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Thursday, June 27, 2013

195

You're One in Eight Million

When you are single in your twenties you are given certain steps to find a partner. Friends are an integral part of most of them. You need a friend to be your wingman at the bar, to help you write a good OK Cupid profile, to think of someone decent to set you up with. While searching, sometimes you feel lonely. But you're never really alone—you have friends.

Fewer guidelines are available, however, when you are new to New York City and friendless, missing even that first step. No one is there to help you. You talk on the phone to a friend in Denver or your boyfriend in Chicago or your mom in Florida but when you hang up the apartment is silent. You're alone.

Until this point, your friendships happened through a vague combination of forced institutional socializing, classes, sports and booze. None of your friends can remember exactly how they became friends with each other. But now you are an adult, and now that friend-making is a conscious act, you realize you don’t know how to do it.

Everything you've ever learned about meeting people is for meeting potential boyfriends, and in your case, the same rules don't hold up. If you make eyes at a girl on the train or even, more boldly, walk up and tell her you admire her cowboy boots and noticed that she's reading Anne of Green Gables and would she like to get a coffee sometime, she will most likely assume you are either (a) looking for a date or (b) a friendless loser stinking of loneliness. Category (c)—a cool person who had a lot of friends before she moved to New York, honest—is rarely on the table.

Because everything else about moving to a big city—finding an apartment and a bike and your way around—is made easier by having a to-do list, you decide to make one for friend-finding. You can cross things off as you go, satisfying your organizational impulses.

The first step is roommates. It would be great, you think, if you could just move in with someone cool. An insta-friend, like one of those pills you put into water and a minute later you have a dinosaur the size of your hand. You have limited means, so you don't have much choice about where you'll live, but fortunately this is true for many of your peers. After a Craigslist search you move into a converted loft in Bushwick with three other girls—more people, you think, better odds.

But it's pretty apparent, from the moment you play the new bluegrass album by The Devil Makes Three before dinner and everyone makes a face, that they are not going to be your friends. It's nothing overt. They're nice enough, but you don't have anything in common. One of them has an photographer boyfriend and you fall asleep listening to them fight about his relationships with his models almost every night. But you really want this to work, so you do the worst thing you can do, which is fake it.

Pursuing a friendship with someone you don't have anything in common with is like faking a British accent: it always comes off like you're trying too hard. You are trying too hard. You say, “What a coincidence! Fashion week is my favorite week of the year too,” but you don’t even know when fashion week is, and they can tell you’re lying.

You go to a party with them. This should be great. You're surrounded by people, out on a Saturday night. One of your roommates is nodding thoughtfully while a guy tells her about his noise band. Another is blowing coke. The third is standing next to you but not talking, because you don't share any interests or a sense of humor and it's two in the morning—too late, or too early, to fake it. Friends, you realize—more alone at this party than you were when you actually were alone—aren't just people to fill your hours with.

After that party, apartment conversations start to happen around you, rather than with you, and you have to admit it's for the best.

The next logical step would be coworkers. But you work in an office full of middle-aged parents—even if they had anything in common with you, they don't have any time. Onwards. It's time to put out the call for friends of friends.

A carefully composed email goes out to all of your far-flung friends, asking if they know anyone in New York. Though actual close friends of friends turn out to be scarce, a lot of people have at least a cousin or an old coworker or a childhood playmate living in New York. They send introductory emails and you do the rest, scheduling lunch, coffee or drinks.

On your first blind friend date you meet a girl for lunch. She's just come from a yoga class and is still wearing her Lululemon headband. She orders a salad and a smoothie. You order a tuna sandwich. Her eyes bug out and she starts talking about her dietary restrictions. When your food comes she wrinkles her nose. “No offense, but gluten will kill you,” she says. “And I won't even tell you about tuna.” You take the rest of your sandwich to go.

A few days later you meet a girl who wears mile-high shoes even though it's snowing, and talks all throughout coffee and a muffin about her hilarious friends and how busy she is, and for some reason when she stops for breath and you have a chance to share something about yourself you decide to tell her that you still really like jam bands. It comes out too fast, fueled by your urge to share secrets. She laughs a little and tries to disguise it as a cough. It's the fact that she tried to hide it that hurts.

You keep meeting these semi-strangers; there are at least a dozen others. Most are perfectly nice, normal people who simply aren't for you. It's subtle—there's nothing glaringly wrong about them—you just don't feel it.

You find yourself having to think about “it,” about the feelings that constitute friendship. The feeling of being with someone else who fits you, who gets you, whose company energizes you; around them you are funnier, better, more generous. Things about you that seem weird when you're alone are transformed into something special when you're with them. You have any number of friends just a phone call away, but you need someone like this in the same room with you. Someone whose apartment you can go to when you've had a bad day, or a great day. Someone who would choose you to be the recipient of their bad and great stuff too.

This has never been so difficult. You begin to believe that instead of being everywhere like you'd thought, real friends are rare. There should be a click when you meet a real friend, like the sound of a safe being unlocked in a heist movie—all the burglars suddenly elated, the suspense relieved. You're sweating like a jewel thief every time you set out on another blind friend date, waiting for that click.

But there’s no click. The girls are not compelling, and the boys don't usually buy the premise that you're really looking just for friends. When you tell them you have a long-distance boyfriend, most of them never email you again. Some of them will even be angry. One of them says “I have enough friends,” and accuses you of wasting his time. “Why would you get coffee with a strange man when you have a boyfriend?” he says, and when you hear it put that way what you've done sounds weird to you too.

After this disaster you decide to join Meetup, a website that is like online dating, but more embarrassing to talk about. You worry that you won't meet anyone worth being friends with because all the cool people already have friends. What kind of loser would have to sign up for this thing that you are signing up for right now? But it's another thing to check off your list.

Scrolling through the list of groups—everything from pick-up dodgeball to nude model drawing sessions to karaoke parties—you finally select a knitting group. They meet at a bar, which seems fun and young. Knitting is hard and that will give you all something to talk about.

You buy knitting needles and yarn, and also a knitting guide called Stitch and Bitch, because you want to know the basics before you show up. Feeling as nervous as if you were going on a job interview, you prepare in much the same way: by doing research. You watch the latest episodes of a few shows and leaf through Us Weekly at the drugstore check-out so that you'll be able to participate in any pop culture discussions. You make a list of your favorite books and bands so that, in a moment of brain-clearing panic, you won't forget.

Just outside the door to the bar, you stop. Your heart is beating so loud it's embarrassing and before you can even think about it you cross the street to get some distance. You watch the bar, stamping your feet in the cold. People are going in, some are women, some are men; it's hard to tell who is here for the Meetup and who isn't. What if they all know each other already? What if you forget how to talk? What if they don't like you? You call your best friend who lives in another state. “I think I'm having a panic attack,” you say, and because she is a real friend she listens patiently and then tells you to suck it up. “You're great,” she says. “They'll love you.”

You hang up, cross the street and walk into the bar. There, in a corner, is a group of totally normal-looking women knitting away. They seem older than you imagined—solidly into their thirties, maybe a decade older than you—but none of them look scary. You walk up and introduce yourself. They say hi all at once like you're at an AA meeting.

What ends up happening is that you have a perfectly fine evening with a bunch of newish moms, all of whom are amazing at knitting and have nothing in common with you. They invite you to come back the next week and you feel pride at being asked—you are likeable!—and a guilty sadness too. Because you won't go back. There aren't any friends for you here.

You cross off Meetup. Another item on your list is to go out and mingle like you did to meet boys back when you were single and had friends, but you can't quite bring yourself to do it. It feels weird to go to bars alone, and your mom reminds you that it isn't very safe for a lady either, so you stay home. At first you read, but this exacerbates your loneliness—especially when you come across a line about New York in Frank O'Hara's Personal Poem: “I wonder if one person out of the 8,000,000 is thinking of me.”

Maybe you're being too picky. Maybe you were just lucky with your early friendships, and the click you’ve been wanting is a myth. Shouldn’t you be pursuing everyone you’ve met? You're the one who needs a friend. Just one might be enough. Maybe real friendship really is like gold: rare, and also once you have a little bit it becomes easier to get more.

In a few weeks you'll go on one last friend date, lunch with a girl who had to reschedule the first two times around and whom you'd almost written off. You'll meet her outside a deli on a blustery spring day. Though you've never seen each other before, and you realized on your way there that you forgot to ask what she looked like (what a rookie mistake), you know when you see her: this girl with the long skirt, big smile, and shaggy hair must be her.

You hear a click somewhere.

“I'm famished,” she says after you hug hello. “Let's go inside—they have great tuna sandwiches.”

You, the two of you, walk to a nearby park and eat your sandwiches in the sun. The friend date is still awkward and stilted at first, but only because you’re both a bit shy. You bite your lip with all the nervousness of a first date—you really want this to work, you really hope she likes you—and tell her that you like The Devil Makes Three. So does she! There's a tattoo on her foot, a line of poetry, and you know before she tells you that it's from T.S. Eliot.

Unlike a date-date—where there are proscribed things to say and a kiss at the end means you both did all right—on a friend date the outcome is murkier. But there was that hug, the easy conversation, the tuna and bluegrass and poetry. And something subtler: sitting on the grass with her, you inhale the scent of trees and dog pee and halal vendors, and within it all, not a whiff of loneliness.

Mary Mann (@mary_e_mann) lives in New York and writes a column about dead essayists for Bookslut, among other things.

195 Comments / Post A Comment

Linette

This is beautiful and amazing and so, so right.

avocadosandwich

@Linette Totally. And meetup IS embarrassing to explain to people. I totally WAS this terrified girl, walking up to a bunch of meetup people knitting in a pub. I don't do meetup anymore, but what I found was that 90% of the women I met in meetup groups (myself included) were there because they were trying to get back on their feet post-breakup, so at least we all understood each other on that level.

avocadosandwich

@avocadosandwich but yeah this is a really great piece

causedbycomma

@avocadosandwich Yup, that is pretty much what I used it for...

xzvewtew

@Linette Unbelievable~~Wow~ My friend Lynn has just married to a handsome black man met through ~~InterracìalCirclê. Çoм~ They told me it is a Specialist interracial online dating & social networking site for black and white singles interested in an interracial dating and relationship. If you are interested in black women dating white men, white women dating black men, you have reached the right place. You can find the man or girl of your dreams.

nina!

I get that sometimes you can tell if you won't get along with a person the first time you meet them. But maybe occasionally it takes more than one meeting, you know?

Although I'm not confident enough to compliment a complete stranger on their wardrobe or novel choice myself, I don't think it's an awkward thing to do! It doesn't make you a loser, either!

But I am happy this had a happy ending.

aphrabean

@nina! I also recommend intergenerational friendships! (Though I hesitate to call the 10 years between 23 & 33 intergenerational, right?) I don't know, I've always had lots of friends who were way younger and/or older & it's always been really nice & good.

aphrabean

@nina! I also recommend intergenerational friendships! (Though I hesitate to call the 10 years between 23 & 33 intergenerational, right?) I don't know, I've always had lots of friends who were way younger and/or older & it's always been really nice & good.

nina!

@aphrabean It's refreshing to not always talk to people your age, agreed! I particularly like having younger friends -- my former students, for example! -- because it feels good to help them with their problems. (And I learn about pop culture.)

aphrabean

@nina! Slang! I love learning new slang! Also they stay up late & have a lot of energy and are in that delightful adventurous life phase where they just go DO shit, which I admire and am not ever going to do again if I can help it. Older friends are great b/c anything that you've done, they've done like 5 times already & that can provide some very necessary perspective.

sophia_h

@nina! Eh, every time I try to force a friendship with someone I knew I didn't click with right away, I find myself with a nice but increasingly awkward acquaintance. I'm kind of an oddball, my interests and personality are different than about 95% of the world, so I really do have to direct my energy towards finding that kindred 5%

Edit: by which I don't mean "I'm a special snowflake!" but more "I was a dork in school with like 2 friends and my personality is a little intense for most people."

nina!

@sophia_h That makes sense and I definitely understand! For me, it sometimes takes more than one meeting for me to feel really comfortable talking to someone.

I guess I meant to refer to how the author met lots of "perfectly, nice people" with nothing "glaringly wrong" -- not necessarily vastly different interests or personalities. In my opinion, those are cases where it might not hurt to at least have a second meeting.

0.001percent

@sophia_h Hah! try having that be 0.01 % ! I totally know what you mean....!

It's hard when even the weirdos look at you and are like... "man, you are really a weirdo, aren't you? you're nothing like us."

And you are like, yep... it's true. I don't belong at your table either. I TOTALLY am ready, already for friendship-date sites to take off! It's totally disrupted the old-fashioned way of getting romantic dates exclusively thru friends/family/work and chance meetings.

I realize that sex had to come first because hey, people want to do the deed & find someone to partner with, but it's time for there to be some good friendship shopping/finding sites to take root. Meetup is okay if you have a specific interest, but it's not exactly a way to meet specific people that you might "click with" beyond a shared interest which may or may not mean you actually have anything of real substance in common or the ingredients for a friendship. Just because we both like nature doesn't mean we will like each other. Now if we both like nature AND philosophy AND cognitive science AND science fiction AND social deconstruction AND emotional intelligence (or, 4 out of the 7 categories) then the chances increase significantly.....

Everyone has specific books or movies or bands or other touchstones and subjects that are meaningful to them, and can help to find other people who are on their wavelength. I think it's only like 10% of the population who are innately natural expert social connectors. When you remove things like college, or church, or long-time neighbors... you need something to fill that void. The neighborhood dive bar is not a blanket substitute for all of these social venues -- not that I think they are sufficient in and of themselves, with the possible exception of college, which does provide a pretty comprehenseive -if mostly age specific- variety for social engagement.

LiterarySara

Honestly it took me a few years to get good, solid friends in the city I chose to live in as an adult. I had sort-of-friends when I first moved here, and those either drifted away or eventually evolved into good, solid friends, which was not always the apparent outcome. But when as I got older and had an easier time being myself, it got easier finding people I could roll with.

Good luck, kiddo!

Tuna Surprise

This is fabulous! It's just like my life. Except I'm in my thirties and didn't make a friend in the end.

RNL
RNL

@Tuna Surprise Try knitting?

Chesty LaRue

@Tuna Surprise Me too. Well, I joined a knitting meetup and also a book club, and so far so okay. At least it's some social interaction, right?
You don't happen to live in Vancouver, do you? New best friend?

Hiroine Protagonist

@Chesty LaRue Vancouver, BC?

Chesty LaRue

@Hiroine Protagonist Yep! Do you live here? *crosses fingers*

Hiroine Protagonist

@Chesty LaRue Why yes, fellow 'pinner! Mount Pleasant represent! Do you like...stuff? (like bikes?)

Chesty LaRue

@Hiroine Protagonist AAAAAAAHHHHH
Email me? rock and roll nicole at hotmail dot com!!! Without spaces, obvs.
And I'm in West End, and I DO like things. Like bikes! Although I need to get a helmet.

Cat named Virtute

Oh god, this brought me back to my Montreal years. Even though I'm back in my hometown now, I haven't made a new friend in a while, and I'd love to sit on the grass and eat sandwiches and talk about poetry and bluegrass with someone new.

Lovely writing, Mary. I will look up your Bookslut column! I am an avid but erratic fan of the writing there.

melmuu

This is beautifully written.
When I was new to the city, with no close friends, I managed a cafe. All the girls I worked with were about five years younger, and they always invited me out with them, but for some reason I had it in my head that I needed to find friends my own age, and that I'd be kind of a loser hanging out with girls five years younger. Anyway, I finally went out with them, and about eight years later, they are still my closest friends and they are amazing, and I can't believe I almost didn't have them in my life because of an age hangup. So I guess what I learned is, no need to put arbitrary limits on friendship when it's staring you in the face. : )

Jinxie

@melmuu Plus, I think the older you get, the less an age difference matters. The gap from early 20's to early 30's can be quite broad, but the gap from early 30's to early 40's is, or can be, almost non-existent. Of course, most of the friends I have who are ~ 10 years older still have similar life styles/life experiences to me, so we have a lot of common ground. (And my bro and his wife and their friends are closer in age to me than a lot of my friends, and I've got almost nothing in common with them and wouldn't be friends with them if I weren't related to them.)

KeLynn

@melmuu - I have been thinking of getting a little part-time retail job at a woman-oriented place almost exclusively for the friend-making opportunities.

melis

NEEDS MORE PUA TACTICS

melis

There’s only one way to get the true friendship success you desire. You need to get out of your head and into hers.

You need to stop trying to memorize what stage you’re up to, the mindset you’re supposed to embody, the routine you’re supposed to deliver, and start paying attention to the most important part of any pickup – the friend.

But, if you want to be able to pay attention to the woman you’re interacting with while being an attractive and compelling kindred spirit, obviously something has to change.

To find out what that is, download BOSOM BUDDY TIPS from the right hand side of this page. You can have it delivered instantly to your inbox.

melis

Alternately, just put her hand on your heart. She'll tell you if she doesn't like it.

meetapossum

@melis If she doesn't like it, give her 10 minutes and then try it again. Persistence is key.

whizz_dumb

@melis Couldn't find your download so I searched your bold phrase. Click the following link if you want Breast Friends Health And Beauty Tips For Your Bosom Buddies.

whizz_dumb

Included thereof are gems such as: "According to experts, your cleavage gets lots of attention..."

hahahaha, ja.

@melis: Oh my god, I completely missed that piece when it first came out, and now I'm reading through it and I think my eyebrows just popped off of my face.

puaftn

@melis

If at any point your subject wants you to stop, s/he will let you know. If they says "STOP," or "GET AWAY FROM ME," or shove you away, you know they are not interested.

It happens. Stop escalating immediately and say this line: "No problem. I don't want you to do anything you aren't comfortable with."

Memorize that line. It is your go-to when faced with resistance. Say it genuinely, without presumption. All masters of gregariousness are also masters at making people feel comfortable. You'll be no different. If the person isn't comfortable, take a break and try again later.

puanfg

@melis

needs more negs:

nice shoes my mom has the same ones

You and I would make great friends
Really?
No


"You blink alot"


*after a lost pool/dart/whatever game*
Impressive. Now I realize that behind every great pool/dart/whatever player lays a wasted youth.


I like your look, lot's of girls have beauty but you seem like you have character.


Hello? Uhm Im talking, wait your turn.


You have an interesting sense of humor.

Oh. (pause) you're one of THOSE girls.

I think I like your left eye best...


*** these are all real negs taken from pua websites.

*wipes sludge from shoes* I'll leave you with this bright note...

a newbie asks, "what's a neg?"

A. "negs" are meant to lower a woman's perceived value (inherently raising your own).

Reply: yeah i'm a total beginner..I guess i should stick with raising people's value around me then

Inkling

@puanfg
Those remarks work fabulously when used on the obnoxious boys themselves, however.
Is it because the values thing works, but only on XY creatures?
Is it because they think we are flirting when we're like "yeah, I remember my first time to a bar, too"?

Citizen Christy

This is good, really good. Since I started going to Hairpin meetups I feel much less friendless in the city, but it is so difficult to just go out and Make Friends. You're absolutely right--before it was almost force of habit, you're at school, they're at school, you live in the same hallway, you click just enough. But when you're a grownup there's none of that.

Cawendaw

@Citizen Christy Also I think in school situations there's a lot of shared stress and mutual growing that make people mold to each other more easily. When you're not reinventing yourself every few months based on who's around you it's a lot harder to grow into a friendship.

fondue with cheddar

@Cawendaw Yeah, everyone is at the same place in life. Nowadays it seems like everyone I meet is so DIFFERENT than me. It's hard to find other fortyish, divorced-but-dating, childfree, still-trying-to-figure-out-this-life-thing people.

Sea Ermine

Aw, I would have gone back and hung out with the knitting moms. 10 years is not that big of an age difference, unless it's like 15-25 or something.

Mae
Mae

@Sea Ermine I agree. I have a good friend who is seven years older than me, and has kids. I met her at work, and she's fantastic. (although she lives in another city now :( )

sophia_h

@Sea Ermine Man, I was thinking I wished I had newish mom friends in their 30s who knitted. That's my demographic! Sigh.

themegnapkin

@Sea Ermine also, knitting is how I made friends in my city? We've been meeting for nearly 5 years, and the group is kind of fluid (and, I'm 5 yrs older now), but generally spans from early 20s through 40s, and at times we have a lady who I think is in her 60s. Only 2 have kids.

cocokins

@Sea Ermine Totally agree. I'm 28, and I found a kindred spirit in a woman I work with who is in her 50s (older than my mom!). She has three grown kids. And yet...we never run out of things to talk about! She's so fun and funny. Our personalities just click! Different life phases CAN be a hindrance, but that difference can also be one that binds you together!

questingbeast

This was great. Although I do think you need to keep hanging out with the not-going-to-friends past once? Knowing people, even if they're not-going-to-be-friends, is one of the best ways to meet the going-to-be-friends.

tealily

Not to be a dink, but I do tend to tune out with "when you are new to to New York City." I've been new to a few different big cites, but New York was not one of them. Wonderful piece, and more universal than you think.

stuffisthings

@tealily Agreed about the universality -- as a dude, in DC, I can relate to MOST of this. (Also: continuing to be Facebook friends with people you don't really intend to hang out with.)

tealily

@tealily Sorry for eight million typos. You guys know what I mean.

sophia_h

@tealily yes, and when I moved to a new, population 6,000 town I couldn't email my social circle to ask if they knew anyone there.

Girl Named Jack

One of the reasons I love this site so much is that, I get to read a fantastic essay that really speaks to me. Then, I get to read the comments and feel like I am a part of a bigger conversation. But the best part is when I remember to read the tags and alt-text. It's like an after-dinner mint.

SarahP

@Girl Named Jack I always forget about the tags until another commenter says something about them! Thanks!

SarahP

Ahhhhh that moment you blurt out something slightly embarrassing (like a love for jam bands) because you're trying to "share!" This happens to me almost every time I talk to people I don't know well. On the plus side, it makes people feel close to me sometimes (I think). On the minus side, I don't feel said closeness because I'm too busy dying inside at having just told a mere acquaintance the date of my next expected ovulation.

beecaveroad

@SarahP I do this too kinda and I see it as basically a screening mechanism. I want potential friends who aren't going to judge me for slightly embarrassing things because whoo boy is there more where that came from.

Cerasi

@beecaveroad Yeah, this does work sometimes! My only work acquaintance who has ever become an actual friend started to become such after I confessed to her (semi-strategically) that I was re-wearing yesterday's shirt due to having lost my second shirt somewhere between the office and my boyfriend's apartment. She later said that was the moment she decided I was cool, which is a little bit ironic, but whatever, friends!

parallel-lines

@SarahP I feel like there is an oversharing gene, and I have it. My mom will tell a dressing room attendant about her hysterectomy at the drop of a hat so I really have to reel it in so I don't become that.

penultimate toothpaste squeeze

This was so wonderful!

But as someone moving to New York in a few weeks who has always made friends by mooching off other friends, it's making me a bit worried...

Citizen Christy

@penultimate toothpaste squeeze Seriously, try a Hairpin meetup. And then hang out with me. I'm moderately fun.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I made a good friend by taking a tip from my kindergarten self and asking. I was working and ended up sitting next to a stranger while on assignment, and, as we are ladies of the same generation, we got to talking.
"It's so hard to find friends here," she said. "Other than roller derby, I don't know how else I'm supposed to meet people. All the women our age are either married or have kids and don't want to just hang out."

"Agreed," I said. "Well, what about you? Do you like beer? Do you want to be friends?"

We exchanged numbers, I joined her book club, and boom, three years later we are good friends.

angelinha

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I was new to a city and made work-friends with a girl at my office. She switched jobs shortly after I got there and I asked, "Can we be real friends after you leave?" and three years later we are ALSO good friends!

nina!

@angelinha It's remarkable how being so direct can often be effective, because it vocalizes things people wanted to say but were to scared to.

Zwetschke

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Yes, this! I am a shy person who has moved around A LOT so I have learned to become good at making friends quickly despite myself. I think the key is really being forward and persistent--just keep looking until you find some people who do "click" even a little bit, and when you do don't be afraid to make a move. Once I moved to a new city where I knew NO ONE. I noticed two couples who lived in my building who were around my age and looked cool, so I made them cookies and delivered it to them with an awkward speech basically saying "I swear I'm not creepy but I need to get to know some people? And maybe you like cookies?" and it totally worked! I'm still friends with them! One couple ended up being a better friendship fit than the other, but I think it can be healthy to have friendships with people that aren't an easy fit sometimes--it reminds me that the world is strange and diverse, and that not everyone wants what I want from life!

beecaveroad

Ahhh I'm currently living in my first post-college city (New Orleans) and thiiiiis. Oh god. BTW, anyone for a New Orleans Hairpin meet up?

Big Rig and Jesse

@beecaveroad Oh man, I found New Orleans so easy to make friends in! Yes, I had the benefit of college, but I found people very open and friendly. You're going out, right? For drinks and shows and sandwiches? Talk to the people in line at the snowball shop! It will be great!

Creature Cheeseman

@beecaveroad I've been wanting to make a New Orleans pinup happen! Let's do this!

flimflannery

@beecaveroad I will be there in July (for a week), and I would make NOLA my forever town if I could get a job there.

beecaveroad

@Creature Cheeseman yes! How do we make this happen??

anachronistique

Now I'm just sad that I haven't had a chance to hang with lobsterhug or Daisy Razor in ages. (No, but this was great.)

sophielouise

Dude - this is exactly what I just lived through. I'm only in New York for another month, but I'll be your friend!

City_Dater

So glad you made a friend!
But don't write off Meetup, or being friends with people of another generation either. If you were already a knitter, rather than someone who had to buy needles and yarn just to go to the meeup, someone among those "older women" knitting in the bar would very likely have become your friend. Friendship, as this piece so nicely concludes, is in finding common ground.

sarah girl

This is me, except I haven't gotten to the last couple of paragraphs yet. :( And yes, I tried a Pinup in my city, but I just felt awkward and didn't connect with anyone (partly because it was in a loud bar).

Angry Panda

@sarah girl Yeah, this is me too, without the happy ending. No Pinups for me because there aren't any Pinners here, although I did make an awkward appearance at a Boston Pinup once when I was visiting.

KeLynn

@sarah girl - I, too, went to a pinup and was kind of disappointed that I didn't make any besties out of it. Everyone was just lovely! But it was kind of awkward and I felt like they all got along together better with each other than I did, and I had to cut out after an hour and a half for a previous engagement and blech.

katzenklavier

@sarah girl I almost went to one once and got so nervous that I turned back at the door of the bar and biked home! So at least you got past that point...

Wookiee Hole

Oh man, I am all up, in, and around this article. I just moved to the Portland area from Northern Virginia with my gentleman friend. He has one friend in the area, but I don't know anyone (outside of coworkers, who are okay but seem to be at a different place than I am)and I'm just feel very awkward and shy. I want to try to assert myself and do the things, but it's just feels very initmidating.

Wookiee Hole

@Wookiee Hole So maybe what I'm saying is, someone in the Portland area wanna schlep to the suburbs/meet up in an easily found location in the city? I'm cool, I swear!Not an axe murderer!

Phlomis

@Wookiee Hole Weeelll, that depends on which side of the river now, doesn't it? No, really, I'm free for a hook-up! I've been here a while and am an old, but I have positive attributes, promise! I'm in SE, but am mobile.

Wookiee Hole

@Phlomis I'm in Beaverton and also mobile and would love to meet up! Any particular day that's good for you? I think a Saturday would be best, as my M-F job has me leaving at 6:30 now and I have a second retail job on sundays.

Phlomis

@Wookiee Hole Saturdays are good for me generally. Wanna take the planning off-site? I'm phlomis3 at gmail.

Pound of Salt

You know, I've found with most of my closest friends that the "click" didn't happen right away. Some I actively disliked at first. But either because we worked together, or were in the same social circle, the more I was forced to be around them, the more I loved them. But you're not going to do that with someone you meet on a friend date, so...I don't know what the solution is.

paddlepickle

@Pound of Salt Same here. My two closest female friends are actually people who lived on the same floor of my dorm my freshman year of college, but we were only acquaintances then. Then random circumstances brought us together years later and now we're super close. But this is definitely not a solution, because most of my friendships have happened by. . .magic? But honestly most of my romantic relationships have happened by magic too so maybe there are no solutions to anything, only magic.

Mae
Mae

I relate to so much of this, especially the part about wanting to be friends with someone you know you don't click with, but continuing to try anyway.

Lisa Frank

A huge chunk of my social life is thanks to the Hairpin. Love you, "pinners!

sophia_h

So our childbirth class instructor encouraged us to make friends, so we'd know other people with babies, and I went to high school with one of the guys and he's a geek like my husband and I, and after chatting after the first class I thought we'd laid some groundwork towards maybe becoming friends. But then I guess in the second class I was way too open in the "fears" breakout group we had, because all the other girls looked at me like I was a weirdo, and then last night in the third class the guy I knew and his wife were talking to the hippie couple and literally no one would talk to us or make eye contact during the breaks, so as usual being an adult is pretty much exactly like trying to make friends in 7th grade, ie I seem to give off some pheromone that makes people avoid me. Group socializing, I hate you so much.

RoxxieRae

@sophia_h oh, GURL. This. I am just as likely to make a witty joke as I am to announce for some reason that I am going commando in inappropriate company. It gets all fucked up, all the time. And then I actually feel like I am carrying a tray through a hostile cafeteria. Fortunately, BOOZE.

sophia_h

@RoxxieRae Yes, booze! It took until my early 20s to learn that my tendency to motormouth whatever comes into my head is considered completely fine as long as I and present company have consumed at least two drinks apiece! Sadly, not such an option in childbirth class, so I guess I'm just going to be totally silent for the rest of the class.

nina!

Wait, can we talk how about that dude who said, “Why would you get coffee with a strange man when you have a boyfriend?” is sort of a table? Was it necessary to get angry..?

KeLynn

@nina! "table"? Please explain this slang, I am not hip.

nina!

@KeLynn Okay, this isn't used often, but one of my favorite bloggers coined it after some Rep. Barney Frank sassiness.

Onymous

Like if I think about it yeah I've probably had quite a bit in common with the various people I've known but on the other hand "having things in common" seems like such a non-indicator for me. Hell if growing up small town taught me anything it's how to be "friends" with people I basically find repulsive on fundemental levels. Not even in a back biting kind of way just a constant level of avoiding huge swaths of topics and reflexively steering conversations towards neutral ground.

causedbycomma

This was so sad and beautifully written...

paddlepickle

Wow, am I really gonna be the first person on this comment thread to be like "HI AUTHOR LADY CAN WE BE FRIENDS?!?!"

I mean, seriously. . .I'm not lacking in friends because I've lived in NYC my entire adult life, but I could always use some more! If this offer is not completely creepy we should totally go on a friend date. I know a bunch of fun places to see live bluegrass in the city!

City_Dater

@paddlepickle

If you announce a "Bluegrass 'Pinup," I will totally show up for it. So it will at least be you, me and Mary!

Amardine

@paddlepickle Me three! I came down here to say the same thing. Except I am also new to NYC and in need of more lady friends!

madzilla

@paddlepickle Yeah, girl, I was thinking the same thing. I'm really hoping that the Pinup tomorrow will be an answer to this essay (which was beautiful, and the last paragraph made me tear up--so either I'm lonelier or a little drunker than I thought I was).

ohfiddlefaddle

@paddlepickle me four! i moved here last July and i still haven't found my people....

the little c

@paddlepickle

ooooh me too!

adriana

All of you, come to the Pinup tonight, I will say hello IRL!

milkybaggy

Calling all Toronto Pinners! I have only been in the city for 2 weeks and I would love to make new friends! I am interested in almost everything - running, eating, dancing, solving mysteries, pulling pranks, doing cartwheels, writing stories, scaring seagulls. If you want to try new restaurants, I'm your girl. If you want a tomboyish feminist in your life who also enjoys wearing lipstick and watching rom coms, I'm your girl. If you want someone to hit over the head, I can provide a head for you (it won't be mine). If you want someone to tell awful jokes and be a general fool for show, hit me up. you know you wanna.

torontoghoul@gmail.com

squeefish

@milkybaggy Hi! I've been scouring this thread for mentions of Toronto, since I'll be moving there soon to start grad school and would also like to make friends (somehow I am the only Canadian who doesn't know a soul in the country's biggest city). I like High Literature and Harry Potter fanfiction, huge dogs, sensible shoes, BBC period pieces, atheism, hot yoga, angry feminist rants, and dark beer, and it took me an embarrassing amount of time to come up with that list; providing charming self-summaries is not a talent of mine (even though I'm a writer -- the shame!).

...You're not looking for a roommate, are you? Apartment-hunting in TO is pretty depressing when you're used to Winnipeg prices.

Jinxie

@milkybaggy Your post makes me sad I don't live anywhere near Toronto - you sound like my kind of people.

milkybaggy

@Jinxie well that means you're just going to have to come visit!

milkybaggy

@squeefish I just moved into my first big-girl apartment on my own (turning 25 - the year of big changes) so no roomie needed. But, you should be able to find something no problemo, depending on your budget. And whether you like bedbugs/basements. WELCOME 2 TORONTO, IT IS VERY HOT HERE RIGHT NOW.

weathering

@squeefish Other Toronto 'pinners! I actually moved here a year ago, but at the time was maybe only going to be here for a year (now at least two more), and was busy with work and settling in, etc etc, and the net result is that I didn't make any friends. My goal is to change that this year! And I also like all the things on your list -- except for hot yoga, which makes me feel like I'm about to pass out just thinking about it.

There should totally be a Toronto 'pinup. (Have there been Toronto 'pinups? Have I just been unlucky enough to miss them all?) Is there someone out there other than me who is willing to organize? I would help, it's just that I don't have the first idea where to start.

Lianne

@milkybaggy I wish you lived in Edmonton!!!

milkybaggy

@weathering @squeefish Looks like there hasn't been a Toronto Pin-Up in quite some time. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/hairpin_pinups

We need some moderators to help promote Pin-Ups so we can all get together and have a ball in every different city.

berthamason

@milkybaggy I am in Toronto, love making new friends, and am into all the things you listed! (particularly scaring seagulls, we have a lot of those) I have lived here for a while but many of my friends have moved away, so I have lots of time for hangouts. There is a Hairpin Toronto Facebook group that is a little more up to date, but I am not sure if there are any events happening soon. Emailing you now!

berthamason

@squeefish @weathering Sorry, totally meant to include you both in the above comment but my internet skillz failed. I'm not a Facebook group admin but please add yourselves :)

I'm actually potentially looking for a place in September and have many awful months of Toronto apt hunting experience under my belt, so I might be of help! I'd be happy to take you through some choice neighbourhoods. If anyone wants to chat: berthamason789 at gmail dot com.

manders

@Lianne I live in Edmonton!

George Templeton Strong

I've been in New York since dinosaurs roamed the land but I always found New York to be a pretty friendly place. Granted, I'm a guy, but in the pre-iPhone era when you actually had to leave your apartment to interact with other people it was simple enough to strike up random conversations. I live by the motto "Always You, Never I", meaning that when you're chatting away the conversation, initially, should go something like, "Do YOU live/work/come to this neighborhood a lot?" "Really, so do YOU..." "YOU did that? Amazing." And then the other person will catch on and do the "YOU/not I" thing. If they don't it's time to move to the other end of the bar/the other part of the apartment/wherever. This is especially helpful advice if you work for yourself but find yourself going into offices unknown to you, like I do. Does the office have a kitchen? Are the elevators a little creaky so there's some wait time? At one company I consulted for I was the first person to learn that a guy who'd been there for 30 years was getting a divorce. I'll be seeing him tomorrow for lunch!

adriana

Nice! "Always You Never I" is something to remember.

I did an experiment last month. I knew exactly where I was going but I kept asking people for directions anyway ("My phone died"). It was fun! Also funny how many people had no idea where they were and pulled out their phones to look it up.

George Templeton Strong

@adriana I am CONSTANTLY asked for directions and give them gladly, and truthfully, if I know, or I say "I don't know" if I don't. I've been asked for directions in Hawaii (I'm not from there and don't look Hawaiian), London (every time I go there), Rome, Barcelona, France, everywhere I go. It's a special joy to try to explain in halting French to a family of non-English speakers with equally limited French capabilities the direction to "la plage." In Rome (which is a very difficult city to get around in, since some of the streets are so obscure and some of the major ones change names often) I had a native Roman ask me for directions. In my passable Italian I explained to him that I had just been on the street he wanted and pointed the way but he might want to ask someone else. He said (in Italian) "But you seem to know where you are. Mille grazie!" That is a great way to have incidental run ins with people.

cheerybeggar

Do dudes ever go to Hairpin meetups? As a gay dude new to NYC, I've done the Meetup.com thing a little and have met other gay dudes, but my bosom friends have tended to be ladies. Would I be the only dude at a Hairpin meetup? Would anyone care?

bluewindgirl

@cheerybeggar Totally allowed! I'm trying to think of how to say this without sounding tokenizing, but there's a gay guy who comes to lots of Hairpin meetups by me and he is the best. One woman's opinion.

metermaid

@cheerybeggar: wanna be my friend date to the next one? I always want to go to the big ones but I'm always a little afraid of going alone! And you would definitely be most welcome at the pinup, I'm sure of it.

Annie N

@cheerybeggar i've never been, but i'm sure no one would care!

adriana

@cheerybeggar You should come tonight! 8pm, Lolita bar.

beatrice

This just made my heart reel and soar and float and...and...I guess what I'm saying is: I feel you.

Also, this is why I love The Hairpin.

bluewindgirl

I met at least 75% of my LA friends, directly and indirectly, through a couple of different Hairpin meetups. True story!

up cubed

@bluewindgirl: I tried this, but ended up feeling like an Uncool Old. Everyone was quite lovely and welcoming though!

queenieliz

@upupandaway hi! I pressed send by mistake! I was going to comment that the fear of feeling like an uncool old or something was what has kept me away from pinups (everyone seems so young!) then I changed my mind and now I don't want an empty comment so I'll go ahead...um... I hope for both of our sakes that we can try again, with more success.

El Grande Fluffio

@bluewindgirl me too! only didn't feel uncool so much as just plain old. Exacerbated by doing math in my head and realizing that had I started earlier, these women could have been my daughters.

up cubed

@bluewindgirl: I'm glad you did fill the space :) I've been to a few Pinups and also the Pin book group. Everyone was very cool and I felt really welcomed. However, I just didn't click. Most of the pinners were focused on finding their feet after college, which is a pretty different life stage than the one I'm at now. That said, I think there's always a slightly different crowd at each event, and I wouldn't give up after 1 event.

alliepants

so, this could be me being unnecessarily contrarian, but I feel like the first thing I thought when I read this story was "well, lucky her for having so many great friends growing up/in college/where she lived last."

But I feel like life is better when you just try to appreciate whoever is around? Instead of coming up with all these reasons they "don't get" you? Like, straight-out personality conflicts aside.

Just think it's important to note that having a social support system of "your type of people" anywhere is really a privilege.

Mae
Mae

@alliepants I know what you mean. I've never had a lot of friends, and was mighty jealous of a college friend who had a crew of best friends from high school that she was (and still is) very close with. I guess I've never really been part of a posse, although I do have individual friendships I value highly.

Friendship is at least as hard as dating. It doesn't help that we're surrounded by false, aspirational images of friendship that can be damaging and anxiety-inducing in the same way that romantic narratives can be. Oh, you're not part of a gang of girlfriends that meets for brunch and cocktails all the time? LOSER.

rallisaurus

@Mae I've always had posse-envy. I was bitter for a long time in college because I felt like my best friend growing up abandoned me for a posse. I've always felt weird for being on the I have a few friends that I see when I can end of socializing rather than I have a million friends and we're always together end. But sometimes I have posse envy.

Ellie

@alliepants I don't think it's a privilege! I think everyone has the right to have friends that you really like and feel close to, and to feel sad if you don't feel like you do. I don't think most people realistically expect a "posse" and that that's not what this is about.

alliepants

@Ellie Yes, but from what I gathered, she DOES have friends that she likes and feels close to, they just don't live in the same city. I think everyone should have "their type" of people, but I also think it's a privilege to have a bunch of them around.

I think my main problem with this was that she seemed to be writing a bunch of people off because they don't like the same things that she does. Whatever happened to trying to get to know people, whether or not they like the same bands that you do? I think that New York, specifically, is place where lots of that happens, because everyone is crammed on top of one another so they HAVE to get to know different types. The writer just struck me as really judgey. If you're trying to make new friends you shouldn't be going around deeming perfectly nice, normal people "not compelling." That's actually really rude.

Writer -- you're homesick. Own it, and then try to get to know the people around and stop automatically judging everyone on how they might or might not fit into the perfect little world of "friendship" that you have in your head. People might surprise you.

juniper

I moved to a new city about six months ago, and man, does this essay ring too true.

I guess what I'm saying is -- anyone in Seattle want to get a drink sometime? Maybe do some awkward knitting in a pub somewhere?

Mae
Mae

@juniper I replied but it ended up below this thread. I'm game for drinks, or awkward knitting in a pub (although I baaarely know how to knit).

jbird

@juniper and @mae My boyfriend's little sister moved to Seattle a few months ago and I would love to set her up with you two. Is that weird? She's great. Loves whales, donuts, and good times. Is there a way we could do this?

honey cowl

@juniper I live in Seattle & I knit! Do I already know you? Probably not right?

Pandito

@juniper Can I join you guys? I likewise moved to Seattle 6 months ago, and I still only know like, 2 people. This essay was like reading the inside of my own head right now.
I'm bad at knitting, but am good at drinking beer and oversharing. I also just started reading The Shining Girls, and OMG I need to talk to someone about how great that book is. (It's very great)

Beaks

@juniper I'm game! Someone name a neighborhood and/ or a bar.

Random observation- I just started taking swimming lessons through Seattle Parks and Rec (mega water anxiety here), and the demographic for swimming lessons also seems to be mostly pretty cool women?

Also, if any of you for any reason hang out on/ have thought about hanging out on A Practical Wedding, we've pulled off two meetups so far and are planning another for August- it's a pretty similar demographic to the Hairpin- just different focus for topics.

Mae
Mae

@Beaks How would people feel about Capitol Hill? Or downtown,so we can be more central? How about Wednesday, July 10th?

What neighborhood do you take the swimming lessons in? I've been wanting to do that for ages so that I can someday maybe do a triathlon.

Chareth Cutestory

@juniper Okay, as an awkward knitter living sort of near Seattle (and whose friends are all living in different states), I gotta get in on this. I want to hang out with all of you!!

Beaks

@Mae Wednesdays are the one day I have plans. In general, downtown is excellent for me, Capitol Hill is somewhat less convenient but do-able.

If people want to email me at beaks1234 at outlook.com, maybe we can hammer out some details? We should probably get a Doodle poll going or something...

I'm taking lessons at the Evans Pool at Greenlake. They're really reasonably priced- $70 for 10 half hour sessions. And that's with a 1:4 ish instructor ratio.

martini

@juniper You guys! There's a Seattle pinner FB group, are you in it? Not sure if one of you started the thread there, but we're meeting up next week! Wednesday! Somewhere in Belltown! Everybody come! Here's the group URL: https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/344407768935077/

Mae
Mae

@martini Thanks - just joined it! I'm pretty sure I can make next Wednesday.

juniper

Yes! Everybody come hangout next Wednesday! (I'm the OP on that Facebook thread, so it's nice to meet everybody over here, too)

juniper

@Chareth Cutestory First of all, I love your name, we have to awkwardly knit together sometime.

juniper

@honey cowl I don't know any other knitters around here, so I feel pretty safe in saying nope!

Coming on Wednesday?

juniper

@jbird Yes, definitely! Check out the Facebook group that @martini mentioned!

ChloeCatastrophe

I moved to my first post-college city in the fall this is still so true every day. But throw in being a single woman and unable to hang out with single dudes without somehow giving them the wrong idea all the time?

Lady-friends, where art thou???

Cawendaw

Oh, and which Eliot poem was it from? Inquiring literature BAs want to know!

Hot Doom

For the past couple years, I've been pretty lonely in a new town. I have been wanting to go to a 'pin up by my work usually conflicts with my local 'Pin chapter. However, reading this site and the comments, at the very least, reminds me that there are other kindred spirits out there, and I recognize some of the same qualities and senses of humor here that I see in my closest friends who live in other states and countries. It doesn't make up for not having IRL bosom friends where I am, but it does make it a little easier. Thanks for being my for-now friend-crutch Hairpin!

Essa Kay what?

@Hot Doom I am in the same boat. (Hello, boatmate!) I haven't managed to meet many people in the two years that we've lived here. Most of the people I've met seem nice but it doesn't go much further than that. I was glad to make friends with some neighbors, but it turned out that they were more interested in finding nearby people that they could ask for constant favors (not kidding; it's weird). I've been working on it a little more lately, though. Part of "working on it," is trying to remember the password I made when I registered for this site a while back, failing, then resetting it, and then remembering how I never actually posted before. Oops. (Not a creeper, I promise!)

Mae
Mae

@juniper I am in Seattle! Let's get drinks! Do you have a non-identifying email you could share? (I don't, but I can make one.)

juniper

@Mae Yes, yes! I'm shannon at orangecloudhandmade dot com. (You know, mildly identifying. Or super definitely identifying.)

MilesofMountains

My story is similar, but ends with me deciding that I don't have to be bestest friends ever to have a friendship. I have many friends where I wouldn't say they're "my type of people" they're just people I get along with because if I sat alone waiting for my friendship soulmates I'd have a very lonely life. Maybe that's a little sad, but "my people" don't seem to be so thick on the ground.

Mae
Mae

@MilesofMountains I've come to a similar conclusion, and I actually think it's a healthier way to approach people. Less: OMG are we kindred spirits? and more: oh! we can bond over these things we both enjoy. If they do turn out to be kindred spirits, that's also cool though.

rallisaurus

@MilesofMountains I didn't find "my people" until I went to library school. But I still don't have any best friends, just people that don't think I'm weird for wanting to read and knit and bake all day and go on presidential assassination tours. It is nice not to feel like a weirdo all the time.

alliepants

@MilesofMountains YES exactly. And maybe the friends have other friends who ARE "your type of people."

Also, I never understood why I would want to be around a ton of people who are exactly like me. That sounds boring as hell.

TATABox

@MilesofMountains I realize this is a British saying, but I cannot read the phrase "thin/thick on the ground" without thinking about Eddie Izzard, "Not a lot of jungle in France. Monkeys, thin on the ground, thin in the air. Just generally pretty trim." Kills me.

loren smith

Seeing everyone arranging fun new pin-ups inspires me:

Anyone in Victoria?

queenieliz

This article could not be more timely for me...I've recently decided that I need to make concrete steps to finding new friends, it's helpful to read this essay and the comments and know that I am not entirely alone. I have ventured lightly into meetup, but no luck so far so I guess I need to cast a wider net...and work on myself, cuz I know I am my own biggest hurdle.

mangosara

@queenieliz same same same. I am ashamed to admit I find myself preemptively judging the people doing Meetups (even though I am basically exactly like them except I'm too much of a weiner to actually DO one) and I totally get the "my own biggest hurdle." I used to think I was outgoing but I think I'm a combination of anxious in social situations and extremely loud when nervous and or drunk.

angelinha

@mangosara Do you speak a second language? If so, I have found the language Meetups to be less "desperate to make friends" seeming and more, "we are here to work on a skill." I've made exactly one semi-friend out of it, but my Portuguese got better :)

flimflannery

@queenieliz My meetups have been kinda good: I've found one or two cool people there! I think it's okay to be desperate to make friends too- a lot of people move to places where they know no one. It's okay. You don't have to like the whole meetup group: I've found one or two cool people and now we do non-meetup stuff. Also, Young Professionals Orgs sound stuffy but are actually really fun and have tons of cool people in them.

derwoodcharles

one of a million

mangosara

So... Is wanting to make friends a good enough excuse to go to grad school? Because I'm starting to think about it. Meeting people is hard.

mangosara

@mangosara although I would like to say that if anyone sees me in a bar/coffee shop and wants to compliment me on my clothing or reading material I will not think you are creepy. COME AT ME WORLD

blushingflower

@mangosara I would say no.
I'm sure it varies by program, but I didn't make any friends in grad school. We didn't spend enough time together and most of my classmates had other jobs/relationships and most of us didn't live on/near campus. So we basically saw each other in class and maybe worked on a group project together and occasionally the student organization would organize something at a bar or whatever, but there weren't the friendship opportunities that there were in undergrad.

up cubed

@mangosara: I made a lot of friends in grad school, but then you graduate in 2-3 years (for a Masters) and end up going off in different directions. I mentioned this downthread, but shared misery is an excellent environment for creating tight bonds. Grad school is often miserable, and depending on your topic there could be a lot of group projects. HOWEVER, I found that I didn't actually have much in common with those people, except grad school (which turns into work), so they are kinda like coworkers at the end of it all.
I think it would be cheaper and more effective to make some friends other ways.

iceberg

I think I've only had that audible friend "click" once; a daughter of a friend of my mother-in-law's came to stay with my MIL when she moved to the city we were living in, and I desperately wanted to be her friend from the moment I saw her. I called her up and asked her if she'd like to hang out, and I still remember how scary that was - much more intimidating than pursuing a dude for sexytime purposes.
We became good friends - we don't communicate as much these days since I live in the US and she ended up moving to London, but I'm so glad I made friends with her!

Chareth Cutestory

Boy, did this ever resonate with me. I'm already terrible at making friends even WITH the advantage of seeing them every day in classes, so it's particularly bad. Now I'm living alone in an apartment after graduation, and outside of work, I have basically zero social interaction aside from my boyfriend and my kitten. I'm subscribed to, like, 5 different Meetups, none of which I have ever attended. Just last night, I was looking for knitting groups!

Statham

I'm planning to move at the end of the summer to an area where I know no one. This article kind of makes me super nervous because I have incredibly awesome friends here and making new friends elsewhere seems like a daunting task. Especially since the friends I've had here I've known for at least 5-10 years.

I comfort myself now with the fact that we'll stay in touch, and they'll always be my friends, but I'm going to miss seeing them. Especially when I can usually send some of them a text to hang out soon, and we'll go out that evening. :[

smartastic

This is lovely. What I like, in my 30s, about Meetup, is that you meet people via activities. In my 20s, I tried to form friendships based on personal conversation about likes and dislikes, but now it seems much more natural to engage with people based on -doing- something. Anyway, this article rang very true to my experience of moving (back to) this city a decade ago. Good luck in your continued transition!

BUtterfieldGR8

This seems like a lame fangirly thing to suggest on the Hairpin's website, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND organizing/attending a Pin-Up! When I moved down to Atlanta, I went to a Pin-Up without knowing a soul in the city and met some wonderful ladies who quickly became friends. It really made all the difference!

SouthernSatine

@BUtterfieldGR8 AGREED! Go check the Google Groups! I know that this post has inspired several people to post new threads in the group lists.

blushingflower

It is true that once you have friends it becomes easier to make more, at least in my experience.

What worked for me was finding something that was purely social, met every week, and was aimed at people my age who I knew I had something in common with. I'd done stuff that was aimed at young professionals before but they would be one-off meetings and so there wasn't an easy way to keep seeing the same people on a regular basis and getting to know them that way before trying to hang out. I would meet cool people and have fun but then I would never see those people again.

up cubed

@blushingflower: This is why I love group exercise. Same people every week, we're all (happily) miserably uncomfortable and misery loves company :)

Lariope

I love this. As much as it documents the struggle of making friends, it's also like a little tribute to friendship itself, and how much we need it, and how more we should revere and value it than we do.
I ask more of my girlfriends as far as support, care, general hilarity, truth telling, etc, than I generally do of my partners. And yet people rarely ask how we met our friends, or how long we've been together. We celebrate no anniversaries. Friends are amazing, and the world is a hell of a lot better with them in it.
Good luck in making more; the one you found sounds like a keeper.

Sophia.

is the Pinup for tonight in NYC still on? when / where?

Sea Ermine

@Sophia. Yes! 8pm tonight at Lolita Bar.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

Oh man guys, just catching up on this now after an emergency at work yesterday. So poignant!

SouthernSatine

Hi all! Meeting grown-up friends is hard, and I've actually had a lot of success meeting friends through online communities just like this one. When I moved to Atlanta I met most of my friends through Jezebel and Hairpin meet ups.

I now live in North Carolina (Raleigh!), and I'm working on putting together a Triangle meet up. So, if you live in the traingle area, I think you should go check out our thread on the Google group and come hang out with us!

parallel-lines

This is resonating w/ me SO HARD because I'm at this weird transitional time in regard to friends--I've sort of shed some friendships that were shitty (getting married meant not having to go out for the sake of going out and I found myself not really as close with some people who are very self centered), and starting nursing school brought this new group of people into my life. I was hoping I'd find one or two other women who I'd bond with, and we'd have each others back and help each other get through this incredibly intense huge life experience...and that hasn't been the case. 60% of the people in my class seem perfectly nice (I don't know if I'd be friends with them outside of school), there are 5 people I would classify as "sketchy as fuck" (yeah, don't take my notes and put your name on them and turn them in), and the rest seem reclusive - but most attempted relationships seem to be of a "I want something from you" nature, and not in a reciprocal "I scratch your back and you scratch mine" way. I think people have sensed that I'm hard working and really try to take advantage of me, so I've sort of isolated myself a bit to stave off some of the leeches. And since I'm a little older than the other students, I do feel like I get some age discrimination - don't rule out us older ladies! We may not be at the same place in life but we can still be fun and since we're older we're more comfortable in hanging loose with our geeky tendencies.

I remember when I first moved to NYC (many, many years ago) my mom told me it was the sort of place you could be surrounded by thousands of people and feel incredibly alone. It's absolute truth. Hang in there and be patient.

'riel

-cough- Anyone live in Santa Barbara? And like hiking/cooking?

Brunhilde

I go to bars alone all the time. That's how I make all my friends. Coincidentally, all of my friends are bartenders and alcoholics. It also makes it fun when I go out with work friends downtown to a bar I've never been to and the bartender already knows me.

Lianne

I just moved to Edmonton (why?) and am still in the first half of this... Hopefully it will get better... but I work so much it is really hard to find the time to go out to meet friends.
I do knit, and go to a knitting group, where I have met many nice ladies, but most of them are are MUCH older than me and have families. Nothing wrong with older friends, but I didn't feel any true kinship there yet. Though it is nice to have people to knit with.

Chesty LaRue

@Lianne I am (originally) from Edmonton! Take up smoking, everyone talks to each other when they're outside. Or, er, in real advice, email me at rock and roll nicole at hotmail dot com, I can maybe hook you up with some friends who still live there.

TATABox

@Chesty LaRue: I love your username! Makes me want to change mine to Busty St. Claire

Can anyone tell a new commenter (who's been creeping The Hairpin forever) how to find out if there are upcoming 'pin-ups'? Anyone in Austin?

Chesty LaRue

@TATABox There's a google group for that
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/hairpin_pinups

meaux

@TATABox. Also, look for "ATX Hairpinners" on Facebook.

jerolgreg

Thanks for the post.

juklo
juklo

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willregoy101

Love the sense of this post.

cayman

Oh, look at the little baby brat whining about things I figured out in kindergarten. Look, the reason you can't make friends is because you're a pathetic loser. That's it, that's all there is to it. You can't make friends because you're not good enough, not interesting enough, and not cool enough. Enough whining and go out drown yourself already. You have no excuse whatsoever to not be able to make friends, except for your own personal inadequacies.

jiahamid

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dora_leigh

Speaking as one of those middle-aged parents at your office (OK, not literally at YOUR office), it is true that I have really no time to make new friends (I know that sounds awful) and maybe not so much in common with you (although maybe that's not actually true), but I see myself in you and you often remind me of my younger days -- for better or worse. One day you'll be in my shoes, odd as that sounds. Anyway, really just wanted to say that I liked your piece a lot.

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