Parents move to the U.S. and bring me along – Check.
Make friends in school and recreation sports – Check.
Move to college and make a few great friends – Check.
Move to 3 different cities & make friends while in my 20’s – Double Check. Easy.
So Why is Making Grownup Friends So Hard when I’ve been doing it for the last 10 years living in unfamiliar places? Well, I had to break it to myself. We were never grownups at all. As the Deadspin article above noted,
“High school and college kids have SHITLOADS of time to sit in each other’s rooms and drink and discover that OMG YOU ALSO HAD A DOG NAMED SKIPPY WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG. SOUL MATES!”
I would venture to say this can still be true to your late 20’s, maybe more. We went to work, made fast spending money, and used it to sit in each other’s apartments or go out and drink and discover that OMG We just spent our hard earned money on a $500 bar tab, WOOO!… No regrets. Right?
So I’m now back to square one as a grownup. Married, no kids, and a chance to reset for the effing future. My mom always told me, “No man is an island.” I’ll be the first to attest to that. Slowly emerging from an encumbering quarter-life crisis, I again realized the dread of MEETING people in this new perspective. GULP.
However, this article isn’t about How to Make New Friends but how to meet the right people. For us at least. Hence Networking, whether for potential friends, resources, clients, or customers, must be re-learned as an adult. These grownup relationships have to develop over time. But how? You need multiple common interactions. So alas, my
8 Easy Tips to Meet New People (as a Grownup)
- Church Ministries – Or your religious-affiliated groups of similar interests. Bernadette has joined the choir at our local church, and we have joined the Young Adult Life Ministry where we’ve met some really cool people. Next up, a ski trip! The best part about it, more ‘friend prospects’ keep joining as I stalk the new adds on the Facebook page.
- Meetup – This is Tinder for adults. You meet through events posted and hope to do more things outside of these Meetups. If you’ve moved to a new city or just want to find people of similar interests, this is a haven. I’ve heard a local in Charlotte say, “I wish I joined this Meetup group 5 years ago, I’ve been missing out.” So it’s not just for the recently moved. We started playing pickup sports, got introduced to the local tech startup scene, and Bernadette has attended various social(ite) activities through here. We even started our own meetup groups: Charlotte Dinner Pot Luck Group – Coed and Frugal Fashionistas. Please join us!
- Yelp – To my surprise, Yelp has grown from a site of purely restaurant reviews, to opinions on any and everything from events to doctors and other service providers. I joined Yelp last summer while Bernadette has been a Yelp Elite for the last two. We have attended both Elite and non-Elite events here in Charlotte, and personally meeting those faces you see giving the middle finger to your favorite local business is always entertaining. Plus, being an Elite member gets you free access to events where you get the red carpet treatment. An easy ice-breaker here is to go up to any person and ask them, “So what’s your favorite *insert random ethnicity* restaurant in town?” These people LOVE giving their opinions right. We just had our first double date with some members recently at an amazing restaurant, of course!
- Social Media – I can also recommend following your favorite local newspaper, magazine, organizations, and even neighborhood (e.g. @SouthEndCLT) on Facebook and/or Twitter. If you’re interested in something, their purpose is to market social events for like-minded individuals. Many events can be attended for free or at a nominal cost. See How we scored a free slow cooker, gloves, and iPad Speakers.
- Sports Leagues – This is a given, but challenge yourself to do something you’re not good at. I joined a bowling league and learned how to spin a house ball every time. Plus our volleyball league is with people from a Meetup group.
- Learn Something New – Enjoy fine wine? Become a sommelier. Want to be on tv? Take acting classes. Bernadette took singing lessons and subsequently joined the choir. Seeing the same people learning the same thing is the key.
- Professional Organizations – Get involved in something outside of work but still work-related. If that doesn’t sound fun, where else can you make grownup friends that might rescue you from the life abyss that you call Work.
- Old friends – Well, if you’ve given up, crawled into a hole, and you can’t meet interesting people, you still have your old friends.. right? Take this opportunity to re-connect with current and former friends, as I’ve been lucky to hang out with some old college roommates that live right in my new city. They’ve even introduced me to their friends. Wait, what? New people? See what I did there.
Disclaimer: Do not expect for people to come up to you at these events.
Put in a little effort to introduce yourself. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people looking to connect. Any person you meet may be a potential friend, confidant, lover, mentor, customer, or perhaps an investor! And if someone comes to you, smile because you may unknowingly end up being one of these to someone else.