A year ago today I packed up everything that was left in my apartment, took an Uber to SeaTac airport and flew to New York. I arrived at my new apartment in Manhattan exhausted, but ready to start my new life. Today is my first New York-aversary!
It was my birthday a few weeks ago and two of my best friends from college were visiting me in New York. They commented on what an amazing community I’ve built here, especially since it’s only been a year. They’re right. I’m so blessed with the incredible friends who make up my family of choice in NYC. Some people I’ve known for many years from their time in Seattle, but many are new friends I’ve made this year. In a city of more than 8 million people, I’ve luckily found some of the smartest, funniest, most caring and honest people. Each an every one of my friends here supports me and challenges me to be a better version of myself.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to meet people in a new city. When I moved to Seattle 9 years ago, I didn’t know anyone. In Seattle, they talk about the Seattle Freeze and how hard it is to actually make friends. Luckily, both my brother and sister had moved to new cities and gave me some tips which have worked well both in Seattle and New York.
Common Interest Groups
For my brother it was running and skiing. For my sister and I, it was volunteering. When I moved to Seattle I started volunteering with Seattle Works. It was a wonderful way to meet like-minded people and give back to the community. I especially enjoyed Team Works because you volunteered for several months with the same group of people. I am still close with many of the people I met on my first team 8 years ago.
When I moved to New York, many people recommended I check out New York Cares, which is a sister organization to Seattle Works. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a couple projects with them and met some great people!
If you’re trying to meet people in a new city, doing something you already enjoy is a great way. Whether you’re an athlete like my brother or philanthropic like my sister and me or you prefer something totally different, there are plenty of groups to join. Meetup is one great way to find a group to join.
Many colleges have alumni groups across the country, which organize game watch and other special events. Even all the way in NYC there is an Oregon State University alumni group! It was great to cheer on the Beavs with them last fall.
For me, my sorority alumnae group has been a fantastic way to meet a group of intelligent, driven and fun women. The Chi Omega alumnae chapter of NYC plans many events every month, so it was easy to find things I wanted to do. I’ve enjoyed it so much that for the next year I will be planning our chapter’s career and personal development events.
Professional Groups / Events
I work in marketing and have specialized in social media for the last several years. Especially in my industry, networking is important for professional growth. It’s also a great way to make new friends!
I met some wonderful people through Social Media Club Seattle. When I moved to New York I attended some of the Social Media Club events here and again met some great people. Also through social networks, I’ve become part of MOSAIC, a group of spectacular and fun marketers in NYC.
Whatever your profession, networking is always a good idea. Added bonus, you can meet cool people!
Friends of Friends
Admittedly, social networks like Facebook has made this easier. I can use graph search to see if I have any friends, or friends of friends in a given city. Messaging everyone I knew living in NYC is actually how I found my first apartment.
But you can even meet people the old fashioned way and get your friends to introduce you. I met some of my favorite people in New York through mutual friends. We now even have a group on Facebook of Seattle transplants in NYC. There are more of us than you might think!
Whether you use tech or word-of-mouth, having a friend in common can make it much easier to strike up a conversation and build a friendship.
It isn’t easy to make new friends. It doesn’t happen overnight. I remember feeling pretty lonely my first few months in New York. But if you work at it and try to meet people, it eventually clicks. Then one day you’ll look around at the incredible community you’ve built and feel just as fortunate!
Have you moved to a new city? Any tips you’d add?