A couple weeks ago, on a Cup of Jo link list, a reader named C. left this brave comment:
PORTLAND LADIES! This is for you. I’ve been in PDX for over a year now. I haven’t made a single friend. It’s hard. It sucks. 30s, no kids. I like books, walking and slow running, browsing Target, discussing celebrity gossip at length, and prefer hashbrowns over breakfast potatoes.
Weather permitting (forecast is showing sun! 🤘🏻), my sister & I will be at the top of the stairs at Mt. Tabor next Saturday, January 22nd at 11:30 am (you know right where the loop starts). I’ll be wearing a yellow hat.
Maybe we’ll hit it off, maybe this will be an awkward encounter that will be burned into our memories as ‘the COJ meet-up story.’ Who knows, let’s try it! Anyone who would like to meet and take a stroll with us, please come join :)
As the Saturday approached, I kept thinking about the walk — and, afterward, was dying to know how it went!
So, I reached out to C. , and here’s her recap…
We did it, Jo! 😅 The PDX meet-up was so great. For starters, it was a gorgeous day. There was SUN! Omg, we all needed it. But even better than the weather: 26 of us showed up! Can you believe that?! I’m still shocked not only by the size of the group, but how every single woman had something special about her that would make her such a good friend 🥺
What I appreciated most is that all of us knew how freaking hard it is to make friends. And yet we still had the guts to show up and try! Each of us was facing some sort of challenge: new to the area, working remote, raising children, introverted, starting over, you name it. No wonder we all gravitate toward CoJ; everyone’s looking for a community to call their own.
Some readers might ask how they could do this in their town. Here’s my advice:
Step 1. Impulsively post a comment on CoJ for a park meet-up. Immediately think, “Did I really just do that?!” and close out your browser. (Parks are where it’s at for group gatherings. They’re free. It’s easy to hear people outdoors. Moms can bring their kids. Dogs can come, too! People can easily leave if they need to.)
Step 2. Kick off with a helpful “introduce yourself” game. Try not to say, “That’s so awesome!” after each person’s intro. But it’s okay if you do because none of us remember how to socialize after 24 months of Zooms. Pass your phone around to get everyone’s contact info.
Step 3. Start the walk. Go slowly, keep the path easy, pause for pretty views. But more important, stop at a restroom when you pass one (my sister’s tip!)
Step 4. Afterward, create a group chat on WhatsApp or GroupMe, and ask each attendee to send a short blurb about themselves and a selfie for reference.
Step 5. Reach out to a new friend!
How amazing is that? Thank you for your awesomeness and bravery, C.! Readers, please feel free to suggest some neighborhood walks in the comments, if you’d like!