Notes on making friends as an adult

Notes on making friends as an adult

To be honest, I don’t have too much exciting news to report from my first few days in San Diego. David and I are totally in love with our apartment and our neighborhood: it seems like we have more excellent restaurants, cafes, bars and shops within walking distance than we did back in Brooklyn! But most of our time has been spent setting up furniture, making last-minute runs to Target and Ikea (ah, the glory of having a car again!), taking Gert out to explore the new surrounds and working plenty–both of us are on East Coast hours, so we’re up and at ’em around 6am.

Holy Matcha in North Park, San Diego

I’m sure I’ll have plenty of San Diego and California content coming soon, but wanted to share one of the things that weighs heaviest on my mind as we get settled in. Although we’ve been having so much fun just the two of us (+ Gert!), I’m aware that we both left behind incredible networks of friends, acquaintances and coworkers in New York City. Even though things like FaceTime, Slack and Instagram Stories make it way easier to keep in touch with my best girlfriends, I know that finding an awesome group of ladies down here is going to be paramount in making me love the city. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few of the things I’m planning to do to find friends–that sounded so lame as soon as I typed it, but it’s true!

Joining a sports league and/or committing to a workout studio: I love playing tennis, but it’s been years since I’ve played regularly: it’s crazy how expensive and difficult it is to find a court in New York City. I was thrilled to see that the Balboa Tennis Club  is only about a 15-minute walk from us and has a reasonable yearly fee (especially since you can actually play outdoors year-round here, as opposed to just a few months). I’m hoping to not only join the club, but also sign up for a social league–either ladies or mixed doubles–or some classes to get back up to speed. My parents love to golf, and they’ve made so many great friends through it (my mom in particular–she plays in several ladies’ leagues now)–I’m hoping that we can do something similar through tennis, a sport we both love. We’re also close to a public golf course, so that’s another option–especially if my old knees decide they can’t handle tennis anymore.

On a similar note, I want to find a Pilates or barre studio to go to regularly. Although I feel like making friends at the gym is honestly way harder than it should be, I feel like there are fewer options plus friendlier people in San Diego as opposed to New York SO it might just work!

Taking a class: We want to buy a house next year, so I’m considering taking a real estate class at the community college this fall. I think it’d be helpful to understand the nuances of the process a bit more, and I’m also thinking it could be a nice way to meet people too. I also might look into joining a French conversation group or auditing a business course at one of the universities around here.

Getting involved with an organization: Ladies Get Paid is all about female empowerment and confidence in the workplace, and they’ve been putting on a bunch of cool events in New York City lately. There’s a San Diego chapter, so I’m hoping to get involved and make some lady boss friends. On a same-same-but-different note, I’m going to look into my sorority‘s alumane network here and see if there are any volunteer opportunities through the active chapter at University of San Diego.

Tapping into old contacts: I have a few friends who live in the area–although my best ones are up in Carlsbad, about a 45-minute drive away. But there are also quite a few looser acquaintances from high school and college who live in San Diego proper, so I’m reaching out to a bunch about grabbing coffee or a cocktail!

Reaching out to friends of friends: Zero shame about tapping into current friends and asking them for introductions to cool people they know here–bonus points if they play tennis (see above!) and love pugs.

Do you have any ideas or success stories on making friends in a new city? 

  • Sam

    Not sure if you’re going to be working remotely, but I’ve found that a lot of my best friends have started off as co-workers 🙂

  • Rachel M

    I’ve been in NYC just for 8 months. I didn’t like it until I joined a crossfit gym and started meeting people and feeling like I had a place to go. Now I like it a lot better. Highly recommend finding something like this!


  • Anna Woods

    I wholeheartedly support the sport and volunteering bullet points! Looking back to the year I spent in China just gone, I made most of my friends through my study programme but the friends I did make from outside it came from zumba (a very unexpected new hobby, haha) and volunteering! and i didn’t go into either of them thinking they were friend making strategies, so i was slower off the mark in converting acquaintances into friends than you will be haha. all the best for making gorgeous friends! Xx

  • Kristen

    Girl, I feel you. Still trying to figure it out over here. But something I found that helps especially for book related things: look at a local bookstore. Besides usually having tons of events, they usually have book clubs too. I’ve found that to be great when you don’t have a friend group to form one – the bookstore handles facilitation and hosting, so it’s low-pressure.

  • I second the volunteering idea! I just moved to Washington DC and didn’t know anyone in the area until I started volunteering, and I’ve met some very interesting people that way.

  • Taste of France

    Kids and dogs help. Parents talk to each other, and dog owners talk to each other.
    Classes are good. I met lots of people in dance class and socialized with them outside class. French class less so. I’ve found that classes in my neighborhood are even better–I took a gym class and met other neighbors, and we started socializing. Now, a decade later, we are close friends with several couples.
    Work also is an avenue, especially if you work at a big company. You may hit it off with people in other departments, and you have an easy way to see them and keep the relationship going. Eventually, at one job, a group of us had “salons,” taking turns to host a dinner with a discussion about a topic chosen by the host. Everybody would read up on the topic ahead of time. It sounds intellectual, and in a way it was, but the main benefit was that we didn’t talk about work, which bored our partners who didn’t work in the same place.

  • Many times, people always form friendships with colleagues; they are, after all, the people you spend a good amount of time with every single day of the week. I also like Meetup.com I grew up here in NYC and have solid social circles, but I first joined to find events/play dates for my two dogs (mini-daschunds). Within a few years I also joined a snowboarding, hiking, and, taco-lovers groups and have met lovely people in each group whom I am still friends. Some of them are usually new to NYC, and I’ve happily introduced them to my friends as well. San Diego seems like such a friendly city; I’m sure you won’t have a hard time making friends.

  • Briel79

    It’s hard making friends as an adult. My office is small with only a few people around my age and I’ve tried to be friends outside of work but everyone seems to want to stick with their own circle outside of work hours. The past few years I’ve had my sister to hang out with (but she’s moving back to Vacaville in a couple weeks) and we also have a few cousins that live down here so that’s a nice little built in friend group. I’ll be getting a new roommate when I move into a new apartment in La Jolla soon and hopefully we will hit it off! She’s French so that will be interesting to live with someone with different life experiences than me.

    Have you thought about working out of one of those co-working places and not just the apartment? I’m sure you’d meet people that way.

    I’m always down to get together! We could start a San Diego book club! haha

  • These are such great tips!! Thanks for telling us about Ladies Get Paid, I can’t believe I didn’t already know about it.

  • camorose

    I am working remotely, which is so tough! So many of my best friends from NYC were coworkers 🙂

  • camorose

    Yes! I need to find a workout studio that I love and stick with it!

  • camorose

    Thank you! So glad to hear you had some success in this area! 🙂

  • camorose

    Ohhhhh I like that idea a lot!! Definitely will check that out!

  • camorose

    Oh I love it! Will have to find some volunteering orgs!

  • camorose

    Yes to dogs–I need to find some other dog owners for me and dog friends for Gert! Working remotely is definitely the toughest challenge in terms of making friends that way, although I love the idea of the work salon–so fun!

  • camorose

    Yes! I’m going to a pug meetup group this weekend!

  • camorose

    Yes! I have looked into the coworking spaces although they are SO expensive–I was surprised! Need to check if any of them have networking events open to the public though!

  • camorose

    Yes! You should definitely join, they have a bunch of great events in NYC!

  • Alex Horton

    I also just moved to San Diego and am looking for ways to make friends! I can totally relate to being in the “couple bubble” getting settled into a new place, but now that things are mostly unpacked I am definitely doing to put some of your ideas into action!

  • camorose

    Oh awesome! Can’t wait to hear it how it goes 🙂

  • Your answer Antoinette very inspired me! I`m going to live in the new city so i hope to find good people there. Because as everyone else i want feeling welcome on the new place. Thanks so much.

  • camorose

    Good luck!