Relationships

On Making New Friends

On Making New Friends

Have you tried to make new friends recently? It’s terrifying…

When I first came to New York, a year and a half ago, I moved into a tiny apartment with my two best friends from Missouri. We navigated the city together, ghostwrote each other’s romantic text messages, and battled homesickness with bottles of Trader Joe’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Twin Peaks episodes. We pleaded for each other to hang out five minutes longer and finished each other’s sentences before they even started. (You know that exaggerated breath right before someone starts talking? That was all we needed to hear.)

Our lease ended a few months ago. One friend moved back to Missouri. The other got engaged. I rented a studio apartment near my office. Even though I’m an introvert, all of my newfound alone time made me feel like I was “The Only Living (Girl) in New York.” I longed for the company of my old roommates, and the distance of my other hometown friends began to hit me. Those people knew me. They made me laugh until my ribs ached. They even thought I was funny. I already had my people, they were just far away.

But long days came where I just wanted grab a beer with a pal. And there were nights I needed someone to squeeze my shoulder and, with flicker of a smile, say, “My god. You’ll be okay.” So, I challenged myself to find new companions. After some trial and error, here’s what I found worked best:

Just say something.People already have their friends! They don’t want more!‘ I would hear myself think during social gatherings. I had to stop this self-fulfilling prophecy and force myself to walk up to people and say something — anything! Maybe the exchange will be just the run-of-the-mill, awkward small-talk, maybe I’ll meet someone who also has a celebrity crush on Michael Shannon and maybe, just maybe, there could be a long-term connection there. I had to give it a shot — and bribe myself with 90’s sitcom reruns when I got home.

Enjoy the world around you. You can have friendly experiences throughout your day without putting pressure on yourself to meet a soulmate immediately. I made a point to hang out longer at work events, comment on people’s reading choices on the train and engage more with my neighbors. Doing these things wouldn’t necessarily lead me to a best friend, but I started to recognize the community I already had.

Reach out to anyone/everyone. I racked my brain for people I sort of knew in Brooklyn. I emailed past co-workers to invite them to dinner. I met up with old classmates from my hometown who I didn’t know well. I joined friends of friends for hot toddies. I even made coffee dates with local Instagrammers (after all, we had established our commonalities online, like similar career ambitions and the same taste in memes).

Do more stuff. A couple weeks ago, I scheduled social events nine evenings in a row. (I almost died.) But, I realized, in moderation, there is magic to that mindset. It’s impossible to meet new people if you don’t try new things. One night, I attended a party where I only knew the host — something I typically avoided — and had the time of my life. Guests snacked on Baby Ruth candy bars and everyone ended up huddled in a circle telling murder stories from their hometowns. The group collectively murmured, “Noooooo,” anytime the story began to take a turn. It was traumatic and hilarious. To break the tension at the end of every story, one of the guests would say, “And he’s here tonight. [Insert murder’s name here], come on down!” Brooklyn began to feel like home again that night.

Don’t panic at parties. Large social gatherings where I didn’t know many guests used to give me the cold sweats. It’s tricky to insert yourself into conversations (those excruciating minutes smiling at the edge of the circle!) and retreating to your phone in the corner feels like a bummer. But at every event I’ve attended solo, there have been others in my same boat — and that’s who I’ve approached first. We had things to talk about (the party, the host, the food) and if we ended up hitting it off, it was easier to enter larger groups with a sidekick.

Invite people to join your rituals. Certain things I usually do on my own — like Sunday night movies and evening strolls — but I’ve started asking acquaintances to join me, especially if it ties into something we’ve discussed recently. It takes the pressure off their feeling obligated to go and gives the occasion a casual vibe. For example, if we had chatted about how many good movies are playing right now, I would say, “I’m going to see La La Land tonight; if you’re free, you should come!”

Give it time. At first, I put too much pressure on myself when I began new activities with the intention of finding a good friend. I had to chill out and start small. (It’s like that saying about dates: If you shave your legs, you’re less likely to get lucky.) When I think back to when I met my BFFs, I realized I wasn’t initially aware of how much those relationships would later mean to me. But over time, as you share experiences and lean on each other, the bond strengthens. I have to remind myself there isn’t a rush or goal line to friendships. It will grow naturally, if you put in the effort.

Over the holidays, I spent a couple weeks in Missouri; and afterward, like always, it was hard to leave my old friends. Yet for the first time since my move, I was also eager to return to new pals. It finally hit me that no one is ever done making friends. Like Barbra Streisand once sang, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Have you made new friends as an adult? What worked for you?

P.S. Stella’s beauty uniform, and Mindy Kaling’s friendship advice.

  1. I have had to move around a lot in the past few years, so I get the whole having to make new friends as an adult! It was also much easier before kids, for me! (Anyone in the Toronto area?)

    • Sara says...

      Yes – we should definitely start a CofJ Toronto group!

  2. Sayuri says...

    I love the post! It’s not easy too here in Tokyo, I’ve tried to reach coffee stand, bar, bookstore or any events where friendly people gather and have taste I like. Making new friends as a adult is fun, but I feel it a safety net as well.

  3. Laura says...

    This is my 2017 goal! Lady friends! Anyone in Minneapolis????

  4. Carrie says...

    Anyone in Charlotte, NC? I’m a transplant from NYC.

  5. Caitlin says...

    Love this article and the fantastic comments! I totally agree that you can meet great friends anywhere. I walked into a store to return a Christmas Gift. The salesgirl had just moved to Chicago and was so cool. I asked her if we could grab dinner sometime. Fast forward to years later, I was the maid of honor in her wedding!! I wouldn’t have met her if I hadn’t asked her if she wanted to hang out! I also met a dear friend while waiting in line to meet David Sedaris at a book signing. It’s about saying Hello and then following through with a hangout.

    So Hello! Does anyone in Chicago want to meet up for wine or a book club?

  6. Amy says...

    A long shot but anyone in Wollongong? :)

  7. Molly says...

    Anyone in Kansas City?! This can’t be any weirder than online dating :)

  8. Kelley Fountain says...

    It warmed my heart to see this post lead to readers of CoJ reaching out to connect to each other. I just started reading MWF seeking BFF and heard good things about it. All the ideas have made me hopeful!

  9. Stephanie says...

    I’m a little late to this post, but would love to meet more like-minded ladies in Austin! I’ve been here almost 3yrs, but always searching for girlfriends that I have things in common with- being a COJ reader says a alot. Find me on instagram: stephste (Stephanie Sterle)🤗

  10. Sabrina says...

    Hey everyone,

    thank you Stella for this post and thank you to all your posts, advices and comments:)
    I know exactly how you feel and how hard it is to make new friends.
    Since I moved out of my parents place (9 years ago) I lived in 6 different cities where I studied and worked.
    Now finally I arrived in Salzburg, Austria (the 6th city) live here with my boyfriend (he’s not very social:)) and somehow I just feel so tired to make new friends. Although I would love to make new friends but here it seems so difficult. In every city I met so lovely friends who I miss so much..who know me and with whom I can chill out and relaxe so much.

    Your post give me hope and new energy to look out for new friends.

    So anyone here from Salzburg? Just let me know I would love to meet up:)
    Greets Sabrina

  11. Oh man, do I connect with this. Having moved to Reykjavik 9 months ago I’ve found it super tough to find/ woo/ maintain buddies to hang with.

    Before moving here I think I was a tad naive about how easy it would be to grow friendship circles, and as a result it’s been a lonely 9 months without a group of badass babes to chat to (and drink too much wine with!)

    So if you’re reading this from Iceland… (góðan daginn!) let’s get coffee ladies :)

  12. Julie says...

    Anyone in Charlottesville, Virginia want to get a coffee?

  13. I’ve definitely made friends as an adult. I find it pretty easy to do. Everyone has “work friends” or “gym friends” or “school friends” as adults, or people they see occasionally and are acquaintances with, but haven’t hung out with outside of a particular setting. The easiest thing to do is to make the first move and ask that person if they want to go for lunch, or go for a run, or do something outside of work, or school, or wherever you causally see them. Also, my husband and I have invited people who we’re just acquainted with over for dinner or a BBQ, and sure enough, they want to come (who doesn’t love food), and presto – new friends.

  14. fae says...

    now is one of the best times to meet women friends–by becoming an activist! join a cause! find out who is actively resisting trump in your community and meet them. activist friends are the best!

  15. Jake says...

    I always find that the best way to meet new friends is to use google or Meetup to find a group that does something you’re interested in – creative writing, ultimate Frisbee, service projects, etc – and start going regularly. The choice of activity makes it a little more likely that there will be other people of your “tribe” there, and working together with other people on something gives you a built in topic of conversation so you can get a feel for their personalities without the pressure of coming up with things to talk about. You might have to try a couple of different groups, but sooner or later you’ll find one that will mostly be your kind of people. Just remember, if they ask if you want to go get something to eat or drink after the meeting, just GO! It means they like you and want to get to know you better! But they probably won’t ask twice.

  16. Kelsey says...

    So happy to come across this article today-just what I needed. I moved to NYC over a year ago but have struggled to find the “nest” of friends I have so enjoyed in other phases of my life. Would love to make some Cup of Jo friends in the city. If anyone want to grab drinks/try a workout class/take a walk, let me know!

  17. Meghan says...

    This is probably too late, but any readers in Fort Worth, TX??

    • Jen says...

      I’m looking for readers in Houston, TX!

  18. Smiling at the edge of the circle sounds familiar haha! This is so immensely helpful thanks:)

  19. Bezen says...

    I love this post:) Anyone interested in a meetup in northern NJ? It is very hard for me to come to the city for the events, too much precious time lost on the bus

    • Julianne says...

      Hi! I’m in central NJ!

  20. Erica says...

    Anyone from Tuscany??

  21. I needed this article. Right now I’m in therapy trying to reach outside my comfort zone through meetups. I always bring my camera as a coping mechanism in new places. I’ve also learned to love my alone time as a time to think about new art making and I’ve taken to reading again to have things to make small talk about. I’m from rural Kansas and I know these feelings too well.

  22. Emily says...

    This past fall I moved from Vermont, where I was surrounded by extended family and college friends to graduate school in Waco, Texas, where I don’t know a soul. I have struggled to get to know my new area without friends by my side to explore new haunts and often resort to Netflix on my couch on weeknights and weekends. It is definitely time for me to break out of my comfort zone! Thank you Stella for giving me a nice shove over the edge. :)

  23. Sierra says...

    Anyone in Bend, Oregon?

  24. I love this post! I left my job as an attorney to start my own wellness business, and it’s felt like in shedding my job, I also shed a lot of toxic people/things in my life. Overall, that’s a good thing! But it makes you realize that you need some positive replacements, too. I think you gave great tips for finding new friends as an adult. I think it’s very similar to dating, actually. You can’t just sit at home and expect Prince Charming to knock on your door one night. You’ll probably meet him/her doing something you love, trying something new, or through other people – so your tips are all spot on. Thanks for sharing!

    http://hyggewellness.com/blog

  25. Teresa says...

    I recently moved to Denver from NYC and miss my gfs back home like crazy! As friendly as everyone is here, it’s still hard to get to the point of having girlfriends who can come over to bum on the couch on a Wednesday night. If anyone wants to grab coffee or a drink in Denver, let me know :) jademarine28@gmail.com

  26. Hannah says...

    Why are these posts always so timely?? A new friend asked me to go see La La Land with her tonight and I was thinking of excuses to get out of it, but then I read this. The example about La La Land seemed like a sign, so I said I’d go haha.

    If anybody wants to get coffee in Salt Lake City, let me know! I promise I won’t try to get out of it :)

  27. Laura says...

    I started to just grab a solo drink at one of my neighborhood bars in Atlanta (which initially took a pre-gaming drink, because going out alone wasn’t something you did in the small southern cities I’ve lived in). Chatting up the bar tenders made it easy to go grab a drink after work, because there was a friendly face, and before I knew it, all of the faces were familiar and friendly, and I’ve made a lot of very good friends. We typically have the 30 something singleness in common, but come from different ethnic, economic/career backgrounds, and have different hobbies and interests, which has added so much to my life. It also gave me the courage to travel alone, checking London and Belize off my list in the last month.

  28. Caroline says...

    love this post. so much wisdom on friendship and putting in the effort to meet new people. :)

  29. Anna says...

    Hey! Great article, Stella, and power to your friends-gathering exercise! I just searched through the comments in case there were any others in Geneva, Switzerland… but sadly no (or not that’s commented, anyway). I love the idea of meeting other CoJ readers, and I love that you’re planning on setting up some official groups, although I guess you might be concentrating on a few cities where there seemed to be the most traction. Realistically, that probably isn’t here (although who knows, in a city full of expats…).

    • I’m in Geneva ;) My email is tisa.sencur@gmail.com, write me if you wanna meet for coffee or tea!

  30. Andrea says...

    I’ve been living in the Netherlands for over a year and making friends has been the most difficult thing about starting over in a new country. Coming from a warm and super friendly Latin american country, has only made it harder! Sometimes I feel I overwhelm people with my overly friendly and warm personality. My dutch boyfriend keeps reminding me that friendships take time, and that in this country, even making acquaintances can take a big effort. My expectations have been lowered and I hope 2017 leaves me with at least one girlfriend!

    • Hi Andrea, I recently moved from New York (Norwegian by birth tho) to Amsterdam and know very few people. Lemme know if you would like to grab a beer or something :)

      Same to anyone else who is in the city/country.

  31. Ruby says...

    Really loved reading this article and all the comments! It feels good to know that so many women are in my position and the struggle to make friends as adults is real!! I moved recently to South Bay Area, California – near Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View. Anyone here want to meet up for a coffee?

    • Jenna says...

      Hi Ruby!
      I live in Palo Alto! It would be great to grab a cup of coffee :)

      My email is Jennalose@gmail.com. Shoot me an email and we can schedule something!

      Yay friends!

    • Allison says...

      If you ladies ever want a trip to the city I’m in San Francisco!
      Alliehampel@gmail.com

    • Bela says...

      Hi Ruby and Jenna and Allison! I’d love to meet up! My husband, 9mo old baby and I currently live in Oakland (I work @ Stanford) but we’ll be moving closer to PA by April.

    • Virginia says...

      Hi ladies,

      Also in SF, if anyone wants to meet up shoot me an email :)

  32. Anyone interested in meeting in Perth? :)

  33. Anyone interested in a Perth meet? :) Moved here about a month back, and I agree with everyone here. So tough to make friends in your 30s!

  34. May says...

    Just putting it out there – Canberra Australia anyone?

    • Amy says...

      I’m from Canberra but now in Wollongong- my best lady crew are still in the Berra though if you want me to put you in touch :) Amy.h.vos@gmail.com

  35. Ann says...

    It’s always been easy for me to make friends. I was the kid that would walk up to you, ask you your name, start a conversation and then invite you to play. It’s not much different as an adult (swings have been swapped out for coffee).

  36. Meryl says...

    I recently moved to Brooklyn to follow my boyfriend / a new work opportunity, and I’m totally in the same boat! His friends are all super nice, but still feel like his friends and not *my* friends. One of my goals for the new year is to start a cookbook club so I can try to make some friends that are all my own (while getting to eat delicious food!). We should get coffee sometime! I mean, uh, you probably already have enough new friends, but just in case…email me! :) meryl.e.arnold at gmail!

  37. Cindy says...

    Thank you for this post! It’s so timely for me. I moved into a new city in July and one of my new year’s resolutions is to meet more people and make friends. These suggestions are all great!

  38. Carrie says...

    this article is great. i am an extrovert but have found it very hard to make friends after moving to charlotte from nyc 15 months ago. being 40 without kids in the south is not the norm… i miss my people in nyc everyday but this year i am making it a priority to meet new friends here.

    maybe i will start a wine/book club…

  39. Julie says...

    i lived in Omaha for two years and struggled making friends. On a whim one Saturday night, I responded to a craigslist platonic ad from a women who had dogs (love dogs), did yoga (me too!), and liked clean eating (I’m in). We hit it off and almost four years later we live across the country from each other and we’re still friends. We’ve done a cross country road trip and are planning to go to Scotland this year, Making friends is hard, but when you meet a good one, it’s so worth it.

  40. wow this is such a great article at the right time for me! I feel like lately I need to expand my circles of friends, I realized a lot of my ‘friends’ aren’t really friends but rather my friend friends and I just tag a long in the group…. I definitely will follow these :)

  41. Liz says...

    Great article Stella! This spoke to me as I just moved to Zurich, Switzerland. I thought it would be a breeze to adapt to life here after conquering life in Los Angeles, but it’s so much harder! Maybe it’s the age difference, moving to a new city/culture in you 20’s vs moving in your 30’s but at any age one must have patience and willing to try new activities to make new friends. Thanks for this article and the “pep talk” I needed! All the best, xo

  42. this article is everything. moved to LA a couple years ago and thankfully I have a best friend/boyfriend who is my other half…but the rest of my friends are scattered across the country. Its so hard to make friends in LA, especially because I work in such a small office. I’ve slowly met people through my boyfriend’s friends but still struggling! really gonna force myself to be more social this year

    http://www.paigesofnothing.com/2016/12/less-is-more-2017.html

    • Kayleen says...

      Hi Paige,
      I also live in the L.A. area and moved down here from up North awhile back. Similar to you, I have become friends with my boyfriend’s friends and have a good core group from work as well. If you ever want to meet up for coffee or a chat, let me know!

  43. I have always had trouble making friends. Being an adult only makes it harder. I really like this post and all your tips.

    Cat // https://fromgirlc.wordpress.com

  44. Ellen says...

    This article captures so much that I’ve been feeling. I moved to Scotland a few months ago and it’s certainly been difficult to meet individual people or find new groups.

    I had one spot of luck when I was house hunting – didn’t get the flat but I did end up going on a friend date with a girl who loves there, and we now hang out together. Small steps!

    If anyone’s in
    Edinburgh or nearby in Scotland, I’d love to hear from you; I’m ellenfm9 on Insta.
    Thanks for the post Stella!

  45. sam says...

    thank you for this post! i recently moved to LA and although my boyfriends friends have girlfriends, i’m still eager to meet my own friends. this encouraged me to reach out and try some new things! thank you, from one introvert to the other :)

  46. Emme says...

    THANK YOU

    I just had a conversation with my hometown best friend about how hard it is to make new friends. I recently moved to San Diego from Michigan for my first job and it’s nice to know that there are so many people in the same boat as I am.

    Also- you inspired me to grow out my eyebrows. Fingers crossed that it’s
    worth the wait and slight embarrassment haha

  47. Balsam says...

    I love this! I moved to a new place for school about a year ago and I’m still finding myself lovely with nothing to do on the weekends..I’m going to print this and read it as a daily reminder of the little steps I could be taking! <3

  48. Alla says...

    Anyone interested in meeting up in Melbourne, Australia? I would LOVE to make some new friends as my friendship circle has gone in different directions and finding myself yearning to meet new people.
    Any apps or suggestions on meeting people in my hometown would be greatly appreciated!

    Jo, I am a first time commenter, yet I have been reading your blog for years, and I just want to thank you sooo much for your articles. I really look forward to them and I learn something new every time I read them.
    Love from Melbourne, Australia xx

    • Hi Alla. I’m in Melbourne and we just started a project where musicians donate tickets to their gigs and we use them to take mixed groups of new arrivals to Melbourne and people already in Melbourne that want to meet new people and help new people settle in. @musicwithmates on instagram. There’s also a great initiative called the Welcome Dinner Project, you register to attend or host a pot luck dinner and the project arrange for a mix of new migrants and established australians that live in the same area to come along. I went to a Welcome Dinner Project dinner a few months ago and met some really great people, plus it was a really lovely night because everyone wanted to be there and wanted to meet new people

    • Cass says...

      Fellow Melbournian here! Great suggestions Christine, I’m following @musicwithmates now and love the sound of the Welcome Dinner Project. I volunteer with a women’s health organisation visiting new arrivals in the southeast and this sounds like a more low key version of that. Will definitely look into it.

      I grew up here but recently moved to the outer bayside ‘burbs and sometimes feel like I’ve moved to a new city altogether(!) There’s something about having friends close by who you call for a wine on a whim, rather than having to book them days/weeks in advance…

    • Hi Cass – I’m on your side of town and have a friend that is a Cup of Jo reader that lives in Sandringham. Should we try to set up a Cup of Jo Article club here?

      Hi Alla – want to join in? You can pm me through my fb or instagra

      x

    • Cass says...

      Sounds good – I’m in Mordi! I sent you a DM on Insta but I have a private account so let me know if it doesn’t turn up.

    • Marley Berger says...

      Hi Alla :)

      I’m also in Melbourne and looking to make new friends! Would love to connect with you :) I’m also a long time reader of Jo’s blog – just love it!

      x Marley

    • Cassy says...

      Hi Marley and Alla

      Christine is looking at organising a Melbourne catch up – you can message her on Instagram via @musicwithmates to stay in the loop. Or email me at cassysaid@gmail.com and I’ll pass on any info as it comes to hand :)

    • Alla says...

      Hi Marley:
      Thanks so much for your reply. Drop me a message on Instagram @isabelleliveshere and maybe we can organise to meet up? How awesome was this article connecting people who want to connect :)

    • Hi everyone. The inaugural Cup of Jo article club in Melbourne is confirmed for next Thursday the 19th of January at 7:30pm at Hampton Wine Company, 444 Hampton Road, Hampton. I have booked a table under the name of Cup of Jo. Please send an instagram message to @musicwithmates if you plan to come along. If this is the wrong side of town for you please let me know as we can make it more central. See you all then!

    • Amy says...

      Just wanted to say all you Melbournians sound awesome and I wish I had just moved to Melbourne rather than Wollongong so I could get in on the Melbs CoJ
      meet up!

  49. hallie says...

    Stella! I was so inspired by this post that I texted a girl I met at my friend’s birthday party last month. We ended up meeting up last night to go to a concert in Bed Stuy and chatting until midnight! Thanks for the pump up (blog post) pep talk :)

  50. Amanda says...

    I’m bookmarking this post – next week, my husband and I are moving to a new city and I’m NERVOUS about making friends. I’ve made some new friends in the past year, so this post got me thinking about how… one thing that I think has worked well for me – as simple as it sounds! – is to connect via social media. When I hit it off with a friend of a friend or someone I keep running into at work functions, I say, “Hey, are we Facebook friends? Do I follow you on Instagram?” Then, next time I see them, it’s so much easier to strike up a conversation – “I saw you got to hang out with your cute niece last weekend, how old is she?” “Hey, I noticed that we’re both friends with (whoever), how did you meet?” “How do you hear about so many cool concerts? You have great taste in music!” Etc.

  51. Natalie says...

    Bookmarking this for later this year. My husband and I are planning to move out of state (maybe Austin, maybe Seattle) and even though it was my idea to go somewhere we’ve never been and don’t know a single person, and I AM excited about it, I’m a teeny bit nervous about making friends. These are great ideas!!

    • Riley McCormick says...

      Come to Seattle! I’ll be your friend :)

    • Caitlin says...

      Let’s hang out if you move to Austin! My Instagram is caitlinrfoster. Good luck!!

  52. Kristen says...

    I moved from North Carolina to Chicago for grad school in 2012. 3 months later I started improv classes and the friends I made there have become some of the best friends I’ve had in my life. I made good friends in grad school but the people I found through improv have impacted me so much more that I ever could have imagined! I have also taken dance classes and aerial acrobatics classes which have wellness benefits even if you don’t make friends.

  53. Caitlin says...

    I love everything you have said here, Stella! I moved to Boston 5 years ago because my bf got into grad school and it was such a struggle for me to make friends. He was meeting new people every day in classes, but I barely met anyone new between work and home. A couple years ago, we were invited to one of his classmate’s Halloween parties and I did exactly what you recommended – just said SOMETHING to SOMEONE and it turned out that the girl I met was also recently relocated to Boston and looking for friends. It’s been over 2 years since, and we’ve grown to be really close friends and I couldn’t imagine my life here without her.

    PS-if you like hearing murder stories, you should check out the My Favorite Murder podcast – it’s great!!

  54. Cazmina says...

    Yep, I feel ya!
    I moved to a new country 2 years ago and it’s been a bit tough. The local culture is one of tight and closed-off friendship groups that are impossible to penetrate. So most of my friends are expats, which is wonderful but also a bummer when they (inevitably) leave.
    My tips would be:
    1. Say yes to every invitation, even if you’re not that fond of the people who invited you; maybe you’ll meet some other nice people at the event.
    2. Don’t be afraid to initiate. I’m still working on this – sometimes that mean, critical voice in our heads convinces us that the person doesn’t really like us and only said yes to be polite, even though we know they would just say no if they really didn’t want to hang out.
    3. Be ok with being alone. Spending a Saturday night alone doesn’t make you a loser. Being comfortable with your own company is important.

    • Helen says...

      Great advice, Cazmina! #3 is what I’m working on. I tell myself that I’m not a loser for not having plans on a Saturday night but I still feel bad about it. Goal for 2017 – be ok with being comfortable while alone.

  55. This is a great list, Stella! Might test some of it out:) I moved around a lot and landed in NYC from Singapore a couple years ago. Probably won’t stay here for long and then off to look for new friends again! ;)
    It is so challenging to suss out ‘your people’ when you are a new kid on the block. I find that it’s easier for me to make friends when I keep in mind that each ‘new person’ doesn’t need to be your BFF right away or stay a friend forever and ever. Sometimes, it is fine just to have someone you connect with, to chat to over coffee, go for a run with or share kids advice. And that’s fine too!

  56. Tamar says...

    Thank you for this. It’s very encouraging to know that basically, we’re all pretty much the same and all craving more connection!

    I’m in my mid-30s now (in Toronto!)and have found that a lot of my newer friends are actually my partners. They’re all lovely (truly!) but they’re not “mine” if that makes sense.

    Many people I know have also recently drifted to the suburbs and had babies – which is ok for planned dates but I find I rarely see them!

    My goal this year is to find more people I can just grab a quick coffee or a beer with all on my own!

  57. Diane says...

    I moved away from my established social network when I was 30 and this piece resonated with me. It’s tough and you do have to work at it. One thing I would add is that the older you get the harder it is to make new friends because people get married, have families, start doing things with neighborhood people or parents of their kids friends. It’s important to nurture the friendships you already have while trying to build new ones. But you should always be open to new friendships as they could wind up being some of the best.

  58. This was a lovely article, and additionally one of my favorite comment threads! I live in Manhattan, and am by nature very independent and fairly introverted. I’m 33, single and childless, and I feel like all of my friends have married, had babies, moved away, and are at different life stages than me. I love to see them, but it’s a somewhat rare, planned occasion so the rest of the time it can get a bit lonely. I find it hard too to push myself to go to parties where it’s all couples and to go to events alone.
    Anyone in a similar boat and want to start a CoJ book club? The book clubs I’ve been part of in the past have been awesome and a great way to meet like-minded new friends- I love bonding over books and I feel like the CoJ community might agree.

    • Megan says...

      I’d be interested! Also, in my old town we did a wine club. We realized we spent more time drinking wine than on the books sometimes so each month we’d have a different wine theme. The host would provide snacks and then everyone else would bring wine by the theme (I.e. Chilean wines, or anything with bubbles, etc). It was a fun way to do wine tasting and learn new wines!

    • Megan a wine club sounds like SO much fun and a great way to make use out of my mini wine fridge (a great Hanukkah present…)

    • I should add – for any NYC book/wine etc club ideas, I am at @wanderinglaur on Instagram

    • Jessica says...

      Hi Lauren!

      I recently moved to NYC and would love to meet/be included in this CoJ book club! :)

      -Jessica

    • Lauren says...

      Email me and I will add you to the group, Jessica! wanderinglaur@gmail.com. yay.

    • Kelsey says...

      Hi Lauren,
      I also just sent you an email–would love to meet some book/wine-loving ladies :)

  59. Lindsey says...

    This was absolutely me three years ago when I moved back to Denver and a Meetup group absolutely saved my (social) life. It’s called The Nerdy 30’s, which immediately told me I’d found not only my age group but also my people. We all identify as some level of dork and fall at various points along the introvert spectrum. It’s generally hard for our specific brand to find each other, and putting it right out there resonated with so many people. Our events range from small dinner parties to book clubs to afternoon hikes to museum adventures to crafting parties, etc. If I ever have to move again, I’m starting a new chapter because it has given some of the greatest lady friends I could have asked for.

    • TT says...

      I’m in Denver too and looking up this group right now! Sounds right up my alley!

    • Lindsey says...

      You definitely should! Right now a lot of the events are a little farther south, but we’re trying to do more downtown.

    • Emily says...

      I’m in Denver and in my 40’s, but I have a girlfriend I am sharing this with who I think will fit right in. So glad you commented today Lindsey!

  60. Louise says...

    I love this, thank you. I haven’t moved to a new city recently, but a lot of my close friends have moved away for work, and a couple of them are in new relationships. I’m so proud of all of them and happy for them but it was weird having to reevaluate my friendships in what has always been my home city! I’ve found that being constantly busy, like you suggested, has really helped – I joined a netball team and a dance class and it’s been awesome. So glad I’m not the only one feeling this way!

  61. Jill says...

    I definitely have this problem. And it is very hard in L.A. to meet quality people. I wish there was an eHarmony or Match for friends. When my daughter was little I had built in friends to hang out with at the park, with our kids. She’s 12, I rarely get to know parents of her friends, everyone is busy and at this age friends come and go. I am not working right now, so my husbands friends seem like they are my only friends. Anyone want to get coffee or go for an exercise walk in West Los Angeles?

    • Katie says...

      You can use the app Bumble to find friends!

  62. This is so great! As I get older, I find that connecting over a shared interest is the best way to meet new people. Whether it’s our kids’ activities or essential oils (my new passion!), having a “third point” elevates the relationship beyond the “so, do you have any siblings?” level.

  63. Susana Silva says...

    Stella, I totally get you…you know this is exactly what has kept me from leaving my hometown, my comfort zone, because I feel that if I move to another country I will always feel like a foreigner…
    I get a lot of disappointments with new friends, because I enjoy relaxed people who are with you just because the opportunity arises and there is absolutely no stress on who is calling to schedule. Nevertheless I love meeting new people and giving myself to new people, this is how I’ve met my actual best friends…people can be the worst and the best in your life, you just have to keep looking and attach to those who really make you feel authentic…
    So I guess you are on the right track…
    Anyway if you decide to come to Portugal on a solo or friend’s trip, I would be delighted to meet you and to take you around. I live in the south by the beach…Portugal is a really beatiful and peaceful country. I’m sure you would enjoy it very much.
    Xoxo.

  64. Meghan says...

    I just met a bunch of new friends in a monthly book club a neighbor created through Nextdoor, the neighborhood social media site. The first club had a variety of ladies from the ‘hood, and the second club had already thinned down to people who “clicked” a little more. What’s better than meeting friends who live right in your neighborhood?! And also, there’s wine. Find your neighborhood on Nextdoor and start up a monthly book (or article or podcast) club. We rotate hosts and meet on the second Thursday of the month.

  65. TT says...

    Making new friends is so hard. My bff of 10 years and I broke up last July and even though it’s good we parted ways, it still sucks and I haven’t found my soulmate who knows me so well. I have a good group of ladies, but most of us have kids and several of them have their people so I feel like an afterthought sometimes. I keep meaning to join like a meetup group or something but most nights I just want to go to sleep at 9:15 lol! One good thing that I found worked was to reach out to a group of local moms interested in similar activities. Only one mom ended up joining me, but she and I spent the summer hiking with our babies and our friendship has extended in to the fall and we just had our first “family” date. Sounds like you’re doing all the right things to find your tribe, putting oneself out there is so hard, so good on ya!

  66. SG says...

    I find making friends as an adult sooo hard. I love your advice but as a SAHM to two kids plus one on the way — ugh it’s hard. I think the key for me is to let go of assumptions about people and the assumptions I assume people make about me. Still, I haven’t made a good new friend in years.

  67. Marlene says...

    This post definitely hit home for me. After many years living in a beautiful Caribbean country, I’m back stateside (for the time being,) and have been having the worst time adjusting to this country and all that comes with it. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. Looking forward to attending an (East Coast) COJ meetup!

  68. Margie says...

    I’m so impressed by all the connections already being made by this article!

    As you’re thinking about cities to have official Cup of Jo groups, please add London to the list – I’m also more than happy to help.

    As a US expat in London, I tended to meet and befriend other expats from various countries, but once individuals invariably move away the group becomes more and more difficult to replenish!

    I’m a ‘sampler’ with ‘compartmentalizer’ tendencies, according to this article (https://qz.com/819754/ivy-league-research-says-there-are-three-types-of-social-friendships-people-make/) so the group wasn’t really a group, nor was it overpopulated, to begin with :)

    • LB says...

      I second a London group! I’m also an American here and I know what you mean about expat friends coming and going…

    • I’m an hour outside of London, but just wanted to wave to the Expat group of readers!

    • Louise says...

      I’m a Brit living in London and I’m not moving away anytime soon. I’m always up for meeting new people so would be happy to meet up!

    • Margie says...

      LB, Rachel, Louise – I know CoJ said they’re in the process of forming official groups in various cities, but if you’re interested I could set something up sooner? This post has come at a good time – kicking things off in January is my thing right now.

    • JL says...

      Even with school friends and some family in town, this Washington native is finding London hard to navigate socially. Would love to meet for a tea/coff and get to know you, fellow readers! x

  69. Great article!
    I was already a few times new in a city . Sometimes it takes time until you find “your” kind of people to hang out. What helped me was also getting out of my comfort zone and trying out new activities.

  70. Hannah says...

    I moved from Atlanta to Greenville, South Carolina three years ago knowing NO ONE so I feel your pain! I had so many nights I would go home and long for a friend to hang out with. I met friends through work eventually but I will always remember those nights because I force myself now to be an inviter.
    I read MWF Seeks BFF last year and was blown away by it! From there on our, every person I met was a potential friend – I’d figure out some way to invite them somewhere. I too would often say “she has enough friends” and not say anything but then I think about what she doesn’t have – she doesn’t have me as a friend.
    We all bring different things to the friendship table – I’m the type to make a big deal out of birthdays, try out a new recipe and invite you over, send you an occasional handwritten card via snail mail because I always fall prey to the cute stamps at the post office.
    And just like I need the fun, going-out, always down for a concert friend in my life – there’s someone that needs my style of friend.

    • Brooke says...

      Hannah…I read the same book a few years back and it totally changed my outlook on friendships. It really made me take a look at every outing as a new chance to make a friend. I’ve definitely added some new friends to the mix in the last few years by following along with her advice!

  71. Njeri says...

    Loved this Article! I’m here for the Nairobi meet up:)

  72. Oh my goodness, this post absolutely sang to me! I live in Belfast in Northern Ireland and although my hometown where all my friends live is only an hour away, I still feel pretty isolated sometimes. I have lived abroad for a few years and so I still feel very new to the city and shy about meeting new friends – I thought I was too old or something to meet new girlfriends! I recently joked that I wished there was Tinder for new pals because I find it so hard to put myself out there so this post has boosted me at such the perfect time :)

    If by the small chance that there are any CoJ readers from Belfast, please reach out to me and we can be introverted new buddies! Would love this to be one of the ways I meet new and very cool people!

  73. I think that making new friends when we are in our 20s and above can be really challenging, especially when we move to a new city or country because like you said, we assume everyone already has their friend groups, and while this is generally true, it’s still possible to break into an already established group and become friends with these new people or even just become solid friends with one person from a larger group. In addition to that, we tend to change every good few years and so do some of our friendships in turn, so this is clearly happening to those around us too and we might meet someone at a turning point in their lives that may become life-long friends.

    Your tips are definitely insightful – I particularly like the idea of inviting people to join in on tasks usually done solo. I also loved the story about that dinner party that turned into a giant pow-wow about crime – totally my kind of party. And lastly, yes – putting pressure on yourself never helps the situation and only makes it worse so cutting yourself some slack while trying to make new friends in a big bad new place is super integral to long-term happiness and overall success in a new place.

    Rae | Love from Berlin

  74. Christine says...

    Anyone in Melbourne, Australia? I just started a new not-for-profit project where we take new people to Melbourne along to a series of music events (gigs, festivals, concerts) for free in small groups. Our aim is for everyone to have a great night, enjoy some music and make new friends. Come along! https://www.facebook.com/musicwithmates/ and insta @musicwithmates

    • Cass says...

      Hi Christine, I just replied to your other post above – fellow Melbournian here! I’ve just started following @musicwithmates and love the sound of the Welcome Dinner Project. I volunteer with a women’s health organisation visiting new arrivals in the southeast and this sounds like a more low key version of that. Will definitely look into it.

      I grew up here but recently moved to the outer bayside ‘burbs and sometimes feel like I’ve moved to a new city altogether(!) There’s something about having friends close by who you call for a wine on a whim, rather than having to book them days/weeks in advance…