was an opportunity to visit with other members while walking. I took advantage and soon gained an understanding of how the pioneers must have gotten to know their neighbors. - Jeff Wright, Cheyenne, Wyo.

Work, serve together

One of the most important ways single members can enlarge their circle of friends is by fully supporting and participating in the ward and stake single adult program. There is a reason the Lord instructs His Saints to worship in wards and stakes. In order to develop healthy, meaningful relationships with others, we need to work, live, serve, cry and laugh with them on a regular basis. This is true for all members, and particularly for single adults.

Single members who participate in the ward and stake singles program have the added blessing of associating under priesthood leadership - a welcome alternative to some of what the world offers single adults, which can be unappealing and even spiritually dangerous.

Some single adults are reluctant to support the single adult program either because they feel it is "a waste of time" or because in their mind it validates a label they'd rather not have - single. But if we move our focus outward and become concerned about what we can give instead of what we'll get, we can reap great blessings as we form meaningful friendships with other single adults. - Kathy Grant, Provo, Utah

Be outgoing

I am the sole member of the Church in my household. Just as a fisherman casts his net into the sea, we need to do the same. To enlarge our social circle, we must be outgoing. This is the net we are casting. One benefit of this is that those we reach out to become strengthened, both member and non-member.

The more we cast our net to others by being outgoing, the more we allow opportunities for our social circle to grow, and for theirs to do the same. I plead with you to reach out to others. They need you - your welcoming smile, your encouragement, your listening ear, etc. And you need them. They need to be shown by you that they are loved. If it were not meant to be this way, the Plan of Salvation would not be how it is. - Brian Benedict, Martinez, Calif.

Learn names

I just moved into a new single adult unit, and I realize how much I need to follow this advice. I have three suggestions that have helped me enlarge my social circle as a single member of the Church.

First, learn as many names as possible. Get a hold of a ward directory and try to memorize every person's name. Pay close attention when you are introduced to new people and remember their names. Then call people by their names. I promise that when you call people by their name they will notice you and make an attempt to learn your name.

Second, smile.

Third, get involved. I have seen the importance of attending and supporting as many activities as my schedule permits.

Even if I cannot see the benefit for myself or don't enjoy the activity, I will go to give my support. - Brett Mangum, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Reach out

As a single member of the Church, I have discovered a couple of ways to enlarge my circle of friends. At each single adult activity or event I attend I include two goals: one, to meet one new person, and two, to get to know one previous acquaintance better.

I will gather my courage and introduce myself to one person I've not met earlier and talk with another to strengthen our friendship. Each person has a story to share about his or her life. Learning and discovering about people, who eventually become friends, is fascinating. Out of these simple goals I have developed many new friendships and been strengthened by stories of how other single members have overcome their challenges.

I have found endless opportunities to offer emotional support, be served by and to give service to my brothers and sisters. - Meri Jo Draper, Denver, Colo.

How to checklist:

Magnify your Church callings, reach out to help others; develop an outward focus.

Be involved, participate in Church events.

Spend time with others; don't wait for them to make first move; learn names.

Don't dwell on what you don't have; have faith in Lord.

Write to us:

Dec. 6 "How to feel and spread the spirit of Christmas when you live alone."

Dec. 13 "How to find strength and be a positive influence when you're the only member in your family."

Dec. 20 "How to make Christ the center of Christmas traditions."

Dec. 27 "How to develop qualities of discipleship."

Jan. 3 "How to gain a deeper spiritual appreciation for the Old Testament."

Jan. 10 "How to better serve those to whom you are assigned as a home teacher or visiting teacher in 1998."

Jan. 17 "How to avoid greed."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to get out of a rut in your career," "How to help yourself or loved one overcome an abusive nature," "How to be prepared to share the gospel and answer questions," "How to build a strong work ethic in children," "How to encourage children and young people to be physically active."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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