|As a New York newcomer, you’ll want to make friends, but this is a tough city to forge new relationships.|
In NYC, a city of 8.4 million, making friends can’t be that tough, now can it? Yes, it can. More than likely, you’ll have no problem meeting people, but believe it or not, making friends in New York City can be almost as difficult as renting an apartment. Yes, really.
For some NYC newbies, a long period of adjustment lingers after arrival while others fit into the big city lifestyle almost immediately. Once you’ve settled in and figured out how to navigate New York via public transit, where the best locations are to hail a taxi, as well as other everyday tasks that come with life in the Big Apple, you’ll want to meet new people and hopefully bond with a few to form long-term, if not lifelong friendships.
Admittedly, it took me a few years to make friends, and I consider myself pretty outgoing. New York is an incredibly busy place, and many people have lived here for decades, so they’ve already established tight circles and aren’t necessarily on the hunt to forge new relationships. You can, however, make new friends in NYC while doing just about anything, provided you’re willing to go the extra mile.
Don’t assume that all potential friends have to be in your age group or have a lot in common with you. The beauty of living in a city like New York is that you can socialize with many different types of people with different interests. I have friends who are 20 years younger and 20 years older than I am. I have a friend who is my age and a single mom, another who is my age and married with a daughter in college, and another in her 20s who is newly married for just a few years. I have straight friends, gay friends, native New Yorker friends and transplant friends. One of my friends is a chef, another a professor, another a managing director, and another an event planner.
Know that you’ll meet many types of people in NYC, and if you don’t dwell on demographics, anyone could end up becoming your new BFF.
|Here I am in Central Park with my friend Heather. We met seven years ago through my first job in NYC.|
Look in obscure places.
Just about any place or activity presents an opportunity to make friends in NYC. A yoga class, a runners’ group, a Central Park walking tour, an art exhibit, a helicopter adventure where you can see New York City like never before –– always keep your friend radar turned on because you never know where a future companion might be hanging out and looking to make friends too.
So you meet someone on a Friday night out at MoMA and end up chatting up a storm, and it turns out you both live in Hell’s Kitchen. Finally, after two hours of commiserating about recent subway delays, you exchange numbers and email addresses. Be the first to call/text/email. There’s no rule. But if you felt a connection, reach out the next day or in a few days. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to connect. Make plans to meet for coffee or grab brunch one weekend.
I struck up a friendship more than six years ago with my friend Amy because I texted first. We had met while she was eating dinner alone in a bar/restaurant and when we started chatting, we realized that we are the same age and grew up about 90 minutes from each other in PA. We don’t see each other as often as I’d like because of our busy schedules, but I consider her one to be of my dearest friends.
|Amy with her kiddos – Andrew and Allie.|
Explore New York on your own.
Get out and enjoy the city and don’t dwell on the fact that you’re flying solo. New York is a city that welcomes singles, as well as couples and you might even meet some new people in the process of having fun. Go to a museum, or dine at ABC Kitchen after browsing the plethora of home furnishings at ABC Carpet & Home. Or, if you’re an avid sports fan, hang out at the Ainsworth for an afternoon and watch the games while mingling. Make a date with your city and get out there and explore. Isn’t that why you moved here to begin with?
Organize a group get-together.
If you’re not comfortable doing a one-on-one get-together, invite several people to meet up at a local bar or coffee shop, or, organize a little soirée in your apartment. Invite a neighbor, a few work friends, and anyone you’ve met recently. A group setting is a great way to break the ice. Tell your guests to bring a friend, which is yet another way to broaden your circle. The more, the merrier.
No need to get fancy, either. A few bottles of wine and some nuts and popcorn for munchies will do the trick. Keep the time limited so it’s not too much of a commitment. If you decide to go for after work, 6 p.m. until 7:30 or 8 p.m. should give you plenty of time. And who knows, you might even bond and head out to dinner afterward.
|I organized a “Friendsgiving” meal last year, but you can do super casual get-together and serve wine and popcorn, or even meet out in a local tavern.|
Use an app.
I’ve yet to use an app to meet someone, but there are myriad options floating around the tech world. You might consider trying Skout, Meetup, Meetme, or Peoplehunt to try and connect digitally, and eventually IRL (in real life!).
Give it time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a New York friendship. New Yorkers tend to be a bit more guarded than other city slickers, but once we’ve let that guard down, we’ll be your friend for life. It could take a few years until you make friends, but the timing is different for everyone depending on your line of work, how many people you come in contact with, as well as how social of a person you are. In time you’ll meet people, and soon have more friends than you can spend time with.
Don’t be afraid of rejection.
Lastly, not taking any action because you’re afraid of getting rejected won’t bring any new friends your way. Take a chance, otherwise, you’ll never know what could’ve been, and you might end up missing out on what would’ve been a lifelong friendship. Even in a city as massive as Gotham, there are plenty of other newcomers looking to meet people too, just like you.
|Even in a city as massive as New York, you’ll find other newcomers looking to strike up conversations, and perhaps friendships.|
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