A Practical Guide To Making Friends

Over the past couple years I’ve found myself frustrated by the way our culture talks about friendships. Or, more important, by the way we don’t talk about friendships. While the dominant narrative seems to involve every woman having Best Friends 4-Eva who all know each other and hang out together every weekend (thanks, Sex and the City!), we tend to remove friendships from most discussions on relationships. I find it a little bizarre that we take for granted that every woman will have a best friend who will have the power to lift her up, and yet we don’t talk about making friends, keeping friends, or what to do when friendships start to hurt us. We also avoid discussing the fact that many of us just don’t have friends anymore because we’re all moving around too damn much. I, for one, would like to see more women’s magazines devote as much space to the topic of friendship as they do to romantic relationships. “101 Ways to Please Your Friends This Weekend!” “Exactly What To Say to Blow Your Friend’s Mind Tonight!”

In the spirit of giving friendships the attention they deserve, let’s talk about friend relationships… which are not so different from romantic ones when you get down to it. And if you’re thinking, “Well, shit, Rachel, I already struggled with that for years and now you’re telling me I have to start over? The rejection never really ends?” I’m here to tell you… yes. Sorry. But the good news is, we can take what we learned from years of being told by women’s magazines “How To Land A Man!” and apply it to the process of making new friends.

As someone who has moved around quite a bit in the past ten years before finally settling in Houston where I had no friends, I like to think of myself as the friend version of a pick-up artist. (But I’m far less creepy than the romantic PUAs, I swear.) Here are some things I’ve learned in the past few years about the fine art of friend courting.

1. Figure out where your potential friends hang out. When I was dating, I knew I would meet guys by going where the guys were. Sometimes this meant online dating sites, but more likely it meant bars, cool events, parties, etc. Similarly, when trying to make new friends, you can start by putting yourself in a position to meet other people who are your age with similar interests. For me, it’s been going to boutique workout studios and attending their workshops and social events; the smaller atmosphere makes it easier to bond with other people there, and, eventually, faces become familiar. If that’s not your thing, are there other classes where your potential peeps might be? I’ve found that Groupon/Living Social/etc. are good ways to find out what like-minded people are doing in your city. Even if you don’t buy the deals, you might discover new places to try out and meet potential friends. It might take some trial and error, but eventually, you’ll have that moment when you just think, “Oh! These are my people!”

2. Make your intentions clear. I’ve found the easiest way to make friends is to let people know I’m looking. Why is this such a taboo thing to say? Most of us are cool with telling people when we’re single or putting our relationship status on our Facebook profiles, so we shouldn’t feel awkward about saying we need to make new friends. There’s no shame in it. I’ve been set up with a lot of new friends simply because I’ve been open about my desire to make new friends. And when I meet someone new who I seem to click with, I’m now comfortable saying, “Oh we should hang out some time! I just moved here and haven’t met a lot of people yet!” So many women breathe a sigh of relief at that statement and confess that they, too, need to make new friends and have been struggling with it. I also often friend potential new friends on Facebook, which feels like the equivalent of saying, “What’s your number?” when dating.

3. Don’t be shy. I never went to a bar hoping to meet guys and then hid in a corner all night; I put myself in a position (at the bar, batting my eyelashes and sticking my tail up like Bambi) to hit and be hit on. You kind of have to do the same thing when making friends. Have an opening line, the same way you would with potential dates. Good starting points: jump into a conversation that you find relevant to your shared interests or just give a compliment. Once you’ve started up a conversation, friendship can easily follow. You tell someone you like her yoga pants… the following week, you overhear her say she’s attending the studio’s inversions workshop, you say you are too, suggest you meet a little early for breakfast because you’d like to be friends, and boom—now you have a friend date! And all you had to do was just be nice and friendly.

4. Come up with good friend date ideas. Unlike when I was dating, when I waited for the other person to ask me out and make the plans (and, if they didn’t, I just texted them something inappropriate at 1 AM to get the ball rolling), I had to be a bit more aggressive with courting friends. So don’t just say, “We should get together sometime!” Whenever a guy said that to me, I’d think, Eh. Whatever. Probably not going to happen. But if, after a long discussion about, say, sushi, a guy said to me, “We should get sushi sometime!” and then suggested his favorite sushi place… well, I went from interested to naked in no time at all. So if you hear about a cool event going on in town? Invite your potential friend. This will also help you nail down a date and time so it’s more likely to happen; I find that coffee and happy hour friend dates just always seem to get rescheduled.

5. Don’t expect sparks to fly right away. You probably went on a lot of bad or just “eh…no chemistry” dates before meeting a great significant other, so why would you expect that you’ll hit it off with every friend you meet? You won’t. But I’ve found that while sometimes it takes a little time to decide if you really click with a new friend, unlike in dating, you aren’t keeping yourself from meeting more friends if you “settle” for someone. So if it’s a no chemistry thing, hang in there, and if she invites you to group events (like, say, her birthday party), go! You might find that you connect with her friends more than with her.

6. Know when to quit. While I believe that making new friends is a worthwhile effort, it’s also a lot of effort, and, much like dating, your heart has to be in it. There have definitely been times when I’ve felt pressure from older friends or acquaintances to make new friends in Houston, and, frankly, this got under my skin much the same way it would if someone was constantly telling single me that I should find a boyfriend. After a year of courting new friends, I found that most days, I’d rather spend my limited free time video chatting with my old friends than going on a “blind date” with a potential new friend. Or, hell, wandering around Target by myself for an hour because that is a glorious Friday night for me. I now have a couple friends in Houston who I could call in an emergency or when there’s a new exhibit at the museum that looks interesting, and a bunch of childhood and college friends in other states who I talk to regularly thanks to modern technology.

But… everyone says that you find love when you stop looking and, despite the fact that I pretty much told anyone who would listen I was on a man hunt just before I met Eric, my guess is that friendship is the same way. So play the game if and when you want to, but don’t feel bad when you don’t. I mean, everyone knows a woman’s real best friend is her dog anyway; I have two and they love the same things I do (waking up early, grooming, growling at people who come near our food) and they call me every five minutes… just like a BFF should.

Photo: Christina Richards

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  • This is something that my husband and I have been talking about recently. I’ve done a lot of moving around, and a year and a half ago, we moved about an hour and a half from his friends. You’d think an hour and a half? No biggie. But it’s a biggie. I can count on one hand the number of times his buddies have been to visit him (and we have the added benefit of the beach 6 blocks from our house. Who doesn’t want to go to the beach? And have a free place to stay after you’ve had too many cold ones while in the sun?!?!)

    So the question has been, how do we go about finding new friends? I’m really OK with a very, very small core of folks, and I think I’ve established that. I think he’s getting closer to it. But it is a matter of putting ourselves out there. Of making overtures, of saying, hey…let’s do something.

    He’s picked out a few people that he wants to make some offers to, and I’ve got a few. It’s taken us awhile to get comfortable, and it’s taken us awhile to come to the realization that in fact we do need to make some new friends, but we’re getting there. Slowly but surely.

    • Kathy jerman

      It is very difficult to make new friends at least for me being in one of the unfriendliest cities in the country. I am an introvert and single.

  • Karen

    I’ve struggle with this for the past two years, I moved to the suburbs from the city and I am just having a hard time meeting new friends. I find myself hanging out with a lot of my fiance’s friends gf and spouses but they lack a little bit of character (most of my friends are gay, but are unwilling to drive an hour to visit me). Part of me thinks that maybe I just need to get a new pup but I’ll try that whole workshop thing again. wish me luck! :)

    • C

      I struggle with this too! I moved over a year ago, about an hour away from friends, and can count on one hand the amount of times they’ve come to see me, but they on the other hand expect me to come to them all the time. Funny how that works, huh? So, time to make some new friends in the area. A move is in my and my FH’s near future, to a city we’re both more familiar with, and I can’t wait!

      Good luck to you!

  • Rachel

    Two questions for y’all…

    1. Any Houston APW-ers who want to be friends?

    2. Would anyone like to join me in re-imagining the headlines on women’s magazines if they were as focused on making friends as they were to “landing a man”?

    LYLAS xoxo

    • Kate

      I would LOVE to start some kind of APW meet-up/book club/yoga group/whatever for readers in different cities. I’ve hired a couple of vendors from APW while planning my wedding, and they’ve all been great people who I’d love to have as friends. I imagine APW readers are the same way! Anybody out there from DC?

      • C

        DC’er here! :)

      • C

        Oh and book club/whatever would be super fun if there are any other DC women out there who would be interested. Not sure about yoga; I’m not good with stretchy pants. ;)

        • Kate

          See my comment on Hannah’s post and let me know if you’re interested!

      • Me! I’m in DC! and it’s been my goal to join a book club and make new friends.

        • Kate

          Maybe I’ll try this out in the Friday Happy Hour tomorrow, too, but anybody in DC interested in an APW book club or get together, feel free to email me at kate2239 (at) gmail!

          Hopefully making friends/putting my email on the internet is a good idea, and won’t end up with me getting my identity stolen or trying to discuss the new Kate Atkinson book with a serial killer lol.

          • carrie

            There is an APW DC Book Club. Someone here can add you guys to the FB group to join in!

            Says the woman who lurks but hasn’t gone yet…

          • C

            There’s an APW DC Book Club?! Would love to get more info on that!

        • marbella

          DC has a huge APW group that does drinks, book clubs etc all the time. Join them on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/apw.dc/?fref=ts

          • Jules

            Thank you! I had no idea about the book club, this is SUPER exciting. I moved into DC less than a year ago and boy, I had to step up to the friend-making plate.

      • Ditto for Madison. I know from the archives that the book clubs had some Madison gatherings. Something like that would be cool.

        • Becky

          Madison, WI? Yeah! Let’s do this thing.

          • Emily

            I’m in! APWMSNWI happy hour?

      • Mary

        I’m in DC! (And, accidentally reported this comment…sorry)

        • Kate

          Lol I do that ALL the time…and then feel awful about it, like Meg will personally see what I did and be disappointed in me. See my comment on Hannah’s post above and let me know if you’re interested!

      • JEM

        Lots here from DC! There’s a facebook page (link blocked at work, I’ll send later!)! We drink together!

      • ruth

        Whoops, I meant to hit “exactly!” not “report comment” – sorry!

      • Rae

        APW – please make an open thread for starting APW meetups!!

      • MDBethann

        A Marylander here, but I work in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter area of DC, so that sort of counts, right?

    • Rebecca

      If only you were in Austin…

      • Rebecca2!

        I am also Rebecca and I will be moving back to Austin the beginning of October. We should hang out, obviously.

        • Rebecca

          Obviously! Also, October is when I am getting married.

        • Natalie

          I am not named Rebecca but I do live in Austin and I like new friends!

          • KatC

            I’m a new APW reader, also in Austin. I’d love to make some local friends!

    • You signed off with LYLAS. <3<3<3

      "Top Ten Undiscovered Cafes in a City Near You: Where the Cool Chick REALLY are"

    • Would love to meet you! I really should comment more in these fora, even though I’m a long-time wedding grad, reclaiming wife one day at a time. :) I mostly enjoy the lovely ambience Meg and company have created.

      • A Smaller Sarah

        You used the correct plural form of forum! Who WOUDLNT want to be your friend!?! #LatinFTW

    • Amanda

      All my friends moved to Houston after college! I, on the other hand, stuck it out in San Antonio, where I’m currently in the position of having no friends in the city even though I’m not in a new place. (So yeah, any APW-ers in SA?)

      Also related – have you read the book/blog “MWF Seeking BFF”? The author’s experience with “friend dating”, and ensuing advice, is remarkably close to your conclusions! I guess it’s a universal issue.

      • Rachel

        I haven’t! I have heard of it and keep meaning to read it but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

        • Sounds like an APW bookclub selection in the making. :)

      • marbella

        ooh! my friend just moved to SA from Houston. Blind date?! ha ha!

      • MWF Seeking BFF is great!!! I do wish I had more spare time to dedicate like that though!

    • Don’t Hassle the Haf

      Me! I just moved down to Houston and finding friends has definitely been a struggle. I mean except for my good pals Reisling and Malbec ! But totally not kidding I love wine

    • Arthaey

      Anyone in the Seattle area want to go on a friend-date? :)

      • Rebecca2

        You should come to a happy hour! We’ve managed two so far. I think we’re looking at August for the next one. Keep an eye out at Friday open threads- they usually get announced once or twice.

        • Rebecca2

          Also, you can totally email me, if you want: beaks1234@outlook.com

          (That’s right- Outlook (online one) has real email aliases- like, 10 email addresses that are whatever you want tied to one account. That would be the main plus I’ve discovered. Mostly I’m just email address squatting)

          • Hypothetical Sarah

            I’m with you on email address squatting. I’ve totally registered my “married name” email address, even though I didn’t change my name and don’t intend to. You know, just in case.

            I wonder if people decide on baby names based on email address availability.

        • Anastasia

          I’m from the Seattle area too! I’d love to hear about the next happy hour.

          • Katharine

            I just moved to Seattle and would love to hear about the next Seattle get together!!!

        • Kayla Elida

          Is that how it works? I’d filled out that survey about what date worked best, but I never heard anything back. I guess I’ll be examining the open threads from now on!

    • I haven’t been on here much since my wedding 2 years ago but I’m in Houston and I used to help put together our APW book club meetings! I would love to get a group together again – we were small but always had fun (and booze).

      • Daisy

        Hey Rachelle,

        I think I attended that APW book club meeting with you and I’m fairly certain you are still on my Facebook friends list (although I don’t get on much anymore. The ads got to be a bit much)! Let me know if you guys end up meeting up, it’s been a long time since I’ve done an APW event!

    • JK

      I live in Houston AND I’m a pretty recent transplant looking for friends! I never comment here but I’ve been reading APW every day for the last 1.5+ years :) I totally vote for a Houston APW meetup.

    • Alexa

      I’m moving to Houston next month and would LOVE to met some APWers there. A book club sounds awesome!

    • Heather

      I’m a Houston APW-er who’s up for making new friends. Especially if meet-ups involve wine/other booze and/or books like some of the other commenters suggested!

      Re-imagined headline candidate: Who’s that lady? Catch her eye with the latest summer trends!

    • Cotes

      I’m also in Houston and would be SUPER into an APW meetup/bookclub. In grad school, everyone was really busy, so I started an “unbook club” where we all read like 5-6 magazine articles and got together to discuss (over copious amounts of wine, obvs) and have definitely thought about wanting to start one up again. But really, I’m pro-anything where smart ladies talk about interesting stuff over wine.

    • theemilyann

      Rachel – I live here in Houston (well, ok, it’s Houston, and my fiancee and I JUST bought a house, so actually we live in Pearland) and I would LOVE to hang out / have a meet up / make new friends! So many of my friends (in fact, yes, let me check, yeah, ALL OF THEM) recently moved out of the city. Sad face.

      How do we get this done?

      Some Thursday / Wednesday / Tuesday night? Empire Cafe on Westheimer?

      I’m checking the “notify me” box in the hopes that someone replies!

      • Rachel

        EmilyAnn and everyone in H-town, I am traveling this week but will organize this and email everyone first thing next week! In the meantime, feel free to friend me on FB!

      • Sarah

        Ridiculously late to the party here, I know, but did anything ever happen with this?! Is there a Houston APW facebook group? I saw this back in July but then I wasn’t sure I was going to be moving to Houston after all. But I’m here now and would really love to meet people! If anyone sees this, pretty please shoot me an email: s [underscore] safley [at] yahoo [dot] com. Thanks!

    • Daisy

      I can’t figure out how to search for people on Facebook mobile so I will have to mess with it when I am home.

      How about starting a Facebook group for Houston APW-ers, it would be easy to have a centralized place where we can suggest meetups, discuss times, etc. Thoughts? I’m actually out of town this weekend also but can start the group up!

      • Rachel

        I actually have a FB group for new friends in Houston that got started when I posted about this topic on my personal blog last year…so maybe I could add everyone to that? While that hasn’t been updated in a while, it just seems to make more sense to me to loop in the 10 or so ladies who were already interested in meeting new friends here?

        Here’s the link to my FB profile so you can friend me: https://www.facebook.com/rachel.wilkerson

        Maybe just add a message to your friends request letting me know you’re an APW Houstonian and then I could just add y’all to the group? I’ll also send all this info out in an email next week just in case anyone misses it here.

    • Jessica

      I just moved to Houston as of February and would love to meet up at some point! Really loved your article as I have now lived in three different countries over the last 5 years. Looking forward to settling here in Houston with my Husband and pup! Let me know if you’re interested.

  • H

    Another thing I would note: Sometimes if you’ve hung out with somebody for a while, it takes a while to realize how much somebody means to you. You’ll discover it, when you go on a trip home or vacation, and you see somebody and it reminds you of your new home or your new people. The people who you find yourself telling stories about to your friends and family, and the people who are familiar to you are most likely going to be your friends, imperfections/annoyances and all. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be close friends, but they are the ones you should be inviting to go see the cool new Superman movie or the old favorite restaurant or over to your house for a girl’s Pinterest night with your favorite bottle of wine and a recipe you’d like to try. Over time, it’s likely that they’ll grow on you and that they’ll prove to be truly wonderful people.

  • Rachel

    I’ll probably throw this out during Friday Happy Hour sometime soon (if I don’t keep missing it because of the time difference and my commute!)… but are there any Ottawa (Ontario) APWers who want to be friends? Maybe?

    • Carol

      Ahhh, so close yet so far away ;) GTA here!

    • Grif

      I’m in ottawa! Just moved here and definitely feeling the making new friend pains! Lets be friends!!

      • Rachel

        Email me! jobsonrachel @ gmail . com (obviously without all the spaces)

        Let me know once you’ve got my email, so I can come back and delete my email address so it’s not permanently on the interwebs :)

        • Grif

          Got it! Emailing! :)

        • Rachel

          Hello lovely APW moderators :)

          Sorry to create work for you, but could one of you possibly delete my post above with my email in it? Contact info has now been exchanged – but I forgot that I can’t delete my comment more than 15 minutes after I post it.

          Thank you!

    • Laurie

      I’m a lurker, but also a fellow Ottawa lady looking for new friends! :) I’m not sure if your address has now been changed, but if you’re still down, I’d love to get together!

      • Rachel

        That’s still my email. Email me! :)

  • mimi

    So true! I live about 10 minutes from where I grew up, so I still have friends in the area, but several now live out of state. Of those who are still close by, most now have kids, so it’s hard to make (and keep) plans with them. I’m going to keep this idea in mind for the next time that I have free time and need friends to come play with me (getting married August 3, so no free time to be found right now).

  • Duckminster

    I’ve gotten pretty aggressively strategic about friend making and social scheduling. Far more so than I ever was about dating. It took me a couple years post college to realize that friendships are no longer going to easily and organically poof into air like magic. I don’t live in a house with a bunch of people my age who have similar values and all also desperately need friends. Thems the breaks.

  • I’m in the middle of this now in Okinawa. I met one friend at my running group and we clicked right away (both of us childless, which is unusual for women in their 30s there, and looking for work). I’d invited her along on my plans to go to the art gallery the next day before we finished three miles. But it’s been hard otherwise. The wives in my husband’s squadron have been together for a long time and already have their cliques formed. I’m hoping to get a job and make friends that way, but should also get more proactive about volunteering, both to do something productive with my time and potentially meet friends. I generally only need a couple of close friends and it takes me a long time to form those bonds, but with as much as my husband will be gone over the next year and as far as I am from the rest of my friends, I have some extra incentive to put some effort into moving things along.

    I do highly recommend a running group to anyone into running who is looking for friends. That’s how I made my one good friend in Pensacola, by signing up for a half-marathon training group through the local running store. If you find someone with a similar pace, you have A LOT of time to talk and get to know each other, without even having to do the scary friend date ask-out.

    • Kate

      I agree that running groups are a great way to meet people, although I haven’t made as many friends as I’d like in Tucson. Any Tucson AZ ladies looking to make new friends?

  • I’ve been very blessed in my friend-making to be able to make friends with people who introduce me to people who introduce me to people who introduce me to people… (In a round about way, I met my Boston-based fiance by way of a series of friends that started with my sister’s high school boyfriend who became my college roommate.)

    I am also blessed in that, while I am going to be moving to Boston next year and away from all my long-time friends, I have already started to get to know my fiance’s group of friends. They are all good people who are very much like my Wisconsin friends, and have taken me as one of their own.

    If it weren’t for that…I’d be a little lost in a completely strange city. I was very lost in my first year of college, until I started hanging out with my sister’s previously-mentioned boyfriend. I’m a shy person and have a hard time meeting and talking to strangers except in very specific circumstances.

    • Sarah B.

      I’m a Boston APW-er (Somerville!) who originally hails from the Midwest (Cleveland!). Though I know you said that you’re not here ’til next year, feel free to hit me up if you want a buddy for bars/restaurants/shows. I have a pretty fun group of friends (we’re 26-29 FYI) and we’re always down for new people.

      • :)

        Camberville is one of the areas on my ‘would love to live here” list. (Though we are trying to keep our option open.) My main criteria is that I don’t want to have to drive, and I’d really love to be able to get to the T without a lot of hassle.

        • Sarah B.

          I did Camberville for a few years (Inman Square) and it was awesome. Really fun area. We got priced out, though, and moved further into Somerville.

          Yeah, I feel you! At first, getting around in Boston can feel tricky. It’s really not so bad, though. My #1 suggestion would be to get a bike — I work downtown and can bike it in ~30min, but on the T it takes over an hour. If that’s not your scene, Boston has a ton of bus routes and even now, living a bit far out, I’m only a 15 min walk from the red line.

          If you have any q’s about neighborhoods, happy to help!

          • Fiance’s parents live near Davis, so I’ve gotten pretty familiar with that area, and most things off the red line. (When we are there on a visits and other folks are busy, I ride the T for fun.) JP is another area we are considering. (Fiance has expressed an interest in Waltham or Watertown, but those are a little too far out for me. Waltham in particular.)

            I bike all over the place in Madison. Watching people bike in the Boston area scares me. It’s like the drivers don’t even notice the bikes….at best! But I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

        • MDBethann

          I don’t live in Boston, but my sister has lived there since 2008. She’s found that living someplace closer to your job is best, so she moved from Brookline (near JP and very nice), which was close to her grad program, to Davis Square and now Cambridge to be closer to the job she landed after grad school (her job is in Charlestown).

          There are loads of lovely neighborhoods in the Boston area, but it IS pricy. She had to hunt for awhile to find some place she liked and has had either 2 or 3 housemates at a time.

          Good luck in your search. I love visiting my sis in Boston – it’s a lovely city!

      • Lib

        Hey, another Boston girl here (Brighton). I also used to live in the Midwest (Chicago for 4 years, but I am from New England) and I also bike! I second the biking recommendation. Boston is trickier than many other cities but we are getting there. Sarah B, we should hang out!

        • Sarah B.

          Yes, I’m down! Hit me up at sarahbecherer [at] gmail [dot] com.

          Or you can find me on Facebook with that email; my pic is me in a poofy white dress, haha.

          • Clayelle

            I am a Boston (Brighton) – based biker, as well!

            Would love to hang out if you guys have arranged anything :) … this is a fun thread, I’ve never heard of “Camberville” and that made me smile!

            clayellewolf (at) gmail (dot) com

          • Hannah L

            I am another Boston based APW-er and biker! And I would love to hang out with all of you! you can find me at hletbetter [at] gmail [dot] com. I just finished grad school and so a lot of my friends are moving away, but I am staying in the area and need new friends to hang out with!

        • SARAHB

          Hey, Libby! Boston meet up in the works. I’ll send you the deets on FB this week.

      • Kristin S

        Sarah – I’m also a Boston-ite originally from Cleveland…(although a bit older than your group)…

  • Marcela

    I am having so much trouble with this. My husband(!) And i just moved to Gainesville, Florida so he could start a vet program in the fall and we know no one here. I am usually a very outgoing people person so the fact that we’ve just been hanging out with our dog is starting to get to me. The only problem is, we have no money so I can go meet these cool people at cool places. And I don’t have a job yet so I camt meet people there. Anyone wanna be my friend? I promise I’m good people!

    • Not Sarah

      At the very least Gainsville is a pretty cheap place, so meeting people at places isn’t nearly as expensive as in other cities! Yay for college towns!

    • Running/knitting/fill in the blank group that is free! I have recently met a really cool group of friends by joining a neighborhood running group. If running is not your thing, try something else that is free. Meet-up would be a good place for this as would be stores that specialize in that activity (the fleet feet in DC organized fun runs on Sunday during the time I lived there, a knitting store might have a weekly knitting session, etc).

      My husband is a vet – I met him after he finished but from what he tells me you are in for a rough four years. Good luck. On the plus side, everyone wants to talk to him at parties because he has the coolest job and I think he has saved us at least $5,000 this year on vet expenses we didn’t have to pay (we’ve had a rough year with sick pets).

  • Hannah K

    who wants to hang out in chicago?! (i’m not wedding planning but i’m a little obsessed with, you know, living an examined life amid thoughtful ladies, and all that.)

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      I’m in Chicago! I know the FB group meets occasionally, but life has been such that weeknights are actually better for me than weekends. (And also, not wedding planning. Or anywhere near it. But hang out here for the reflections and deep thoughts :)

      • Julia

        Chicago has an APW=inspired feminist book club, and all are welcome to join! We usually meet on week nights. Message me back with your email if you would like to be included. We have some wonderful, thoughtful ladies here.

        • Catherine McK

          Hi Julia,

          Can you add me to the bookclub group?
          It’s catherine dot brouillette @ gmail dot com. so very not anonymous, but that’s okay.

          • Julia

            Got it, Catherine! You can take your email down now, if you would like. Take that, NSA!

        • Lisa A

          can you add me as well?!
          lisa at glusberg dot com


          • Oh! Me too! I’m in Chicago!! :) sarahvanloon01 at gmail dot com.

        • Julia

          Got you both! We also have a facebook group. I think it’s called Chicago APW Readers.

        • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

          Hi Mods, The delete button wouldn’t work for me. Is it possible to take my e-mail off the site though? Thanks :)

        • Laura

          Hi, can you add me, too? laura.chanoux at gmail
          Thanks! I just moved here in January, so I’m still kind of finding my way around.

          • jlseldon7

            Me TOO!

            child.of.eve @ gmail . com

        • Melissa

          I want to join, can you add me,
          mcmende81 at gmail dot com


      • Melissa

        what is this facebook group you speak of?

    • Magda

      There is a community in Chicago. Email me: magdaslowik at hotmail

      • Magda

        Tried the delete button and it wasn’t working for me either

    • Melissa

      Another Chicago non-planner who would like to hang out. Feel free to shoot me an email.
      mcmende81 at gmail dot com

  • Well damn this is spot on. :) I think the most important one for me is #5. I can put myself out there and have it not click and that’s okay–it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person or that I’ll die alone, it just means it didn’t click and I should try again with someone else.

    The other tough thing for me these days, though, is that making friends takes a lot of time and energy! It’s not just a one time friend date this Saturday, it’s following up and suggesting something for next month too, it’s moving it to the next level where now you can talk about your dream of someday owning a pet salon without getting made fun of, it’s seeing if you can go on “couple dates” too or whether their partner is a total douche… The work never ends! And it’s totally worth it, absolutely, but as an introvert it just means that I’m constantly pushing myself.

    • Rachel

      I tooootally feel you on this. That is, for me, the biggest shift between making friends through college, and making friends now. It’s just so. much. more. work. for WAY less time spent together (in my case anyway). I’ve started to accept that the friends I make as an adult might NOT call me every five minutes and that’s OK too. People are just so busy these days and have other commitments and there’s TRAFFIC and whatever so it’s just not as easy as it was when, like, everyone lived on campus. I hope I find that kind of effortless friendship again in adulthood, but that’s the kind I think (and hope!) will sneak up on me.

      • Suz

        We bought a house last year and my most fervent hope (that I was embarrassed to tell anyone) was that we’d have cool neighbors and it would feel a little like college when you didn’t have to drive all over town to see friends. When anyone bought/sold a house in our hood I was so excited! Alas, none of them have worked out. Well, we do hang out with a few of the 70-year-old couples (we’re in our 30’s!).

        So we’re stuck driving to friend’s houses that live anywhere from 20-35 minutes away. Or we lure them to our house with promises of wine and a comfy guest bed….

        • theemilyann

          I completely understand this, so much, not enough words to say how much! My fiancee and I just bought a house and after three weeks of living there I was SO EXCITED to email this article to our new neighbor and she and I had an email giggle about how awesome our new friendship was! So cool!

    • THIS! I’m also an introvert. What I want is just a few nearby close friends, not a million outer circle friends/good acquaintances. It is so EXHAUSTING to put in all that work and especially social energy to try to find the people you really click with and move onto all the follow up as you say.

      It also seems like with everyone being so busy, at least in the circles I run in, it is way more common to just have the occasional large event (birthdays and girls’ nights and what not) rather than have the more frequent small outings with 1-3 friends that I would so much more prefer.

      • grace b

        Agreed! I’ve really stopped considering every person I’ve met as friend material. My closest friend here in Austin (we moved here almost a year ago) is my closest friend because we both realize that friendship takes WORK. And when the other person is also calling you to make plans and suggest things and make the time to get to know you–it is so awesome! Other friends of mine here are harding to pin down and I have to repeatedly tell myself that it is NOT because they don’t want to see me but they are living their life!

        It’s also hard because both of my bf and I are maturing a lot, making choices about our careers lately and some of our friends are not. And we are kind of going up the elevator, and they are….not.

        It is so much harder to make those sticky connections that will keep you talking to someone FOREVER like I did in college as an adult. It’s hard.

  • Emmy

    I moved to Pennsylvania three years ago and met pretty much all my friends (and my fiancé) through a group called hashing. We call it “a drinking club with a running problem.” Basically, we meet up a couple times a month and run (or in many cases walk) and drink beer and sing songs and hang out. There are hashes all over the world. Groups vary a lot in age and character, but if you’re at least a little into physical activity and beer, you should totally check it out.

    Also, don’t assume your friends have to be your age. I’m 28 and have several wonderful friends in their 40s and 50s. At a certain point, folks start hanging out in interest-based groups less than age-based ones.

    • Tory

      Let me guess. You’re in one of the actual cities of Pa? Because I live in north-central-rural Pa and that would just be too perfect for me…

      Agreed on the age thing, too. I’m 29 and two of my best friends (it’s not as pathetic as it sounds, swearsies) are my mom (49) and her best friend (74) (SERIOUSLY – the woman is the life of every party).

    • Emmy, where in PA are you? I’m in Allentown (sorry Tory). I’d love to meet up with anyone who is interested.

      • Emmy

        I’m also in Allentown!! Feel free to email me at thinkingoftony (at) gmail (dot) com if you want to meet up sometime.

        Tory, we run in the Lehigh Valley area (Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton). There are also hashes in Philly (obvs), Reading, Harrisburg/Hershey, Nittany Valley and Pittsburgh. It looks like one MIGHT be starting in Scranton. If we’re at all close to you, you should definitely come down and give it a try (check out lvh3.com for more info, or email me). I moved here from Connecticut and am still getting used to the vastness of this state, so I’m sorry if that’s not a very reasonable suggestion!

        Also, I forgot to mention that it can be very raunchy, but most everybody is of the feminist persuasion, so don’t be too intimidated!

        • Melissa

          I’m a PA from CT transplant too! I live about an hour south of Allentown in Phoenixville. I’m in Allentown every so often for work–I’d love to beer/friend!

          • Emmy

            Email me, Melissa! Also, totally jealous. Phoenixville is awesome.

        • Heather

          Ummm, is your e-mail address a kids in the hall reference? I don’t live in PA but you are my comment section bestie!

          • Emmy

            Haha, yes it is!

        • Emily

          I’m moving to the Allentown area at the end of the month right after my wedding next weekend (!), and I’m worried about meeting people and making friends – Emmy, I’ll email you!

          • MDBethann

            I don’t live there anymore, but I grew up in the Lehigh Valley. The locals can be slow to warm up (especially in the more rural areas) but if you can find something that clicks you’ll get to know people better – crafts/hobbies (knitting, sewing, gardening, etc) can be huge, as is running (seems like most of my high school classmates & family members in the Lehigh Valley are into running).

            Just be aware that in many parts of PA, including the Lehigh Valley & Berks County, (1) everyone seems to know everyone else, (2) people know their family trees & have oodles of cousins (so watch what you say!), and (3) people have looooong memories. Not to scare you, just to caution you so you avoid some of the major pitfalls (granted, I ran into some of these problems when we moved when I was 11, but if you’re “new” to town, even though you’ve lived in the neighboring county your whole life, well, things can be dicey if you aren’t careful about these 3 things in particular.

            Good luck and enjoy the food – I think the things I miss most about PA are the fresh meats and produce.

  • Marie

    I have moved around a lot over the years and so have many of my friends, so we try to encourage each other when someone first moves to a new place because it IS hard, especially as we get older. We SO want to skip the “getting to know you” part and just have good friends in our new place, but it helps to make peace with it taking time.

    I tend to find friends by joining groups/clubs, so my number 1-3 rules are 1. Show up. 2. Show up. 3. Show up. It takes time to get to know people but you will never get to know them if you don’t go to the same group on a consistent basis.

    Hugs to everyone going through this right now!

  • Breck

    I really, really want to make some new friends, since all of mine are at least a 6 hour drive away, but it’s so hard when you’re in a really transient stage of life. Right now, my guy and I are in the Bay Area until September, then we’re off to Venezuela. Six months after that we could be coming back here or going to Houston or Australia or Kazakhstan–we have no idea. I’m so thrilled we have this opportunity to live in a bunch of different places, but it is really tough in the friend department–by the time I figure out where a cool bar or cafe is or find a fun meetup group, it’s time to go again :(.

  • Rachel

    The problem for me is that I’m still an undergraduate, but I’m married. I’ve always felt a little more mature than the people I go to school with, but now it’s even worse. It’s weird, and I’m unsure how to connect with people in my classes. Has anyone had a similar experience?

    • Pretty much exactly my experience too. I made maybe 2 friends in college. I was also already married and when I got done with classes and work and then homework, any energy I had left was going right into my new baby marriage. Now I’m graduated and getting my “grown up life” in order so I feel like I’m just now accessing my capacity to have and maintain meaningful friendships!

    • CII

      A few thoughts and suggestions:

      – be strategic. In terms of pure probability, you are less likely to have luck with the ladies who seem like they live, party, and shower together. But that lady who sometimes shows up to class like she’s come from an office job and seems to be pretty with it? or that lady who is in a serious relationship with someone who goes to school or works elsewhere? those might be more your people – in part because they may not expect, or even want, someone to just hang out every night. My college best friend met got married while we were undergrad – but before she was married, we were both superbusy people who didn’t always have time to just hang out (but laughed ourselves silly when we did), so her marriage didn’t really change that.

      – if people know you are married, make sure they also know that you are still open to / have time for friendships. They may be making assumptions that make it difficult for them to approach you. Conversely, be realistic about the time you have available so that you keep the “friend” commitments you do make while still saving time for your studies and your marriage.

      – Embrace the study group (even if it’s not about studying) and try to find shared interests from there. I made friends with one person at a grad school study group based solely on our shared love of tvshowsfeaturingLaurenConrad and a weeknight cocktail. Not a BFF, but someone who I got together with semi-regularly and, you know, had a drink while we watched the aforementioned quality television programming.

      – if you have an internship / job / voluneer organization, try making friends there, instead of, or in addition to, making friends with your classmates.

  • Rachel102712

    Any other APWers in Louisville, KY? Moved here for grad school, met my husband here, and now Louisville is my adopted home.

    • Jannell

      I’m in Louisville; in the Highlands area. My husband and I moved here around 3 years ago, and we really like it, but we also still feel a little new around here.

      • Rachel102712

        Hi Jannell! I just now saw this–if you would like to connect sometime, send me an email: evans . rachelf [at] gmail . com.

        Cheers! :)

        • Jannell

          Emailing! *yay*

    • I used to be in Louisville! I moved “home” to MS because my husband wasn’t going to leave his family, but I loved Louisville! Lots of dear friends still there.

  • Tory

    I’ve also moved around a lot, and landed in a really small town in PA–which adds the challenge of other people not necessarily looking for friends because they’re still running with their high school cliques. Top it off that we’re childfree, and that’s a limitation too. (Not because we don’t hang out with people with kids–all our best friends have kids. But sometimes you want someone you can call one evening on a whim and be like, ‘let’s go… [somewhere not kid-appropriate]’.)

    And then there’s the challenge of finding friends when you’re married, because that’s another element of your life you have to consider. Is your potential friend also married? Then they’re going to want to do the double date thing, and is your partner down with that? My husband can be notoriously anti-social and picky about people, and I’ve met girls I really would have loved to hang out with but it couldn’t happen as often as I’d like because we couldn’t do doubles. Anyway, I feel like that just complicates the whole “relationship dynamic,” if that makes sense. Was thinking about submitting a whole post on this but didn’t get around to it :)

  • A Smaller Sarah

    How about advice for women in career fields where there is a lot of moving around? I’m in my second job in second city in four years. I really loved my friends at my earlier job and I think if we had had more time together, we could have been serious for realz friends fo-eva. For the most part we’ve kept in touch, to some reasonable extent. But not the kind of friends where if you go without seeing them for a while, you pick right back up. I have to work through my fear of rejection before really opening up, every damn time we get together… And I kind of feel like my heart hardened a little by the time I moved here. I have been resistant to truly putting myself out there with the folks at the new job, because, basically, I assume they’ll leave or I will before we’ve made it “worth it.”

    I’m planning a wedding for next May, and although I know that if I did connect with them, we’d be great friends, I’ve been really hesitant to invite work people. They’d be a lot of fun. But I honestly don’t know if they’ll be in the area next spring, and we aren’t good enough friends yet to put them on the definitely invite list. And I’ll probably keep my stone wall of feelings-impenetrable steel up in between now and then and not let us become better friends even if they do stay.

    This column brought me to all the sads. :(

    • Breck

      I feel so much of what you just said :(.

      *Internet hug*

    • Liz

      I know how you feel. I am also in a career where I move a lot (academia) and I’ve gotten to the point now where I don’t really even try (which is so sad)! I shifted countries three years ago and have already moved cities. Most of the friends I managed to make in my first city in this country through have now moved abroad, and I don’t know… I’m just tired. Add to that a commute (my husband still works in first city) and meeting people outside of work is pretty much impossible.

      I don’t know if there’s a good solution to it all. I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it will be a while before I have an opportunity to really feel like I’m part of a community, so I try to make sure to keep in touch with friends that have moved away and try not to expect so much from the new friends (or good acquaintances) I do have. I figure I can still enjoy their company and learn from them even if we’re not friends for life, and they are in the same boat, so I guess at least some of them feel the same way.

      Anyway, I’m not sure if that helps at all, but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone!

      • ASmaller Sarah

        Patience is tough. But I get it. There are times in our lives when our partners, our old friends, they’re what we have. And then some time in the future, you’ll be settled for a while in a community, you’ll have the time to do all the great things Rachel suggests, and find friends. It’s sad when you realize you’re in the middle part, though.

        Thanks for the hugs and the solidarity.

        • Liz

          I just tried to exactly your comment and my finger hit the report comment instead. :( Ipad, I shake my fist at you!

  • Kacey

    Anybody in the Dallas area? I’ve been here for six months and am still struggling to find some girls to hang out with!

    • I’m in Dallas! Lets grab coffee! My email is twolivecolorfully@yahoo.com

      • LikelyLaura

        Just browsing through your blog – so cute! Mind if I email you, too? Mine’s my full name, or I’d post it here.

    • LikelyLaura

      I’m in Lewisville!

      • Kacey

        YAY! I’m emailing you, Megan!

        Likely Laura, my email is kcr910@gmail.com if you want to meet up sometime! I’m technically in West Plano, so I’m close to Lewisville. (:

        • LikelyLaura

          Email sent!

    • DALLAS LADY HERE! Some of us APW ladies get together infrequently, and some of the APW ladies overlap with The Hairpin ladies, with whom I do a book club. Email me if you’re interested! alyssa.kindofamess [at] gmail [dot] com

    • Jacy

      I live in the Dallas area. I’ve lived in the Fort Worth area most of my growing up years and moved to Frisco after I got married. Looking for friends on this side of town!

      • Kacey

        Jacy, email me! A few of us are meeting up tomorrow and you should join us!

  • ” I put myself in a position (at the bar, batting my eyelashes and sticking my tail up like Bambi) to hit and be hit on.”

    HA! You and me both. I can’t stop laughing.


    Can I suggest girlfriendsocial.com? It’s pretty much a ‘dating’ site for friends. I joined it a couple of years ago when I realized that I wasn’t making any friends in my new city- granted, I wasn’t really trying hard to begin with. Full disclosure: I haven’t actually met anyone face-to-face on it yet just because I haven’t been fully invested. I think it’s a good resource though.

    • Rachel

      This is awesome! Though..there goes my idea for the startup that was going to make me millions. Back to the drawing board, I guess!

    • Angie

      WHAT? Signing up now. I keep scanning the comments for someone living in SC, and granted I haven’t gotten to the bottom of the page yet, but so far I’m not seeing anything. Worth a shot! Thanks!

      • Dawn

        Well I’m in Charlotte, NC so I don’t suppose you just happen to be in the part of SC not far from there?

      • Joy

        Dammit, lady! I lived in SC for years and wished and hoped I’d meet a fellow APWer, but, alas, I’m in RI now. (Anyone in RI, by the way?) I do visit family several times a year, though, so if you’d like a sometime SC friend, I’m your gal!

      • SarahSnow

        I’m in Columbia, SC! Where are you?

    • Amber

      Meetup.com can be a really good option too. It’s how I made a friend when I lived in New York. It’s great for finding more people who are interested in the things you are interested in. Maybe APW meetups should be in order? The book club used to kinda be like that.

      There are lots of girlfriends meetups in my area, but I don’t feel like it’d fit in, plus it’s anxiety-inducing to think about going alone.

      • ferrous

        Thank you for posting this. I just checked out meetup and now I have not only a WOC book club, but also a women’s craft beer event to look forward to. Amazing.

      • My husband and I decided to check out Meetup this year as our frustrations with current friend groups just got out of hand and we wanted to find more people we had more stuff in common with. We joined a young married couples group and have enjoyed all the events we’ve been to, and are now starting to hang out with one couple outside of the official events. Maybe new friends? Yay!

        We were both so anxious and nervous going in, but there was really nothing to worry about. It helps to remember that every person there was in the same boat when they first attended. And hey, you can try a group once and if you really don’t like the vibe of the crowd, don’t go again.

        • KW

          I got connected to a group of women who were into the outdoors and hiking through Meetup. I even got to go visit the Moonville Tunnel (it’s reportedly haunted). I had a lot of fun. I drifted away from it after awhile, but might need to revisit it, it was fun.

  • Emily

    As a self-proclaimed introvert pushing her way out of it, I love all of this advice.

    I’ve actually made a few friends just by randomly saying “Oh, I love your umbrella/shoes/jacket!” it helps to notice something large on them so you don’t appear to be such a creeper ;] But it saves on going to bars and other places that I personally don’t frequent, and saves money too! You can run into people walking in the park, down the street, at the grocery store, getting the mail.

    I also feel like attitude is a huge, quiet influence. Once I changed my perspective and decided to become more friendly and outgoing, somehow I’ve attracted a lot more people out of the blue.

    Also, friendly Boston-resident here!!

    • Sarah B.

      Yo! I’m in Somerville. If you’re looking for new pals, I’m always down! I like books and beer and seeing bands and being outside.

      • Emily

        Love it! Always into new friends with fun interests :]

        Send me an email, emily [@] emilykihn [.] com

    • Joy

      If any of you lovely Boston ladies would like to visit Providence some time, there’s at least one happy APW reader here who would show you around!

    • Hannah L

      I am a Boston resident always looking for new pals too. you can find me at hletbetter [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Susan

    Yes! Where was this advice when I moved to NC six years ago? I was so lonely I answered a F seeking F platonic ad on Craigslist. And you know what? It worked out and she’s one of best friends still! Now I struggle with A) how do I as an almost married gal make cool couple friends with my future husband that we both enjoy (especially because he’s a total introvert) and B) what do I do when all the friends I made have babies and I never see them again? (We’re still a few years away from that). If there are any cool chicks in the Triangle in their 30’s who want to grab a drink let me know! Especially if your man wants a double date!

    • KH

      Yes please! I’ve been in the area for quite some time (moved for college and never left) but as time goes by more and more of my friends are leaving. I feel like I woke up one day and all my girlfriends were gone. If you’d like to meet up some time, I can send you my email address for sure!!

      • Susan

        Sweet! It’s Susan.cohen at gmail.

        • Dawn

          Man, why is everyone in the Triangle area and not the Charlotte area :(

  • Lisa A

    What about for us married/civil union’d lesbians?

    . There are lots of gender related dynamics when it comes to friends and making friends as a lesbian couple is so hard! The few friends we have here in Chicago are straight couple’d ladies and their dudes usually are not into hanging out with us as a couple so it becomes a situation of US plus 1 friend which is fun but feels weird. I’m not explaining it well because I’m still trying to figure out why it’s so difficult! Ugh, maybe I should just get my sh*t together and submit something about that

    My lady and I moved to Chicago from NYC but lived with and worked for her parents for the first 2 years we were here. So basically we only hung out with my in-laws which was fun but I’m glad it’s over. Then we moved out on our own to the lesbian gayborhood (Andersonville shout-out!) and while we’ve connected with some of my wife’s old friends from HS, the one we are closest to is moving next month! So, now our social circle will become just each other and her parents again! Anyone in Chicago want to hang out with a mid-20s married dyke couple who like to watch really great tv AND really trash Bravo reality shows? I like to bake and we’re into making fancy cocktails and trying out all the loot from our wedding registry. C’mon over!

    • Vanessa

      Ugh! If only this were three years ago! TV and fancy cocktails are pretty much our favorite hobbies. My lady and I moved out of Lakeview (Irving and Southport what what!) and to California where we still struggle with the “two girls trying to find friends” thing that is so difficult to describe if you’re not in it, you know? :)

    • Anne

      Small world, but I recently met an awesome (non-married) dyke couple who lives in Andersonville, through one of my best friends from college who just got married and also lives in Andersonville. I don’t live in Chicago anymore, but they go out all the time — maybe you’ll run into them! I know lots of awesome people who live in Andersonville, so I have faith that you’ll meet wonderful new people.

  • I’m two years out of college and still in the same city, but most of my friends aren’t here anymore. My new job is about to turn my schedule on it’s head (W-Sun second shift) so I’m feeling more and more restless to meet people. I just joined a group through MeetUp the other day and am going to my first event tomorrow. I’m a little nervous about going in alone, but I intentionally picked a group focused on meeting people and hanging out and an event that’s low-stress and easy to bail on if I’m uncomfortable. However, if anyone in the Lehigh Valley, PA area wants to get together, I’m wanna be friends!

  • I feel like I’ve been growing more and more introverted since I left high school. Man, back then I was a social butterfly, knew almost everyone, always had a great time with people. Know I’m married, out of college, and in a new city (Dallas), and most people just bug me! Isn’t that awful?

    I will admit that I’ve been slowly moving towards getting back in the friend game. After all, it’s not that I don’t want friends, it’s that I’m having SUCH a hard time finding ‘my people’. I do think the advice about going where your potential buddy could be hanging out is probably the key to success. I signed up for a sewing class this weekend and am excited just by the prospect of being around other crafty folks. Maybe I’ll meet someone! But if not at least I’m getting out there and also learning some new skills.

    Also, it’d be an honor to have coffee with any Dallas APW’ers. :)

    • I responded to Kacey above, but feel free to email me; I’m part of a bookclub with The Hairpin that you might want to join in on! alyssa.kindofamess [at] gmail [dot] com

    • Hi Megan! I live in Dallas! I’d love to meet more area APW’ers. :)

      You can email me at jehara3 at gmail dot com if you are interested!

  • Lindsay

    rachel, thank you so much for talking about something i’ve really been struggling with. within the last year, a very close friendship ended fairly naturally and for the best (we moved far away from each other and have just taken different routes in life…and i’m not always the best when it comes to keeping in touch). my two closest friends are two ladies i’ve known and adored for the past 18 years….but if i’m being totally honest with myself, we are very very different in a lot of ways, some that don’t always make it easy to communicate. i’ve really been struggling with wanting to make new friends, to have a variety of women in my life to fill in all the spots that my husband can’t (i love the symphony, he hates it….i love doing artsy stuff and going to the art museum, he’s so not that type…..and don’t even get me started on musical tastes!….oh and let’s be real, he usually has a hard time understanding my emotional response to certain situations). the problem with making new friends at 32 years old is that it can feel so forced and awkward….so it makes me feel so much better to realize how common this issue actually is. as always, APW has reminded me that i’m not alone. APW has also really helped in real life b/c i’ve had the chance to start getting to know some awesome women in st louis. i’m not sure where i’m going with this comment, really, but i’m looking foward to hearing what everyone else has to say!

    so to put myself out there — anyone who hasn’t had the chance to attend any of our meet-ups in st louis, just email me….we’d love to have you! linz2318 at gmail

  • Anon

    Goodness how timely!

    First of all, thank you for addressing this topic. I found it SO HARD to make friends moving to my city 12 years ago. Honestly, it took forever to gather a group of friends together, mostly once I got a best friend, I tagged along with her group of friends. Here are a couple of things I’m dealing with:

    I thought I was a part of this group of friends but it seems I was just my best friend’s plus one all the time. Recently I noticed that now that I’m not single and neither is she, I’ve been totally replaced in the invites by her boyfriend. I’ve always been a bit on the fringe of the invites but I guess now that we are four and not two, she and her boyfriend get the invite and my fiance and I don’t. I still have a core group of good people but now I question how the others view my friendship if I get bumped off the list so easily. If you’re wondering, I doubt it’s that they don’t like my fiance because he’s pretty sociable and hasn’t hung out with them enough for them to develop such a distaste.

    Also, I’m not close with my fiance’s friends. I know that’s a bit of a red flag and I’ve thought a lot about it and we’ve discussed it at length. It’s not that I don’t like them or they don’t like me, it’s that my fiance doesn’t put effort into getting us all together. In his mind, he has his friend time once a week or so and other than that he spends time with me. He sees it as his time away from me and I don’t think he really wants to see his friends more than that. He’s not interested in creating more opportunities for us all to hang out together. I’m invited to parties with him but you can’t really get to know someone well in those situations. They are his high school friends and I suspect that when we all start families they will see much less of each other. He has had a very difficult time making new friends as well, but it seems to matter less to him than it does to me.

    Sooo… how do we build a common group of friends? My friends like him but I don’t want our entire group of friends as a couple to be my friends. Any suggestions?

    • Carol

      Oh good gravy… If you learn the answer to your problem, please share it with me! I’m in a similar boat with my fiance’s friends. Example: his best man is a guy I have met only 2 times. He seems nice enough, but my fiancé usually sticks to hanging out with him on days I have other commitments. This individual is single, so I think it just boils down to “guy time” not “couples time” (like you said). Anyways, you are not alone in this situation!

  • One potential way to make friends, find some other APW readers. If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area you can join our FB group. We just had our first meetup last night. :) Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/179626212196077/203217753170256/

  • Anamaría

    Anyone in Quito or in Ecuador? I would love to make some new friends, especially through APW!

    • maddy

      I just moved to quito a little less than a year ago and I would love to make a friend! or at least have a friend-blind-date. Email me? mfarenivar at gmail.

      It is hard to make friends. and like Rachel said, sometimes your dogs just know what you need… but other times you really want someone who can talk back to you or who has opposable thumbs.

  • Brandi

    I’m a introvert, my husband is not, which is helpful for me. When he’s not trying to push me further outside my comfort zone than I am ready to be pushed. We don’t live in the city where I grew up, and the friends I have there are those great friends that you don’t talk to much, but pick right back up when you get together. The friends I have here are friends my husband made first, he moved 6 months before me, and it has taken me a few years to get over feeling like the tag along who is accepted solely because she’s attached to one of the crew. All in my head, but it was really hard for me to shake.

    Also, anyone else in a big city (I’m in LA) get frustrated with the lack of spontaneity available for friend dates? I’ve met people, we get to chatting, I feel like we’re connecting, I suggest getting together, and they whip out the phone to look at the calendar to inform me it’ll be at least three weeks before they can do anything. Seriously? I’m not asking to go home the same day, you know, but I have a hard time understanding how you might nurture a potential connection when it takes that long to spend time together. Same thing happens when I’m attempting to meet other moms of around the same age as my son. Kids are so scheduled and structured that trying to get together is almost impossible if you weren’t apart of the playgroup that started 2 months after birth.

    I think I need to start friend fishing in new places.

    • Brandi

      Maybe like here. Los Angeles area married lady looking for buddies.

      • Margaret

        I’m in Los Angeles. I’ll meet up with anyone from APW. I don’t have kids but I promise to not mind if you do.

        • Laura K

          I’d be in for a Los Angeles area APW new-friend-date-meetup thing!

      • Ashleyn

        I am in Los Angeles in the Sherman Oaks area! Moved here a year ago and still don’t really know anyone.

      • Liz

        Late response, but I’d be up for a Los Angeles buddy too!

    • Autumn

      I’m in Orange County. It’s been tough making friends. There are people we/I have hung out with for over 3 years and there have been no clicks, it’s pretty discouraging.

      • K

        I’m in Orange County too! I’ve had success making friends here through MeetUp – and then the majority of them moved away due to marriage/jobs/etc. So now I’m back where I started (except for the fact that I now have more friends scattered across the country in some pretty cool cities, so that’s nice, I guess). It’s rough.

    • I’m in Los Angeles, too, and I would totally get together with people from APW!

  • I love this post (and as someone mentioned, it does have a “MWF Seeks BFF” ring to it– excellent book, by the way).

    I am lucky to live close to a lot of my friends as I attended grad school near where I grew up and then stayed in the city after I graduated (Minneapolis, anyone?). I sort of thought I was done NEEDING new friends. That was pretty naive. Friends who move to new cities and have to find new friends also leave old friends behind… who need to find new friends too.

    The other thing I am currently really battling is how friendship changes as we enter different phases of our lives, and especially when we aren’t doing things at the same time. As an engaged lady just months from getting married, it is sometimes hard for me to relate to my friends who are still serial dating and loving the excitement of new dates all the time. But at least I can remember what that was like… once upon a time. It is 10x harder for me to relate to my friends with small kids. And I WANT to get it, and logically I know why they have to leave events at 6:45PM, but it still feels baffling and I often think, “You’re leaving this concert after the headliner has only played 2 songs?! Are you NUTS?!” No, you’re a parent. I struggle with knowing which friendships to really stick it out for and which ones I have to admit that we’re just in such vastly different places that we aren’t really fulfilling each others friendship needs anymore.

    • Claire

      There’s actually a small group of us APW readers in the Twin Cities! Since you have a link to your blog, I’ll send you a message with my email, if you want to be included in future meet ups.

      I’ve also found myself in the position of moving to a new city and struggling to make friends. It took a few years to finally find “my people” (fellow transplants), and now a few years later, they’ve all either moved away or are busy growing their families. So, here I am, back at square one.

      • Ugh. I live in a city that has huge amounts of immigration and then 5 years later they all emigrate, mostly back home because they’ve made all the $$$. I’ve semi-seriously debating a firm policy of only friending other Calgary lifers, because it sucks to always be the one who’s left.

        On the upside, as a lifer in a city of transients, I run in to people I know all the damn time, so that’s nice. Makes the city feel smaller, if you can’t wander through Ikea without running in to someone you knew a decade ago.

        • Kate

          Fellow long-time Calgarian here!

      • Not Sarah

        This is why I’m trying to make non-ex-pat friends. Most of my ex-pat friends have a plan to move back. I don’t. I’m staying here. I hope making non-ex-pat friends works out better…

      • LMN

        St Paul resident here! I didn’t know there was a group of APW’s here, that’s awesome! My email is lmnatchek (at) gmail if you care to pass on the meet up info to another.

        I’ve lived in the Twin Cities for over 5 years now and have struggled with expanding my social circle from day one. It’s weird because I’m pretty outgoing in a “Hey, let me introduce you to these people” setting, but if I’m on my own and don’t know anyone I can’t quite bring myself to make the first move. When I’ve taken community ed classes and things like that it seems like everyone is already paired off and mostly socializes with their own little group and I feel terribly awkward trying to bust in on that.

        • Hey, Twin Cities suburbanite here… a day late. Can I get in on the meetup info? I helped organize the first APW-Twin Cities book clubs way back when.

  • Not Sarah

    I moved to Seattle a few years ago and as my guy friends have started getting married, I’ve realized that I need more female friends. Friend dating is definitely a way to get there, but it’s so hard when you’re also guy dating at the same time… I’ve made a decision in the last few months that for now, I’d rather friend date.

    I have to say though that it is way, way harder to end a friend courtship than a guy date courtship. SO much harder. Friendships can come and go far more than romantic relationships can, which is what makes them harder to say “No thank you, I don’t want to see you again” to. You can know pretty quickly when a friendship won’t work out or it can take a while. And like romantic dates, it can take a few friend dates before you know if you’ll be BFFs or not. And sometimes you won’t be BFFs, but you’ll at least have some more friends. Sometimes those friends move away too, which is super sad when I plan to stay here for a long, long time.

    I’ve made a few. Enough that I now have a “no boys allowed” rule on my birthday and just meet up with some girlfriends.

    • Arthaey

      I’m in Seattle too! If you want to meet up and see if we “click”, email me — my username at gmail. :)

  • Making friends in a new city! So hard!

    We’ve been here (Portland, Ore) almost two years, and we know a handful of people mostly from his work. It doesn’t help that both of us are introverts and the city is kind of… standoffish. The kinds of behaviors that turned into friendships in Phoenix are just not received well up here. (Or maybe I’m just terrible at making friends!) We don’t like clubs, we’re not into beer, we don’t have kids or dogs, we’re not religious, and we’re not crazy into physical fitness – which seems to eliminate most of the ways adults meet each other!

    Anybody have any suggestions – or is anybody in the area interested in friend-dating a geeky knitter who likes to play video games and is fond of puns? (Married Queer Lady Seeks Friendship?)

  • Laura G

    Topeka KS? Anyone? *crickets*

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Hey, we have *crickets* here in Shanghai too! Lets be friends.

    • Marguerite

      I grew up in Kansas (am now elsewhere) and hearing this about KS makes me sad… Def need more cool ladies there. Good luck!

    • Heather

      Oh man, I hear you. I moved to Lubbock a year ago and we’ve got *crickets* (literally, I think there are more crickets than humans in Lubbock). I work from home so it is sooo lonely! Even the cat is “my fiance’s cat”. You know how girl cats are…
      Anyway, if by some twist of fate any of y’all are in Lubbock…

  • Paul @minutrition McConaughy

    Wow Rachel, look at all these comments. Someone like YOU could develop this into a book. Go for it. You’d do great! Paul

    • Carolyn

      I was selfishly hoping all these comments would parlay into tomorrow’s happy hour turning into REAL happy hours. :)

  • D

    This post really gets to me. I too, am wondering how to make new friends since I moved a year ago.
    I find it hard, because I do have quite some friends (no one lives in the same city though) and I want to invest time in those friendships. And then I also reside in a different city during workdays because of well… work.
    So between spending time with my bf and keeping in touch with my old friends, my weekends just do not seem to offer enough time to go out by myself and meet new friends.
    But honestly, that’s not the real problem. The real issue for me is, I find it a thousand times scarier to try to make new friends than, for example, chatting up a guy when I was single.
    And, I am very ashamed to admit this, maybe that’s because I find women scarier than men. The rejection of a (potential) friend can be so hurtful.
    Still, I would like some new female friends! Am I the only one feeling extra shy around women, when trying to make friends?

    • Margaret

      I totally agree with you that rejection from a friend can hurt more than from a date. Maybe because I never took dating that seriously until I met my husband (I only cared if it was fun – not what any dude thought of me) and I really care about what a potential friend thinks of me. I’m so invested in having friends because I know they matter to my well-being and being single or taken never really did. I’m not sure if that’s true for everyone; I just want you to know that I feel the same way about being scared to make new friends.

  • Kate

    I’ve never commented here before, but just had to chime in about how spot-on this all is. I was fortunate enough to move to the same city (Boston) as many of my friends after college, but now, a few years out, we’re all drifting apart and making separate moves to different cities. On top of that, it’s become much more difficult to maintain friendships since I’ve started graduate school (while many of my friends are still working at typical jobs).

    As someone who went to (and loved!) a women’s college, I’ve definitely been feeling the lack of female friendships in my life. This article pushed me to reach out to an acquaintance to set up a friend date!

    • Katy

      I’m in exactly the same boat. I have good friends, but now almost none of them live here! I don’t think I’d realized that I’d have to constantly make new friends – it’s not a one-time effort and done!

      In that spirit, let me know if you want to grab a coffee: katy dot evans dot pritchard at gmail dot com.

    • Clayelle

      Hi Kate,

      I live in Boston and will be starting an all-women’s MBA program in September so, timely!

      I left another comment on this thread, but if you ever want to hang out: clayellewolf (at) gmail (dot) com!

  • Can I just point out how wonderful and lovely it is that so many people are making friend connections in this comment thread? APW is clearly the best.

    I wish I’d had access to something like this when I moved to LA nine years ago. It took me years to really find my friend groove here. I moved for grad school, so for a couple of years I had a semi-built-in social life, but once I graduated, I felt adrift for a long while. I look back now, though, at how some of my nurtured acquaintanceships have blossomed into such wonderful friendships, and I wish I could tell 7-years-ago me that it gets better. It just takes time, especially as grownups, for relationships to deepen, I think.

    I also wish I’d known how great improv communities are for friend-making. My husband made pretty much all of his non-work, post-college friends through improv. I find being onstage terrifying, but if I’d known what a great social opportunity it is back when I was looking for ways to meet new people (this was before I met my husband too, obviously), I totally would have sucked it up and done it!

  • Amber

    I get pretty depressed/angry about this friends thing often. Something that happened earlier this week: We were out with a meetup group and stuck at a table with a really abrasive, selfish, jerky younger woman who had lots of snide remarks etc. Yet people come up and willingly talk to her while no one said “bye” to my husband and I, who were pleasant and got some laughs. We felt shunned while this horrible person walked off with a group of people who seemed to want to spend time with her. I don’t get it!

    I feel like this happens to me all the time, so it must be me, right?
    I’m one of those people who is quiet, partially because I feel like I put my foot in my mouth a lot and partly because I grew up having very different opinions from the people around me, so I kept them to myself. But, once you get to know me and I know how I can and can’t joke around you I’m more outgoing.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had someone consider me their best friend, even though I have considered other people mine. It’s always been that kind of situation for me.

    Maybe it’s genetic, because my parents don’t have friends either.

    • Apryl With a Y

      Totally with you on the Meetup thing. I used to run one and I found every single event more draining than entertaining. Too bad you’re not in Raleigh, or we could go be not-exhausting together! Good luck.

  • Elaine

    I really appreciate the spirit of this post, but some of the advice given sounds super scary to this tried and true introvert/ lifelong shy person living outside a major metropolitan area. Any words of wisdom from other totally non-outgoing readers on breaking through those barriers to make friends?

    • In addition to what Jules commented below about trying activities that don’t require much talking, maybe you could join the email lists or FB pages for various groups? That way you could kind of watch their email interactions and see what the group is up to, while you decide if you really feel like going or feel like you’ll fit in.

      Or, something I do, even if I don’t feel like being outgoing and asking someone to do something, is always accept if they invite me somewhere, even if it’s not my favorite thing to do. It still requires being a little bit outgoing but at least you don’t have to make the first move, and if someone’s invited you somewhere, it’s probably because they really do want to hang out with you. Maybe that helps?

    • I’m a total introvert too, but some similar things have worked for me. I made most of my new friends at yoga. I started taking classes at a local studio. The great thing about yoga is that you can’t talk during class! (I think that’s part of what I love about it.) So there’s no pressure to make conversation at all, really. After I’d been going to the studio a few months (talk about a long-term plan), lots of people started to look familiar and everyone was friendly, so people would say hi. There’s a coffee shop 1 block over, so I’d run into people there after class too. It honestly took me probably 8 months of going to this same studio before I felt like I had a nice little network of acquaintances, and eventually a few of those grew into close friendships. Facebook was really helpful too, because my teachers are all active on Facebook, I got to interact with people online. It helped us all learn about each other without having to do all the “getting to know you” verbally.

      I wrote a few blog posts last year about making friends as an introvert. Man, it makes me cringe to read my old posts… http://www.videosofkittens.com/2012/03/27/the-introvert-series-where-to-meet-people/

  • KINA

    This is such a great post. And PS, Rachel, I totally wanna be your friend, even though I live in Michigan! Can we be like, email friends?

    I have to say, one positive thing I’ve pulled from all the pain that can come from losing some friendships and having to work so hard to make others is that I’ve come to enjoy my alone time even more. Since I’ve had to have it involuntary during the times I’ve struggled to meet people, I’ve come to really appreciate it. I now actively enjoy it and love using it to travel places or go to a movie on my own on my own schedule, without worrying about others.

    The friend thing is a daily struggle though. I’ve tried MeetUp which has yielded one new friend, but it’s still an uphill battle – and I’m an extrovert! But I think I just really need to be more aggressive. I’m totally good chatting with people but I’ll admit I don’t always strike up a conversation with the person next to me when I probably could.

    Also, I miss having guy friends! Since my boyfriend and I moved, I’ve made a few girl friends but very few guy friends, and I truly miss having them.

    • Irene

      Very late here, but where in Michigan are you Kina? My email is (Amazon Internet ginger Rome) @ ( outlook ) dot com !

  • marbella

    We just moved to AZ at the end of last year and I have definitely been struggling (I work for myself, from home, so no colleagues). I joined Meetup though, and that’s been helping me get out there and do stuff with other ladies. I can’t say I have any new ‘good’ friends yet, but at least I get to speak to people other than my husband, and I will keep trying!

    • Rebekah

      I know I joined the AZ APW group you set up (thanks!), but I do live in the Bay Area. I want desperately to move back and would be glad to meet up around Christmas when I visit.

      As far as making friends, my FBIL just moved out to Gilbert in Feb and has had luck finding groups online that get together. He just went to a board game meet up. I also bought him a 2-for-1 taster at a local brewery to make friends. I played Ultimate frisbee (in my experience, they are always great people in any city) and can hook you up with that info. He is also making friends at work and at the young adult group at church.

      If you email me (or facebook) with your interests, I can help point you towards stuff! rrichgel at asu dot edu


  • Tanya

    This post. So perfect. So needed. I’m starting to feel like any hope I have for new friends is just far-fetched at this point!

    I’m from Toronto and was happy there, but picked up my life and moved to Brooklyn to be with my now-husband. Husband’s job can’t have him move to Canada right now, and I have firmly concluded that New York is the best place to *visit*.
    I have really amazing, longstanding friends back home who I left behind, and silly me thought I could get in with husband’s pals’ wives when I moved here. Not so! One of those girls is best friends with husband’s ex, and apparently we’re all still in high school. (Seriously, we lived *next door* to the ex-is-the-best-friend-couple and I was never once invited inside or taken up on any invitation I gave to her for ANYTHING. On the flip side, the other half of the couple was my husband’s best man). The only one in this group who was nice to me kind of threw me aside when the rest of the Plastics finally accepted her. It’s behaviour that is shocking to me, especially given the fact I’m about 5 years younger than all of them yet somehow more mature… I don’t want much to do with them now but when I see instagrams of them all hanging out in a bar in my neighbourhood I still get pangs of hurt. I was frozen out without even being given a chance!

    I’ve managed to make 2 girlfriends here but we almost never see each other due to time and distance, and one of them is a mom. I’ve been too shy to actually go to anything on Meetup.com, and honest to goodness, I’m a home-body. How does a home-body make friends? I’ve always joked that I’m a great Do Nothing Friend.. Come over, watch a movie, eat food and drink a bottle of wine? Right up my alley. It’s relaxing and easy on my wallet.

    At my job there are a couple nice girls I’d like to be friends with who are around my age, but I don’t really know how to break the ice, and I don’t think they know how to handle me as a Married. I’ve got this unshakable awkward duckling feeling now, having been spoiled with knowing my older friends for years.

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen anything yet about a New York/ Brooklyn APW group. Does such a thing exist??

    • Jaci

      I’m also in NYC and, while recently married, would love to start (or join?) some sort of NYC APW meet up!

      I live in Harlem, so the distance between there and Brooklyn can be daunting, but if you’d be up for grabbing a coffee or a drink sometime, I’d definitely be interested. Let me know :)

      jaci.czarnecki (at) gmail.com

  • Jules

    As an introvert, what helped me was going to meetups where chatting would not be the main object of the meetup, such as board game meetups and knitting. Board game meetups didn’t work that well, as we discovered that most of the really popular party games are very dependent on pop-culture, as is humor, so it was hard to be able to do trivia or come up with witty repartée. However, it was with knitting that I discovered my peers.

    At first I would just go in, say hi and knit, listening to others’ conversations, without the pressure to participate except when someone asked me something or if I wanted to add to the conversation. I was able to just knit and keep to the sidelines. Then I just kept on going. After showing up constantly, I was able to hold my own and get comfortable with the girls, even though the group didn’t stay the same, people came and went, it was something I did to get out of the house (I was working at home then, and now I freelance, so no colleagues). Now I also volunteer, and have met friends there, so it is getting better! And the best part is that at this point, we totally meet and chill on the couch and chat and watch movies while we nom on something. It feels good to have friends!

  • Mei

    I definitely relate to this post having moved across the country after college. It helps that my partner is an extrovert (being more of an introvert in large groups/with new people). I feel like San Diego has a lot of transplants, but that hasn’t necessarily make it any easier for me. I’ve been here a year and I’d still like to make new girl friends on my own as most of the people we hang out with are “couple friends”/my boyfriend’s guy coworkers (not necessarily a bad thing-I love them!) I’ve always been more comfortable around guy friends, but I’m definitely missing my girl BFFs from college. Thankful to have met a few, but it’s not the same (or as easy) as making “instant” friends like in college. This post was comforting to see so many others in a similar situation.
    Nervous to go out of my comfort zone and attend a meetup…but a knitting meetup sounds promising (A perfect excuse to have something to do with my hands/eyes).
    Any other San Diego APW readers out there? Not married or wedding planning (yet) but APW has the best discussions on the interweb!

    • Claire

      Hey! I’ll be moving to San Diego in early September. All the way from NEW ZEALAND. So I really won’t know anyone! My fiance has lived there before, about 6 years ago, so has a few connections, but other than that… Totally agree that APW has the best discussions and always up for a knitting session.

      • Mei

        Good luck with your move Claire! Feel free to say hi when you’re here…you can reach me at meilouisa @ gmail dot com!

        • Claire

          Thanks! And I’ll totally be in touch!

    • Zoe

      Hi Mei and Claire! I’m in San Diego as well! I moved here about a year ago for my fiance to go to grad school and, working in a non-profit with only one other person, meeting lady friends has been challenging. I’d love to meet up! Give me a shout, zwalmer (at) gmail.com

      • Claire

        Cool! Will do once we’re settled in!

    • Lindsey

      I just stumbled across this post, but we should do a San Diego APW meet up! I moved here six months ago and wouldn’t mind meeting new people.

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  • I met one of my best friends when she saw my flier advertising English classes (we were both expat English teachers in Spain) and called me up and literally said, “Hey do you want to be friends?” At first I thought she was crazy but I said yes and we’ve been good friends ever since. She read at my wedding last year.

    I’d add to Rachel’s advice to say yes to everything. I’ve moved around a lot and though sometimes I didn’t feel like taking the first step myself, I would accept almost any invitation (within reason), even if it didn’t sound like something I’d absolutely love to do. I rarely regretted going to new events with new people, but I usually regretted the times I declined and stayed home, wondering if it wouldn’ve been fun.

  • London group revival? It seems there are lots of us in the comments here generally. https://www.facebook.com/groups/278017722229016/

  • It’s just so nice to know that there are other people going through the exact same thing (and that I’m not a huge loser).
    I moved overseas to be with my (now fiance) a year ago and found it so hard to make friends. Everyone else seems to have 50 friends they can barely keep up with as it is, and between working and seeing my partner there didn’t seem to be time to seek out new people.
    Different cultures also have different approaches to making friends – the period of “acquaintance-ship” is much longer in some parts of the world. Once you’re friends you’re friends for life, but it takes a long time.
    After a year I have a few people I can call for a drink, but accepting the fact that I’m never going to have the same friendship group, or the same number of friends as my fiance, was really hard. Thanks for making me feel like I’m normal.

    • Are you in the UK? I’m in Spain and I totally agree that there are huge cultural differences in terms of friendship, and it’s been really hard for me make friends too. In fact, the region where I live is known for people who are reserved and difficult to get to know. They don’t want to pry by asking questions about your life, but it’s hard to make friends if it seems like no one wants to know more about you. Plus, most of them have had the same friends since childhood, so they never think about adding new friends (like me) to their groups. It’s frustrating, but hang in there!

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  • Granola

    I haven’t had much time for APW lately (which makes me super sad), but I am so glad I came back in when I did. I just moved out of NYC, where I had finally, after a lot of work, established a good circle of friends, to Norwalk Connecticut, where my husband and I know no one. I’m trying to slowly make new friends at work, but it’s so hard, and on the weekends when my husband wants to spend time by himself, I just get depressed and then angry at myself for choosing to put myself in this situation.

    Thanks for the reminder that making friends is always work. And if there are any lovely APW ladies in the Stamford/Norwalk/Westport area, I’d love to be your friend.

    • Amy

      Oooh, me, me! We’re in Fairfield with a toddler but are totally free when he’s down for bed at 7ish. And I miss SoNo and the beer garden!

  • Erin

    Ohmigosh, thank you to Rachel for posting something so spot-on – and thanks to everyone who commented! It’s such a relief to see so many women in a community that I’ve liked for so long having a similar response to mine. Making friends as an adult is hard, and made worse by how many moving pieces there are. My husband’s friends are great (I moved to be closer to him after college, so I’m not near any of the friends I grew up with), but they’re all people he knew in high school (or middle school!), so for the most part he doesn’t have tons in common with them except the shared past; other friends are having/raising kids, which conflicts with my commute to New York that gets me back home around the same time a toddler would be going to bed. I’m such an introvert, but all this sounds like advice I need to start practicing.

    Are there any APWers in northern NJ? Everyone in this corner of the internet has been amazing, so if you’re reading these comments I’m already inclined to think you’re a cool person.

    • merryf

      Hi there! I’m in northern New Jersey! in Bergen County! I love this thread. It’s so interesting that all of us APW-ers with different life experiences and different stages of life, all feel the same thing, that it’s so hard to make a friend as an adult. I too have struggled with making friends at this stage. I have so many friends around the country, but that sure doesn’t help when I want to call someone up and go out for a beer or a glass of wine, or do something crafty on a weekend afternoon, or even go to a park and walk the dog. I got married late in life (mid-40s) but at the right time for me, and it was always hard to keep being friends with people I knew for a long time because their lives changed, and mine didn’t really. Now, they all have children and are busy and have made friends through their kids’ schools and activities etc, and for someone who isn’t part of that world, I feel like it’s harder for me ’cause I have almost zero in common with them any more. I, too, work in NYC and commute but on the weekends I would love to have a friend to do something with, when my husband goes back to see his buddies on Long Island.

  • Heather

    “I mean, everyone knows a woman’s real best friend is her dog anyway; I have two and they love the same things I do (waking up early, grooming, growling at people who come near our food) and they call me every five minutes… just like a BFF should.”-This made me laugh out loud at my desk because it is hilarious but also so very true. I love our dog and he loves me and we both understand when the other just wants to be left alone or just hang out and not talk…
    Thank you for this post Rachel-the honesty and insight is exactly what I needed to hear today.

    I really appreciated this post because I constantly worry that there is something wrong with me. That one day I am going to look back and regret not making more of an effort at making new friends in area where I live. I am so busy between grad school, working full time, and now add planning a wedding to that list- that I relish moments to myself. An hour in target to wander around alone-yes please! Reading a glossy magazine and drinking a cup of tea in complete silence-perfection. I have some really wonderful friends but they are spread out over the US and different time zones. But sometimes I feel lonely for a friend to just join me on a long walk on the trails around our neighborhood. I met a really nice person the other day who lives in my neighborhood and also loves to walk, but I was too shy to ask her if she wanted to join me for a walk sometime. This post inspired me to be a little braver next time but also not to feel bad when i just want to be alone.

  • Susanna

    Super timely for me! Since moving to Long Island three months ago for my husband’s new job, I’ve really struggled to find new friends. Luckily, the church we attend has several younger couples our age and they are lovely. Lately though, I’ve really wanted to start some friendships of my own (i.e. have nothing whatsoever to do with relationship status).
    I did just go on a blind friend date last night, though, and it was great. I was actually super inspired. She knows my husband through work, and straight up asked him if I (we had never met) would want to hang out some time. I could learn a thing or two about proactivity from her.
    Also- is there anyone here on LI want to meet up?

  • Mira

    My problem is that I grew up in a military family and had a new set of friends every year, and now, as an adult, I seem to make friends with people who have constantly itchy travel feet or who are from another country. Most of my close friends have disappeared to far away lands now, while I’m looking forward to staying put for the first time in my life! Argh!

  • This is awesome. When I was living in DC I used to say that making friends was a lot like dating. You had to be outgoing, but not too pushy, had to prove you weren’t desperate (no one wants a clingy friend), and “cool.” I have found the best way to make friends as an adult is through work, through your activities, through your current friends, and through happenstance. I think about my local friends and they are people from work, people I met in a running group, people I met because I happened to move into an apartment next to them (happenstance) and their friends that I’ve met through them. You do need some common denominators – work, apartment, activities – I think.

  • varina

    Hands-down the best piece on female friendship I have ever read: http://therumpus.net/2012/01/transformation-and-transcendence-the-power-of-female-friendship/

    It is simply gorgeous.

  • Rae

    speaking of APW meetups — anyone in Cleveland, or NE Ohio?

    26F/engaged/looking for platonic fun! :)

  • CherryBlossoms

    This hit SO close to home. My fiancé & I were talking over the past holiday weekend that we need to make more friends. We are late to marriage & family for our area, so most people we know have children and almost never go out without weeks of advanced planning.

    Any AWP readers in St Louis, MO metro area?

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  • Stefanie H

    This really seems to be a problem if you’re involved in the academic world as well. All academics are so nomadic, it gets to be hard to keep people around to hang out with. I moved to the Denver area to get my MFA in fiction at the University of Colorado, and made some great friends, and when we finished our program everyone moved away! Now I’m living in the suburbs just outside of Denver, after having decided to stay here because my fiance’s whole base of family and friends are fairly close, and I’m essentially starting to scratch. So anyone in the Denver area?

  • Gabs

    I came across the article a bit late. I though I was the only person out there that had issues finding/making new friends and keeping the ones I have. When I graduated HS I stopped talking to the people I used to hang out because they were mostly “party friends”. I only have one bff from HS that I still talk to, even though she was a junior when I graduated. We used to hang out all the time, until 1) she got a bf and 2) we stopped hanging out with our little group. Granted other than my bff, I only thought of the people in that group as “people I hang out with”. So I haven’t seen my bff in about 5 months, even though we live in the same city and we only text when we have a comment about a celebrity/movie or something along those lines. If she does ask me to hang out it’s either with her and her bf or her, her bf, and her bf’s friends. I’ve hung out with her and her bf, but I always feel like the third wheel. Apart from her, the only other people I talk two are two of my cousins, but we don’t go out often.

    My issue here is that I consider my cousins more of my friends than my bff. Her and I have never had a deep friendship. We just went to the movies, dinner, clubs, bars and never spoke of anything other than celebrities, movies and our acquaintances and coworkers. I you asked me her favorite color or favorite food, I have no clue and vice versa. And I guess, that is what I’m yearning for, a friend who I can talk to about stuff other than celebs.

    Now, I’m 24 and going to FIU in Miami, Fl and I’ve found it hard to make new friends. The only people I’ve come close to making friends with, were some of the girls from my french class this summer. And perhaps I’m a bit shy to do what Rachel says and just be like “hey wanna be friends” or “want to grab some lunch”. I always feel like I might come off as a total creeper. I mean, I’m friendly and very talkative, so it’s not that I’m completely shy. But seen as I’m not the only one out there with this problem, I’m gonna try and make an effort to be more outgoing.

    Any AWP readers in the Miami area?

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  • Ann

    Thank-you for your wonderful piece. Friendships are so very hard to develop once you are an adult. I am a single white female living in southern Connecticut. No kids…. If anyone out there likes dogs, cooking, walking, galleries, movies and laughter… send a reply!! :)

  • Love this! Now that all of my close friends are scattered across the country, I’ve been having a crisis of friendlessness. I will definitely have to keep all these tips in mind. Thanks for the advice!

  • Kathy jerman

    Any North Seattle people interested in a new friend, movies, lunch, hangout.

  • Misty

    I love what you have to say here, I struggle with this. I just feel like most of the people I meet have enough friends already and there’s no room for more…

  • I totally agree! Making friends as an adult is really tough. As a result, I was part of a team that started http://www.neighborsations.com which helps people make friends in their neighborhood by introducing them to others with similar interests. We’re in our pilot phase right now in DC, but check it out!

  • Renee

    Moved to Hosuton 6 years ago, and it took be getting back in to Tennis three years ago, to find friends, boyfriend and frenemies. Houston is very hard to make friends because so many people are in and out.

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  • Anita

    Thank you for this post!! This post rings so true for me! I am married, no kids, live in Toronto, Ontario, and while we have a couple of friends try as we might we haven’t been able to expand our friend circle. It has been difficult as we moved here 8 years ago but did not go to school or university here which is where one typically cultivates strong friendships. My husband has accepted that at our age, in our mid-30s, people we who could be closer friends are in different stages of life than us and don’t have the time. He also has a theory that people who enjoy drinking (a lot) have more friends as they are like to get sloshed and bond over stories of “Remember when we got so drunk that…”. Unfortunately for me 2 drinks are my limit and I don’t understand people who get drunk for the sake of getting drunk and that has pushed me out of friend circles I could have been a part of. While I am not an extrovert, I am not an introvert either. I had one disastrous meetup group meeting and never tried again. I dance salsa and have a few “friends” through my dance school – but none where we can just chill together. I would like to have more female friends who share interests/values with me but it has been an uphill battle.
    If there is anyone here in Toronto Ontario, looking to hang out, to do stuff, dance salsa, go to the movies, even double date, my email is salsagirlto@gmail.com.

  • I totally love this article. I moved out to New Jersey from California a couple years ago. I have a couple of friends in neighboring states, but no one close to where I live. I really need to put myself out there and meet new friends. I like that you said sometimes you’d rather walk around Target by yourself, I love to do that! I have to figure out my friend pick-up line (that cracks me up). Happy friending!

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  • Hello! My name is Jess, and I run a food blog called Floptimism where every week I write a post called “Weekend Wrap Up.” Basically, it’s where I highlight some of my favorite web finds from the past week to share with my readers. I loved this article so much that I featured it on this week’s wrap-up, and wanted to let you know. Thank you for such a great blog post! I’ve included the link below in case you’re interested. I hope you had a great weekend!


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  • Belladonna

    I’m a little late to the party, but hey, I still made it!!!

    I found this post at the perfect time, as sometime in the next couple months I’m moving halfway across the country from one tiny tiny town to another small town to be with my boyfriend/future husband. I’m moving to an area that’s completely new to me (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), and where I know basically no one but the man and his family. Thanks for all the tips, I’ve got this page bookmarked for future reference. :)

    If anyone out there wants to hang out with a bookish, soon-to-be-stepmom who loves to cook and bake and maybe play board games, shoot me an email.

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  • Andrew

    Nice article, Rachel,

    When figuring out where your potential friends hang out I feel it’s important to consider what your own interests and passions are and find friends in those areas. Common ground is very important in friendships and will determine to a certain extent how often you meet up and how much time you spend together.

    Being overly shy, having poor self-esteem or an inferiority complex need to be ditched. These things give off a wrong vibe, may cause us to behave strangely and worst of all hold us back from having the friends we desire.

    Yes, knowing when to quit is also very important. We are all stewards of the social slots in our lives. When friends prove unresponsive, chronically passive, apathetic or indifferent it’s time to seriously consider giving their social slot to someone else.

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