No need to be alone when friends are available

Christmas is just around the corner.

For most this means shopping for kiddos, baking for friends and family, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose (OK, maybe not so much here in South Carolina, but you know what I mean).

For some, though, November and December mark two months of loneliness and constant reminders -- whether it be the Publix commercial with families gathered around a table overflowing with turkey and stuffing or the Hallmark special about being with family for Christmas -- that, for whatever reasons, you're far from home and too broke or too busy to get back.

My story, in a nutshell, is similar to many. I grew up on Hilton Head Island but took a hiatus for the adventures of college and volunteer work. When I finally returned and took a full-time job here, I was at a loss on how to meet people. Most of my old friends from high school had moved. And when you're in your 20s, you can't have your mom set up playdates, nor will Little League take you. So how in the world do you make new friends?

What saved me from nights of "Scrubs" reruns and dinners with my parents (both wonderful things, mind you, but in moderation) was an invitation to a campout with a local bible study group called Crave. It wasn't an awkward singles-mingle or an intense discussion of theology, just young adults -- single and married folks in their 20s and 30s -- chatting about the challenges of finding affordable housing in an entry-level career and cooking for one and, of course, "The Office."

These became people I've played Frisbee with, shopped with, taken road trips with and even rent an apartment with. Good friends.

You or someone you know might be dreading the next few months but it doesn't have to be like that. Making friends is tough, but the Barmuda Triangle scene and book clubs aren't your only options.

Check to see if your church has a young adult group and get involved.

If you don't belong to a church or if it doesn't have a young adult group, here are a few options: Crave (the young adult group I referred to) meets at the Pineland Station Starbucks on Hilton Head at 6 p.m. every Sunday. For more information, call Dan Sekavec at 740-504-3416.

Another option is FUSION, a young adult group at Central Church, which meets at the Pineland Station Starbucks at 6 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month. For more information, call Ken Cox at 843-686-5995.

If you're a local college student, Lowcountry Community Church holds College Church at 7 p.m. every other Sunday nigh at the campus center at University of South Carolina Beaufort's Bluffton campus. Check out the College Church at

The book of Sirach says, "A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure" (Sirach 6:14). Friendship starts with meeting people. If you need to meet people, look into these groups. If you know someone you think needs to "get out more," clip this and share it with them.

There are plenty of people out there just like you.