You’ve always wanted to be there in the fray at the most interesting kinds of group activities. But there’s a problem – you don’t have any A-list friends, and you’re probably not considered cool enough to be at the center of the coolest social activities.

These are the simple steps to take to make that happen.

1. Do cool things.

I don’t care what it is. “Cool” is a pretty subjective term. Learn programming. Rollerskate. Ride horses. Swim. Fly kites. Mix drinks. Swing dance. Build businesses. Fight lions.

Just find something – an Area of Coolness (AoC) that interests you that’s rare and valuable enough to also interest others. If what interests you is not what most people think of as “cool,” find a way to do that thing in a way

2. Do the cool things whether or not people show up.

It might be ironic that I suggest this in an article about how to get invited to do things. But the fact remains that you really have to be into what you are doing for its own sake. The activity will become torture otherwise, and you will waste your time trying to impress other people and lie to yourself.

Solo activities are great opportunities to get to know yourself, to develop skills without distractions, and to meet strangers.

3. Wash, rinse, repeat. Become more interesting.

Make cool solo outings into activities a regular part of your life. Get comfortable trying new things and meeting new people. Become specialized and gain skills that set you apart in one or more areas of coolness.

4. Let the world know that you are doing cool things.

Try not to be annoying, but also don’t be shy to share what you’re doing. If you jumped out a plane once, talk about it. If you started a band, post your music online. If you went hiking, share your photos of the view from up top. This isn’t bragging – it’s finding your people. They’ll comment or message to let you know who they are.

5. Plan cool things and invite others.

Now that you know an Area of Coolness (AoC), start taking leadership initiative to make it accessible to others. Plan a kayaking trip down a river you know well. Invite people to your favorite two-stepping honky-tonk. Host a potluck dinner.

People will be grateful to you for doing the work. And they’ll see you as having even more coolness and authority in your AoC because you can provide value at this level.

6. Continue to do cool things for their own sake.

You have other cool people involved. Great! Just don’t forget the solo motivations that also drive you to get value from the AoC. Keep diving more deeply into your AoC. Use camaraderie to fuel innate interest, but if you find you lack innate interest, move on to another AoC.

Most people don’t realize that people will follow those who know what they’re doing and know what they want to be doing. If you want to get people involved in something, don’t hesitate to do it just because you don’t have a group interested immediately. Commit to doing it, then ask if a group wants to join.

7. Get invited to do cool things

Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Once you have provided value by mastering an AoC and welcoming other people in on it, they will be happy to invite you into their AoC’s. Reciprocity works. You’ll be invited to cocktail hours, wrestling matches, baseball games, pool parties, philosophical conversations, and Sabbath dinners.

Be grateful! Explore these opportunities and enjoy them to the fullest.

8. Continue to plan cool things in return

Oh, you thought your job was done at stage 7, didn’t you? Again, go back to reciprocity. If you are invited to cool things, invite the host back into your AoC again and again. They will in turn connect you to more cool people doing cool things, and your social calendar won’t dry up anytime soon.

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