Recently three of my good friends moved to different states (sob), so I’ve been on the hunt for new neighborhood ladies to hang out with. Making friends is no joke! How have you bonded with people in the past? One thing I’ve found that seems to help loosen things up is doing an activity together. Here are a few ideas…
1. Browse a bookstore. What is it about bookstores that slips all the weight off your shoulders? “On the morning I was to be married in New York, I went to a bookstore, as I always did in moments of crisis or bliss,” Adam Gopnik wrote in At the Stranger’s Gate. Browse the aisles, pick up books and read each other lines, and recommend your favorites.
2. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Feel the fresh air on your cheeks and peek into pretty windows.
3. Bake together. My friend Clare and I would make boxed brownies in our twenties and eat them out of the pan. Now I’d try these.
4. Head to Sephora and try on lipsticks.
5. Play a two-person game — say, gin rummy or Boggle. Or channel your inner eighth grader and play MASH or Would You Rather.
6. Go to a museum. You can gaze at one piece for a long time; or you can walk through a museum as if you’re walking through a forest, soaking up the beautiful art while chatting about other things. No pressure! Just what feels right.
7. Run an errand (get a birthday card for their aunt; do a Trader Joe’s run). This kind of thing always feels surprisingly intimate and entertaining.
8. See a comedy show. In New York, UCB’s Sunday evening show is so funny, you’ll cry; Seinfeld performs regularly at the Beacon, and Demetri Martin just started a national tour.
9. Start a two-person book club. Read these hilarious essays, a gripping memoir or beautiful poems, and chat about them. (Or you could do a two-person articles club; be still my heart.)
10. Get moving. I’m the least sporty person on the planet, but I still think it sounds fun to ride bikes or take an exercise class together. Also, Anton and I have been playing a lot of catch recently and I’ve gotten totally into it. It would be great to go a park and play with a friend.
11. Host a sleepover. Read magazines, order pizza and stay up late talking. If you have kids, just bring them. :)
12. Take a day trip, like going apple picking or to the beach off season, when it’s windy and peaceful.
13. Pick a TV series (cough cough, The Bachelorette) and watch together every week. If you’re not in the same place, watch separately and text throughout!
14. Or, maybe best of all, just do nothing. Says my friend Linsey:
“My acquaintance L. and had been trying to find a time to get together. She suggested a certain day, but I was scheduled to do an infusion therapy for an ongoing medical condition. I was surprised when she said, ‘Well, can I come by and keep you company?’ It was so nice. Sitting there at the clinic was the moment we became real friends. When you have an IV in your arm and someone comes to chat with you, it definitely breaks down barriers.”
What about you? What do you like to do with your friends? I’d love to hear…
P.S. Making friends in a new city, and the joy of all-female gatherings.
(Photo of Edna Gardner Whyte in her Cessna 120 after winning the Eleventh Annual All Woman’s International Air Race, Nassau, Bahamas, May 29, 1961. Her student and copilot, Martha Wright, sits to her right.)