“Do you want to go to a flapjack eating contest?” I often think about how different my life would be had I said no to this question a year and a half ago.
I was living in Portland, Oregon at the time and visiting my cousins in Newport Beach, CA. They had to go to an event one afternoon so suggested I go to a flapjack eating contest with one of their friends in Laguna Beach.
I had about a 0-5% interest in attending. But, I made a cocktail and my interest peaked to about 25%, which was enough for me to hop in an Uber.
I met Brittany, the girl pictured above and below, at that event. She was there with her boyfriend at the time and didn’t know anyone either so the two of us got to talking. When I told her I was a writer, she told me she ran a book and wine club on Balboa Island. Coincidently, I found my dream house on Balboa Island a few months later and after I moved here, I reached out to several people from that party to find her contact information. She is now one of my best friends!
Sometimes you have to try things that are a bit unconventional to make NEW friends in your twenties and thirties. Most of us are no longer in school, so we’re not constantly surrounded by people in our age group. From the outside it also looks like everyone already has an established friend group, so moving someplace new and starting over can feel intimidating. But something I’ve learned from moving around quite a bit in my twenties is that people who appear to have a lot of friends don’t always have the kind of friendships they’re really looking for. And people who really do have quality friends are almost always still looking for new ones as their lives change. Maybe their friends are getting married and having kids and they’re not. Or they recently got a new job that requires them to change their lifestyle a bit so they could use more friends who are on the same page.
I hope the tips for making new friends below are helpful—whether you’re considering moving to a new place or you are staying put but feel like you could benefit from expanding your circle!
1. ToneItUp (or other workout community): I have met SO many amazing female friends from ToneItUp, a workout community started by best friends, Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn. There are ToneItUp groups all over the country and anyone, from any fitness level, can join. Each week, girls get together to workout and also do other non-fitness related activities. This past winter, I went on a ski trip with a huge group of girls I met through ToneitUp. I’ve also heard that Orangetheory is a great place to find community, and attending classes at any gym is a great way to make friends and stay healthy!
2. Craigslist: Choosing a good location when you’re moving somewhere new is important, but finding a roommate you hit it off with is even better. When I moved to Charleston years ago, I wanted to live with someone my age, who could possibly be a friend because I didn’t know a single person in the city. Fortunately, that ended up happening. My brother and his friends have also met tons of AMAZING people in San Francisco just from ads they posted when they’ve needed new roommates. So if you think Craigslist is just a place to buy a cheap couch, think again!
3. MeetUp: This is an online resource that allows users to meet up with people who share similar interests. MeetUp events are also great because everyone in attendance is looking for new friends, so you don’t have to feel weird about admitting that you are too.
4. Instagram: I met a wonderful new friend this year on Instagram. I had searched a hashtag, liked her photos, and messaged her about meeting up to collaborate on a project. She replied that she would love to and we met for coffee a few weeks later. The two of us ended up chatting for several hours before we realized we hadn’t even gotten to talking about the project! The girl who designed the bracelet I’m wearing in this post, was also someone I met on Instagram. While Instagram can sometimes be a negative thing, it also has lots of benefits if you get creative about how you use it.
5. City Sports: It’s one thing to meet new friends, it’s another to maintain these new friendships. City sports are great for this because you see the same people week after week. Last year I joined a flag football team with mostly people that I didn’t know. Check out your local city sport listings. You can register without a team as a free agent as well if you know no one and you’ll be placed you on a team with all new friends!
6. Neighbors: Back in the day I HEARD that neighbors used to come to your door with cookies if you were a newcomer to the neighborhood. I haven’t found that to be the case anywhere I’ve moved, but I still like to get to know my neighbors so I often bake cookies and go introduce myself instead. I’ve been fortunate to have neighbors everywhere I’ve lived who have become close friends. They’re also such fun friends to have because it’s so easy to get together with them!
7. Go out alone: While it can feel intimidating to go out alone, I’ve found it’s actually a lot easier to meet new people when you do because you’re approachable. A few weeks ago, I went out to a different happy hour in Newport every night and met several new friends.
What’s worked for you when trying to make new friends? I would LOVE to hear in the comments below!