Finding Friends in the Real World

Finding Friends in the Real World

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Making friends as a kid is easy. As Jerry Seinfeld said, “You like Cherry Soda? I like Cherry Soda! We’ll be best friends!”

In NYC, it’s not all that different, “You like drinking at bars? I like drinking at bars! We’ll be best friends!”

So what are the best ways to make friends as an adult?

School & Work

The natural progression of friendships from school to work makes sense but be careful with this one. You spend a lot of time with these people already and it makes it really tricky to separate work from play.

What has worked for me is becoming close friends with ex-coworkers. We were always friendly at work but didn’t feel the need to hang out since we were together 8 hours a day and could chat on and off. Once you stop seeing that person daily, you may realize that you still want to talk to them. Now that there aren’t any work worries, this usually works out well.

Taking classes after you graduate is another great way to meet people. Whether it’s a continuing education class at a college, a skills class through brooklyn brainery, or an improv class to challenge yourself – you all have something in common.

Buying Friends

Just as fraternities and sororities in college let you buy friends, there are adult organizations that do this too. Adult “sport” leagues are the best example of this. In nyc, the two big ones I know are Zog Sports and NYC Social Sports Club.

Both offer various adult “sport” teams for you to join. This could mean anything from soccer & softball to kickball & bar trivia. Playing the sport is just a cover for meeting new people and drinking. For what it’s worth, you’ll probably get drink discounts at the bar after a game. Another advantage to this for folks new to a city, is it will get you out exploring and seeing new areas.

Do Things You Like

In general, you’re more likely to find people you’ll hit it off with if you’re already doing something you enjoy.

  • Running/Work-Out Classes
  • Church (if that’s your thing)
  • Volunteering
  • Bar Trivia (non-sports group affiliated)
  • Meetup.com
  • Book launches/Album releases/Go to things alone
  • Website Communities


Running/Working-Out

When I lived in NJ, I wanted someone to hold me accountable to my running schedule so I answered a CL ad for a running buddy. I ended up meeting my friend Kim and we immediately hit it off. It helped that we both have a passion for running. It also meant I had a friend to try out new running routes with and to challenge myself to run particular races.

There are also millions of running groups around that take-in all levels of runners if meeting someone one-on-one seems overwhelming to you.

Church

This is not my thing but I’m mentioning it because it did work for my friend Tammy. So for those who are interested, it is not a bad method.

Volunteering

Volunteering not only means you’re helping others but it also brings a lot of like-minded individuals together. By volunteering at a book store, I have met so many amazing volunteers who also love books the way I do. (To want to spend your evening around books just for the fun of it, you have to really like books).

The Bar

This may sound silly but show up to a bar alone (or with 1 friend) 30 mins before trivia is about to start. Then find someone else (or another group of two) and ask if they want to make a trivia team. It may work, it may not, but if it does you won’t have to worry about awkward chatter for a while and you’ll be learning a lot about each other in the process. Plus, it makes for easy conversation after.

Becoming a regular at a bar can also help you to get to know people. If you go to a bar in your neighborhood then you will meet other locals, which is especially helpful if you’re new to the area. Chat with other regulars, get advice about the area, learn new places, and start to feel like less of a stranger in your neighborhood.

Meetup.com

This site allows you to join groups centered around endless types of activities including book clubs, running groups, urban exploring, hiking adventures, rock climbing, singles, dinners, social nights, board games, crafts, etc. You name it, there is a meetup group for it. Although there are more in larger cities, I have been active with several groups in the smaller cities I lived in (in NJ and MI).

Book Launches/Album Releases/Go To Things Alone

It took me a long time to feel comfortable doing things in nyc alone. It still can be scary sometimes but good things can happen too.

I met one of my really good friends Anna at a book launch/comedy show just because we were both there alone. It didn’t mean neither one of us had friends or that we were terrible people. It was just that all our friends were busy that night or weren’t interested in pencil sharpening as much as we were. Bonus: Anna is freaking hilarious on Twitter!

Website Communities

When you frequent a website, forum, blog, or twitter group there comes a time when you want to meet others who share this interest. Most website communities will offer meet-ups in large & small cities. For example Fark, LifeHacker, Metafilter, and Reddit all have a variety of meet-ups all over.

Be Proactive

The main difference between making friends as an adult versus as a child is you have to want to and try to make friends. You can’t just make friends because you’re in the same homeroom now. You have to go out there and find them but, don’t worry, they’re probably looking for friends too.


What ways have worked for you in making friends as an adult or in a new place?

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2 Replies to “Finding Friends in the Real World”

  1. “This may sound silly but show up to a bar alone (or with 1 friend) 30 mins before trivia is about to start. Then find someone else (or another group of two) and ask if they want to make a trivia team. It may work, it may not, but if it does you won’t have to worry about awkward chatter for a while and you’ll be learning a lot about each other in the process. Plus, it makes for easy conversation after.”

    NEVER thought of that! What a great idea.

  2. Thinking about my current circle of friends I’d say the majority of them I met online, on various forums (either mutual interest or professional) or on places like Twitter and FB. One of my best adult friends ever is someone who I met online, and who I wound up meeting in person a year or so after we met online.

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