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How to Make Friends Without Smoking Weed: Socializing Without Marijuana

Research shows that maintaining “positive relationships” and protecting “oneself from the influences of negative relationships” is a crucial contributor to continued sobriety (Petterson et al., 2019).[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6410387/ Despite this, meeting new people and making friends as an adult can be difficult. And making friends as an adult who doesn’t use weed, and is sober, might as well feel impossible, especially if you aren’t attending a support or recovery group.

People whose lives haven’t revolved around marijuana may understand that the world is full of possibilities, but that can seem quite alien to a long-term user. Fortunately, with a bit of effort and willingness to step out of your comfort zone, you can easily make friends without weed – it’s not as hard as you might think.

On this page, we will cover some of the common questions about social life that we are asked by those who have recently quit cannabis and set out strategies for socializing and making friends as you move forward without it.

Is It Normal To Lose Friends After Quitting Smoking Marijuana?

It is normal to lose friends after quitting marijuana. If your decision to leave marijuana is sudden, you may spend less time with your friends who are still smoking it. You shouldn’t let this prevent you from making the best decisions for yourself. With time, you will make new friends, and you may be surprised how many existing friends support your decision.

Losing friends can be hard – especially during the early stages of marijuana withdrawal, which can be especially stressful.[2]https://leaveweed.org/marijuana-withdrawal-timeline/ However, if you do find yourself losing friends when you’re not using weed, given all of the new friends you will make, it can help to think of it as a “replacement” for the better, rather than a “loss”.

How To Make Friends Without Weed

Making friends without marijuana as an available social activity can be challenging, especially when you’ve recently quit smoking and most of your friends were also users. Below, we list several strategies for socializing and making new friends after you stop:

1. Make Yourself Available

Put yourself out there to meet people and make friends – if a non-weed-using friend wants to hang out, say “yes”! This can be hard after you’ve just quit weed, and you just want to curl up in a ball in bed, but if you remain locked in your house, people might simply think you want to stay alone.

Two Friends Getting Coffee

2. Connect With People You Already Know

The chances are that you already have a few people in mind who could potentially become good friends. For instance, you could try reaching out to friends and family you had before you started smoking cannabis. You can also consider trying to get to know your sober co-workers or even neighbors.

Research shows that reviving old friendships and connections can be particularly easy and rewarding. While building trust with new people can take time, recapturing trust previously built is something that takes comparatively very little time – and you can talk for hours about what you’ve been up to since the last time you spoke (Levin et al., 2011).[3]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220520957_Dormant_Ties_The_Value_Of_Reconnecting

If you’re a parent, you could reach out to other parents of your children’s classmates. If you’re a student, you could join a study group with others in your classes. If you work, you could consider reconnecting with old colleagues. However, again, at least in your early days without marijuana, we suggest nurturing relationships with those who are not using.

3. Talk To People

While this may be obvious – and you may not feel up to it – just talking to people can be a simple way to make friends as a sober adult.

You can join a hundred clubs, volunteer at a hundred charities, but you won’t make friends if you don’t talk to people – first to get the ball rolling, and much more over time (Hall, 2018).[4]https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0265407518761225

Anytime you talk to someone, you have a chance of making a friend – it could be the person waiting in line with you at the convenience store, someone sitting next to you at the movies or on public transit, or a colleague you have never interacted with. It can take courage to open conversation, but what’s the worst that could happen?

You shouldn’t worry about what to say, but if you can’t think of anything, you may want to consider:

  1. A simple comment about your immediate environment (“Isn’t the weather great today?);
  2. A compliment about something about them (“I love your jacket! Where did you get it?”); or
  3. Simply asking them how their day is going.

It can help to go places that lend themselves to conversation, like a theatre or football game. There, you will have aligned interests to discuss, making conversation less unexpected.

4. Attend Local Meetups

Two Friends Playing Videogames

Those who are more heavily in addiction will often find that they let old hobbies fall to the wayside (Sussman et al., 2011).[5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134413/ But, if you’re no longer using marijuana, you now have a perfect opportunity to revisit old interests – and this is a great way to counter the boredom of early weed sobriety.[6]https://leaveweed.org/bored-without-weed/

An ideal way of making friends is by surrounding yourself with people who have similar interests. You can find people who are into the same things as you on different meetup platforms, such as Meetup.com.[7]https://www.meetup.com/ These groups can range from meditation, debate, discussion, programming, running to more. Some simply have their members meet up just to sit down and write together.

In addition, because people attend meetup groups to enjoy the same things as the others in the group, it’s much easier to start conversations over a common ground that isn’t getting high.

5. Engage In Physical, Cultural, Religious, And Intellectual Activities

Working out is good for you, and so is socializing with friends – why not do both at once? Workout groups and fitness classes can be an excellent way of meeting other people who care about their health and wellness, which you clearly do if you’ve chosen to quit weed.

If you don’t enjoy working out, you may wish to consider cultural or intellectual activities. For example, you could join a book club or visit the local art gallery or museum if you love creativity, whether visual art, writing, or music; you can develop your skills alongside others while connecting with different people.

If you’re religious, this may be a great time to start going back to the mosque, church, temple, or another place of worship. At any of these places, you should find genuine connections that you may have been missing when you were still using – and these connections can help in recovery (Grim & Grim, 2019).[8]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6759672/

6. Try Volunteering

Volunteering Tree

Whether at an animal shelter or promoting a charity or cause that you care about, volunteering is a proven way to make social connections. As an additional bonus, evidence shows it can greatly assist those moving away from substance abuse in sticking to their decisio (Bergrud, 2020).[9]http://dspace.library.uvic.ca/handle/1828/11790

By volunteering, you can learn more about yourself or the cause during volunteerism. Eventually, by working together with others on a project, you can build bonds with people who are passionate about making change in the same way you are.

7. Use The Internet To Your Advantage

Making friends online can be a simple and easy way to enrich your social life, especially if you’re anxious about meeting people in real life.

Whether it be a hobby forum, Facebook, or any other social app, the internet is a pool of potential friends who don’t use weed.

As a starting point, you may wish to join Facebook groups based on your interests and location and use it as a tool to meet potential friends.

It goes without saying but like any scenario when meeting someone online, be safe. We suggest not telling people where you live until after you’ve built a real-life connection, and if you’re meeting someone for the first time, do it in a public space and ensure a friend or family member knows where you’re going to be.

How Does Weed Affect You Socially?

Marijuana is becoming a more socially acceptable drug, like alcohol. For many users, consuming marijuana is central to social life, and they cannot imagine a world without it. However, over time, the effect can be that they need to smoke every weekend, day, concert, or party to get high, relax, and have fun.

While this may work if all of their friends also use weed – it can cause significant damage to their relationships with friends (and even family) that are not users of marijuana. Those who don’t smoke weed often change how they view a weed smoker after they learn of their behavior (for the negative).

Furthermore, heavier users often find themselves retracting from hobbies, events, and activities they once loved. A recent study in mice attributed this withdrawal from social activity to the way THC interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, for the worse (Jimenez-Blasco et al., 2020).[10]https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2470-y

Once use is at a level classified as addiction, smokers can find themselves hiding the amount of weed they use from those around them. The associated secrecy and lies can destroy friendships.

Is It Really Possible To Have Fun Without Smoking Cannabis?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to have fun without marijuana. If the list above didn’t convince you, try thinking about before you ever smoked weed for the first time – did you ever have fun back then? If so, you can have fun now.

There are tons of activities where using marijuana isn’t typically done. Beyond the ones already mentioned, you can go shopping, for walks with friends, running, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and more. You could go see a movie or attend a music festival – all of these activities can be fun without weed. If you can do these activities with good friends, they will be even more enjoyable (Reis et al., 2018).[11]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5597001/

And the more you spend time doing things without weed, as dopamine receptors in your brain begin to adjust, the more you will enjoy these things.

How To Maintain New-Found Friends and Enjoy Weed Free Life?

You aren’t going to enjoy sobriety if you stop smoking only to start gambling, drinking, or gaming to excess. You don’t want to replace one addiction with another. If you’re going to better yourself, enjoy life, and maintain friends without cannabis, you should rise above addictive tendencies and channel that energy into something worth your time.

Once you’ve made a connection after quitting weed using one of the strategies set out in this article or otherwise, continue to be proactive in inviting your new friends to hang out with you. Open yourself up to new activities you may not have tried before. Be someone that can be relied upon.

Over time, you should experience a whole new social scene opening up to you – one with cherished friends who positively influence your life while you do the same for them. And over time – the question of how to make friends and have fun without using marijuana will be just a distant memory.

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The team at LeaveWeed.org is dedicated to offering trusted information about quitting or cutting down on the use of marijuana.

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