Making friends as an adult is hard.
It just is.
Growing up, our friends were made mostly out of convenience. Whether they lived down the block, or we saw them all day at school, you could meet your best friend in minutes. But now that we're older, busier, and seek more authentic connections, friendship-building can be challenging - especially if you relocate to a new city.
As someone who has moved to two major cities twice in just four years, I know this feeling all too well. After college, all my good friends scattered across the U.S., so I really had to start from square one. It's true that your vibe attracts your tribe, but sometimes you have to do a little more leg work to find your crew. Here are some suggestions on finding your new tribe.
Friendships are formed for a lot of reasons, but the strongest basis for a friendship is shared interests. Therefore, seek out events where you might meet like-minded individuals. If you're into art, look up local art shows or sign up for a pottery class. If you're into sports, join a competitive club. You're bound to meet someone cool.
There are a few websites that will make finding local events a lot easier. I relied heavily on these sites my first few months in NYC and even now, I check occasionally to catch a cool gathering:
- I Don't Do Clubs - Events with young, black professionals in mind
- Time Out - Super reliable travel guide full of entertainment and culture
- EventBrite - Mostly party-oriented, but you can find some great gems here
There's an App for That
It wouldn't be 2018 if I didn't incorporate the digital world. These days, finding a friend is literally at that tip of your fingertips. Take a trip to the App Store and download the following:
- Meet-up - Even if you have a million friends, this is a great app. When I lived abroad, I joined a group called "N*ggas in Paris" and met some dope black expats and french people. The best thing about the app is the variety. From outdoor excursions to talks on tech, you will certainly connect with like-minded people.
- Bumble BFF - For some of you, this might sound weird, and yes, conceptually it is. But if you can swipe right on a man, you can do the same for a friend. Trying to make friends feels like dating anyway. Might as well use the same apps for it. *Kanye Shrug*
- Skout - The leading global app for meeting new people, this app prides itself on forming connections by serendipitous occasions. Made for solo travelers in mind, it connects you with people in your general vicinity for a quick meet up. Your new friend could be sitting in the same coffee shop as you!
If you're religious and have already found a church home, this is a great place to meet people. But just attending church for a couple hours on Sunday will not do it. Join a ministry, the choir, or attend a day of service. As they say, friends that pray together, stay together!
Don't Discount Your Co-workers
I know we all try to separate work from social life but hear me out. Having the same career path is a strong enough commonality for a potential friendship. Not only will you have someone to vent to about your upcoming project, your boss or that weird colleague you can't stand together, but you can also help each other professionally. Ask them to grab food with you on your lunch break or even after-work cocktails. You never know if a friendship will blossom!
Phone a Friend
Running out of ideas? Get a recommendation! Ask your friends if they know of anyone in your current city. Think of it as a friendship by referral. When I first moved to New York, my college friend suggested I link up with her best friend from high school and now we're like peas and carrots.
Unfortunately, nothing comes easy as an adult, including making friends. No one is going to come knocking at your door asking you to come out and play (if they do, call the police). It's a conscious effort.
Therefore, keep these things in mind:
Friendships, like relationships, take time. You're not going to meet your new bestie overnight. So just understand it may take a few months before the loneliness totally dissipates.
Also akin to relationship advice, just because someone gives you a little attention and invests some time in you, doesn't mean you have to be friends! Make sure you actually enjoy that person's company and they're not just filling a void. I once went on a road trip with a girl I barely liked just because my options were limited. I won't divulge details on the trip but...it was a big mistake.
The expectations you have for a boyfriend should be just as high for a new friend. So aim high.
Be Your Own Friend
As I said in #1, it may take a while for you to find the right tribe. Therefore, embrace the solitude. You're in a new city, so explore it! You don't need a buddy to go to the museum or to check out that restaurant down the street. Get to know your new home from your own perspective.
I promise you, your tribe will come in due time.
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