I’ve moved to a new state twice now.
The first time was six years ago and I had a built-in friends group because I moved for an internship.
Friendships formed naturally because we lived together in dorms for five months.
(That’s how I met my husband!)
The second time was last year and it was a whole different experience.
I didn’t know anyone and my husband wasn’t moving until a few months after me.
I didn’t want to sit home alone every weekend. I wanted to try to make some friends!
The Truth About Joining Meetup Groups
The first thing I did was join a bunch of Meetup groups.
Any Meetup with the title “20-Somethings” or “Twenties Ladies” I joined.
At first, I loved it!
Meetup was a great way to explore the area. I tried out new spots and had a blast.
It was also nice to have standing plans every weekend.
I had plans during the week too with multiple book clubs and happy hours.
I felt busy and I was constantly meeting new people.
Are Meetups A Good Way to Make Friends?
Yes and No.
I had three situations where either I tried to be friends with someone after a Meetup or someone tried to be friends with me after a Meetup.
Only one out of the three situations actually resulted in me making a new friend.
Let’s start with the rejection first.
The Girl Who Never Messaged Me Back
I went to a wine tasting and really hit it off with the organizer of the event.
We played the same obscure sport in college, we were both from the East Coast, and we were around the same age.
I was convinced we were destined to be besties!
At one point in the conversation, she even said they were looking for a roommate in their condo and asked if I would be interested.
Yesss! She seemed into me too!
After the Meetup, I got up the courage to message her through Meetup to see if she wanted to hang out sometime (this is like dating but friend dating.. so awkward).
I’m still stinging over this rejection..LOL.
PS – Follow me on Instagram to see what I’m up to.
The Girl I Never Followed Up With
The second situation was the reverse.
One girl messaged me after we hit it off at a brunch.
I actually didn’t think we made as good of a connection but we chatted and she was really nice. (Again, this is so dating).
She invited me to go rock climbing but I ended up not being able to go.
My husband had just moved to town and we wanted to just chill and explore the area together.
I dropped the ball and didn’t follow up with her!
The Girl I Asked to Coffee
In the third situation, I met a girl at a Meetup that seemed really nice and we have similar interests (since the Meetup was about our shared interest).
I think I friended and then LinkedIn Messaged her after the Meetup because she said where she worked. (Thinking back now, this is really creepy of me!)
We then met for coffee and hung out.
We now hang out every few weeks and have a lot in common.
How to Actually Make Friends at a Meetup
I’ve found that Meetups that organize by interest are much better for making friends.
I stopped going to the generic Twenty-Something Meetups and now only go to ones where I will meet people with the same interests or hobbies.
I also don’t go to as many anymore.
Admittedly, I stopped the rapid fire Meetups once my husband moved to town and my built-in best friend was back.
We still go every once and awhile.
Making Friends Through Craigslist
Believe it or not, I made friends here through Craigslist!
I was selling some gym equipment and the couple who came to buy our weightlifting platform was super nice.
We found out that we had things in common while we were waiting for their brother to come help them move it to the car.
When they were leaving, the wife just put it out there and invited me to go with them to a BBQ that day.
Although I couldn’t go at the time, we ended up meeting for dinner soon after and hit it off.
When my husband moved to town, he liked them too, and we now hang out regularly.
Never would have guessed we would make friends off Craigslist but it makes sense now!
If you are selling or buying hobby equipment, the other person in the sale also has that hobby, and you may have things in common.
Related: How I Made $4,500 Selling Stuff On Craigslist
Making Friends with Coworkers
I actually dropped the ball this summer when one of my coworkers invited me for a pool day.
I totally should have hung out with her because time has passed and we haven’t hung out since.
Overall though, my policy has been to not make friends with coworkers.
And by friends, I mean actual ‘hang out on weekends’ friends not ‘have lunch at work’ or ‘go for a coffee together’ friends.
It’s not because I’m afraid my coworkers will see me drink a beer though.
It’s because I tend to feel worse about my work situation when a coworker validates that the situation isn’t good for them either.
Have you ever experienced that?
For some reason, talking about things that bother us both at work, almost amplifies those feelings for me and makes me feel worse about them.
I think I want to change that this year though, because it would be nice to have a few work friends.
Meeting Friends Online
The couple we hung out with this weekend, we met that time we went to Ecuador with strangers we met online.
I also stayed on a houseboat in San Diego this past Fall with another friend that I met online after emailing her through her blog.
We had only Skyped once prior to meeting but I knew with our shared interests that we would hit it off!
The internet is a great way to make friends.
Reach Out to Old Friends on Facebook
When I first moved here, I searched through my Facebook friends to see if anyone I knew lived in the area.
I actually reached out to a friend I hadn’t talked with since high school.
The first time you message someone out of the blue it feels weird but I’m glad we were able to connect.
Be Open To Friends Of All Ages
I met my husband five years ago when we were both interns at The Olympic Training Center.
We had just started dating when he told me to come down to the dining hall at noon and meet his friends.
I went to the dining hall but I didn’t see his friends! I saw him sitting at a table with a bunch of older guys and I assumed he was at lunch with his boss.
Instead of going right up to him like a normal person, I did a big pivot and sat somewhere else. I didn’t want to interrupt a conversation with his boss!
It turns out that these “old guys” (sorry, 21-year old me here), were actually his friends and I completely blew him off and embarrassed him. His friends now thought he was making it up that I was his girlfriend! Whoops!
I honestly didn’t think that they were his friends though. I had never thought about having friends of a different age group before.
From preschool through college, I only hung around with friends that were around the same age as me.
I since have made friends of all ages and it’s completely enriched my life.
If you only have friends around your own age, you’re totally missing out!
Why I Love Making Friends
I love meeting new people!
While I’m not a total woo girl when you first meet me (it takes me awhile) I am a social butterfly once you get to know me.
I love learning from and talking to people.
I always have room in my life for new friends.
How have you made friends in a new city? Have you tried Meetup?
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DC @ Young Adult Money says
Really solid advice Julie! I’ve lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area so the idea of going to a new city is terrifying. Especially as an introvert, I would find it very difficult to make friends. My wife is extremely extroverted, though, and makes friends wherever she goes. We have seriously considered moving for her to get her PHD.
Erik @ The Mastermind Within says
I’ve never moved to a new city, but feel I should apply these concepts to my current situation.
I’m trying to be more social and get out and meet new friends. I’m on a broomball team, I’m looking to get more involved with different social groups, and I’m always ready to host a game night. I also agree with the concept of hanging out with different age groups. I’m 24, my good work friend is 26, my friend from school is in his early 30’s, my roommates are 25. It’s good so that when you meet other people, you can have a good perspective on life!
This is great Julie! I’ve moved around all my life and have gotten used to making new friends. It’s honestly difficult to try hanging out with someone you recently met without feeling creepy. It’s also outside my comfort zone as I often prefer reading a book by myself over meeting up with strangers, but I suppose it’s good to try new things.
Philipp Stangl says
It is a great blog post about meeting new people everywhere. I appreciate your thoughts. This is so helpful and TRUE! Your observation is right on the mark. Thanks for sharing it with us.