How To Make Friends In A New City When You're Missing All Your College BFFs
You know what's hard? Meeting good friends in a new city when you're an adult.
It's not like college, where you meet friends through a sorority or in line for 2 am pizza after a drunken night out. You're no longer in an environment where everyone is looking for friends.
Depending on where you moved, you probably have even less in common with the majority of the people there. At school, everyone is pretty similar because each school admits a certain type of applicant.
But New York City isn't like that. Atlanta isn't like that. Los Angeles definitely isn't like that. On top of just meeting people to watch "The Bachelor" with, how are you supposed to meet good people to build lasting, real friendships with?
During the week, it's easy to get into a solo routine: work, gym, cook (or pick up) dinner and pour yourself a glass of wine while watching the latest episode of "Scandal." But then the weekend comes, and you spend your Saturday morning staring at Instagrams of all your friends from college going to festivals and brunch, you start to think, “What have I gotten myself into? Why did I take this stupid job in this stupid new city where it's so hard to make friends?”
You do this for a few weekends before deciding enough is enough. You suck it up, grab your clutch, call an Uber and head out alone. Here are four tips to take with you:
(Disclaimer: I've lived in Charleston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Columbus and Los Angeles, and all these tips are tested and true.)
1. Embrace your awkwardness.
Even the most awkward situation is still temporary. It's a moment. Maybe it's a night.
It's the first moment of walking into a party where you don't know anyone, or the first song when you're at a concert alone.
Laugh at yourself. Call out the feeling of anxiety that overtakes you. Get a drink and remind yourself that the awkward moment does not define you. Maybe even try to (gasp) embrace it.
2. Be interested in other people.
I'm going to tell you something that should change the way you date, the way you interview and even the way you make friends: People like talking about themselves.
This shouldn't be revolutionary, people. But it should be intentionally implemented in the way you engage with others. Ask genuine questions and practice active listening.
3. Overcommit initially, and cast a wide net.
Only later do you need to figure out who your people are. It's OK if you don't meet your crew right away.
But the wider your net is, the more likely you are to find the people you want to invest in in the long-term. Before my move to Indianapolis, my mom said, “It just takes one person. It's so much easier to meet other people if you have one person to do things with.”
She was totally right. Sometimes, it takes friends to make friends.
4. Initiate, initiate, initiate.
Remember that most of the people you're interacting with already have friends. When I first moved to LA, I would plan events as a way to meet more people.
I would encourage my friends to bring friends, and I would make myself a valuable member of their community. But remember: If you initiate several times and still don't get any traction, move on. Life's too short to waste trying to claw your way into a "you can't sit with us" group.
Don't get discouraged. We've all been there, and we've all become better for it. View this as an opportunity to grow personally, and figure out what you value in your friends.
But once you become the one clogging Instagram with pictures of brunches and music festivals, make sure not to forget how it felt when you were the newbie. Accept others in the same way people accepted you.
This post was originally published on the author's personal blog.