When you move to a new city, there are certain things that are relatively easy to reestablish – your preferred grocery store, a cheap-but-reliable dry cleaner, the pharmacy that carries your favorite brands, your local Starbucks (there are four within a four-block radius from me). Less easy to recreate is a social life. Unless you are fortunate enough to be moving to a city where some close friends are already living, you really have to be creative.
Gone are the days when you could simply ask someone if they want to be your friend. Now it’s like dating. You catch eyes across a room, give each other a quick smile, and maybe try to drop a witty line that leads to a longer conversation. But you have to do this all without coming across as creepy or desperate. You have to go for cool and fun. Having lived in the City for three months now, this technique hasn’t quite worked out for me. Not because I get creepy, silly, it’s just that, while the conversation may be interesting and friendly, I never feel compelled to ask for digits. So instead I have focused on other methods, which have yielded great results:
1. Book Club: Love it. We read great books, we actually talk about them, and we meet up at good restaurants for dinner and drinks. It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and they introduce you to new restaurants and locales. I lucked out finding a fantastic group by searching online. Not through Match.com but through the “Reader’s Circle,” a book club networking site. You input your zip code and look through the postings and pick which one matches you best.
2. Sports/Social Groups: While I signed up to play soccer (which is how I met a number of great friends when I moved to DC), the season had already started and the rosters were filled by the time I arrived in September. So, I checked out my local Athleta store to make inquiries and I ended up joining a networking group called the “Urban Girl Squad.” The name may sound cheesy, but the events are not and I have met some really great women. Cupcakes and champagne night, yoga classes, volunteer opportunities, wine tasting, cooking classes and fashion events, just to name a few. Yes, you have to pay for many of the events, but it’s like group-on in the sense that it’s a discounted price and it’s organized specifically for your entertainment. I also looked for groups to join on LinkedIn, which has led to sorority alumni events and membership in the New York Women in Communications.
3. Go on “Blind Dates”: I have had many friends set me up with their friends or friends-of-friends and it’s a great way to meet new people. (Here’s looking at you Meagan!) They have obviously already been vetted if you are being setup by a friend, which means that chances are you are going to like them too! Another alternative is reaching out to friends from college that you may not have seen in a long time. It’s been wonderful reminiscing and catching up on all the things that have changed since we last hung out.
The most important thing is to not worry about the potential for awkwardness because who cares. Chances are that a friendly smile and a quick laugh will quickly ease any hesitation and nervousness. Just be up for anything and be willing to put yourself out there. Just like dating.
See you in the City!