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7 ways to strengthen your social muscles

It’s easier than you think to strengthen relationships, build confidence, and make new connections with these effective tips.

An illustration of a large group of people in the shape of the number 7.

Whether you’re the life of the party or more of a “I’m just going to read my book over here” type, we all need social contact. And making connections is good for our mental well-being. But did you know it’s good for your heart too?

But maybe you’re unsure about picking up old social routines. Or creating new ones. Think of social skills more like social muscles.

Before you run a marathon, you need to stretch those muscles and build yourself up. Here are some small steps to reclaim your social superpowers.

1. Start with joy

Maybe you love movies, drawing, or books. Take that thing you love and make it public. Watch a movie in a coffee shop (with headphones!).

Read in the library or a senior center. Bring your sketchbook to a local park. You don’t even have to be social. Just practice being out and about.

2. Ease into activities

Not ready for large gatherings yet? Pick one person and choose a day and time every week to connect over cards, breakfast, or a walk. In time, add a second person and a third.

Before long, you might have your own game night, book club or other fun activities to do with friends.

3. Schedule your social time

Always put it on your calendar. Whether it’s phone calls, in-person meetups, texts, video calls. Whatever it is, schedule it now, so you don’t pass it up. Reward yourself for keeping a streak going. Once you get in a groove, your mind and body will come to expect it.

4. Call a free service

You can practice being social without feeling pressured. Have you heard of Coffee Talk? It’s a free service with people ready to talk to you by phone. To try it, call 1-877-238-2322 or visit

A group of happy Devoted Health members smiling and lauging in the park.

5. Pair events with close friendships 

Put a social bent on something you already do. Make a phone call with a friend during a walk. Attend a coffee hour after religious services.

Stop and chat with your neighbors when you're out working in your house or garden. Love to learn new skills? Sign up for a class (online or in-person).

6. Focus on fun indoor activities 

For some, talking to others can often feel forced or uncomfortable. But doing activities for seniors like billiards, woodworking, or cards can feel more genuine and relaxing.

Ask about groups at your library or a senior center near you. Don't see a group you want to join? Consider starting one of your own. 

7. Sign up for a social skills class

Whether online or in-person, you’ll learn new skills while being social. Plus, you’ll likely be in a group of people who understand exactly where you’re coming from.

Do you have suggestions on how you stay social? Send your ideas to

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