Making Friends in New York City
On To Adventure

Finding Your People: Making Friends in New York City

There’s one thing that I couldn’t pack-up and bring with me New York City. No matter how hard I tried to fit them in my suitcase, it just wouldn’t work. It’s hard to leave behind your favorite thing. Especially when that favorite thing has seen you through your darkest days, been your source of ab-aching laughter, and was a staple of your everyday life for as far back as you can remember. Of course, I’m referring to my friends. No matter how hard I tried, they couldn’t come with me. So, I ventured off to New York without them and I quickly realized making friends as an adult was much harder than I remember. Making friends in New York City is even tougher.

I didn’t know a single person In New York when I arrived. Granted, I didn’t know anyone when I moved to Savannah, GA for Grad School either, but when you’re completing your MA in Cinema Studies, you’re automatically thrown together with “your people.”  New York was different though.

You’d suspect that it’s easy to make friends in New York considering there’s a population of eight million! But it’s not that easy. As many people as you pass on the streets daily, you talk to very few of them. I’m an introvert so dwindle that number down a little further. People in New York move at a fast pace, they don’t have time for a small chat. The only down time New Yorkers have is on the subway.

Making Friends in New York City: Unlikely Approaches

You don’t try to make friends on the subway! Every New Yorker knows subway time is personal time reserved for reading, writing, the occasional nap, or whatever YOU choose to with that time. But it’s YOU time. There’s a reason the majority of subway riders have one of three things: headphones, a book, or sunglasses because they in no way want to seem like they’re approachable for chit chat.

How about at bars? Bars are a great place to meet people! Typically, people that you hook up with once then never want to see again. Unfortunately, bars are another unlikely approach for making friends. Every time I’ve ever been alone at a bar the only people that approached me were looking to make a romantic connection. Not once have I been approached in a bar for friendship. That’s not why people go to bars. The people at bars for friendly purposes are usually surrounded by a group of friends. As an introvert, I would never approach a group of girls I didn’t know and ask to join in their festivities. But maybe that’s just me.

Making Friends in New York City: Work Friends

There’s always work. Work can be a great place to make friends! Granted you work in a large enough office where there are several people around your age. That’s not always the case. I know people who work in offices where they’re the youngest person by twenty years.

This is where I got lucky. I work in an office where there are several people around my age. Naturally, these were the first people to become my friends in New York. And I consider many of them to be among my closest New York friends.

Still, you can’t spend all your time with work friends, you need people outside of the office who aren’t a part of your daily 9-5 routine.

Making Friends in New York City: My Embarrassing Truth

It’s embarrassing to admit that it took me over a year to make friends outside of the office. This didn’t make the first year in New York easy. I was lonely. I missed home in the sense that I missed my friends and family. But I didn’t miss home enough to want to return. That was never even a consideration. I belonged in New York. That was certain. I just needed to find my people. Eventually, I came to a breaking point.

Making Friend in New York City: What Would Google Do

I knew that if I didn’t go out and make friends I’d never survive in New York. It’s not an easy city to be friendless in. While there is so much to do in this city, who wants to make these memories alone with no one to laugh about them with later? Where’s the fun in that?

Eventually, I gave in and turned to the one person I knew could give me the answer of how to find friends in New York City.

That’s right, I googled “How to make friends in New York City?”

This isn’t an easy thing to share, in fact, I can feel my cheeks reddening as I type. But I’m sharing this story because new people move to New York and every other city daily and experience a similar dilemma. Google gave me my answer and I want to share it with others because maybe it’ll spare them some of the loneliness I felt in that first year.

Making Friends In New York City: Go Find Friends

The answer Google provide was a list of websites that were created solely for people like me who were struggling to make friends in New York City. These companies like City Socializer and Meetup, help match you with people who share similar interests and organize group outings. It’s a great model and I’m incredibly thankful for it.

I went with the website that was straight to the point: Go Find Friends. And that’s exactly what I did. I filled out a short profile including where I was from, my interests and a profile picture. From there it gave me a listing of people that I “matched” with.

It felt awkward messaging people at first, trying to force start a friendship. Yet, I was prepared to do whatever was needed to make friends, so I messaged away. Within a week I’d connected with several people and was out on my first blind friend date.

I met up with a group of girls in the Lower East Side for drinks. Once we all cut past the uncomfortable, “I don’t usually make friends like this” chat we had a great time.

Making Friends in New York City: Just Like That It Was Two Years Later

Making Friends in New York City

Nearly two years later, several of those girls I met that first night are my closest friends in New York. They’re the first people I go to with boy troubles, we have slumber parties, late nights, and endless laughter. They have helped make New York my home. I like to think it’s vice versa, as each of them is also a New York transplant. Together we have navigated the city and grown within it.

For a long time, we were so embarrassed to share our origin story that we made up these extravagant tales of how we met. We did this so many times that we eventually got our stories confused. Finally, we let it go and took ownership of our origin story. We’re a group of bad ass women who were determined to do whatever it took to make it in New York City. It just so happens that a website called Go Find Friends brought us together.

Making Friends in New York City

Thank God for that website. Each day I thank my graces for the presence of these fabulous ladies in my life. I encourage anyone out there looking to make new friends see if your city offers similar websites.

I promise once you find your people you’ll appreciate them all the more.

Following a five-year stint in New York City, Ashley is now a Los Angeles transplant. Having grown up in rural Kentucky, Ashley is passionate to share self-care techniques used around the world and hopes to make them accessible to folks in rural communities. Ashley believes in gratitude, personal legends, and doing good. Aside from being a business leader in her professional life, Ashley is a novelist and freelance writer.

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