Whether you’re new in the city or have lived here for forever and are looking to broaden your social circle, meeting quality girlfriends and creating long lasting friendships is equal parts art and science. True, you MAY just stumble into a bar one night and find the Samantha to your Carrie, the Serena to your Blair. But that’s the exception, not the rule (kinddaaa like meeting the perfect guy in a NYC bar, right?;-)
If you don’t work in an industry that lends itself to instant female friends, meeting new girlfriends in the city can be tough. Limited time! Limited money! Limited energy! We totally understand. Here are 5 ways to increase opportunities that in this city with millions of people, you’ll meet your next BFF…or at least a cool coffee buddy!
1. Girlfriend Circles
Started by author Shasta Nelson of the best selling book Friendships Don’t Just Happen!: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriends, GFC is a forum that allows you to meet other women in the same age bracket in small outings at local cafes. Capped at 6 people, the idea is to keep conversation intimate enough to see if you have real connections with the other women. Besides just the initial cafe meet and greets, there are also other events hosted by members, ranging from comedy club outings to a night of salsa dancing. The reason I can totally get behind the concept of GFC is that everyone is there for the same end purpose: to make meaningful connections with other women for the sake of friendship. It’s not awkward or weird if everyone has the same end goal, right? Think of it as Match.com for your next bestie.
Not rocket science, but find a group that has similar interests to yours, and join up! However, the key is NOT to spread yourself thin here. Don’t join 5 different groups and max out your energy levels in a month. Rather, pick one (two, tops) group that really interest you and make a comitted effort to not only attend every meetup, but to exchange contact info with women that you really connected with at the event and followup, ensuring that friendships are given the chance to blossom in other situations outside the Meetup.
3. Take A Class
The difference in signing up for a formal class versus a meet up as listed above is that, chances are, if you are paying some kind of tuition for a course, you AND the rest of your classmates are probably more invested in attending every session, because…money! Even if you’re on the shy side, after seeing the same faces week after week, it’s easy to start a conversation based on common ground, like what drew you all to the class in the first place! Vimbly is a great resource for finding a class that meets your interests.
4. Explore Your Own Network Further
In the book MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend the first resource author Rachel Bertsche sought out to when trying to meet a new bestie in her new city was to tap out all of her current connections: think friends-of-friends, the wives of your hubby’s co-workers, your mom’s college roommate’s cousin’s daughter that also lives in the same city…just a few blocks away! Chances are you have a fair amount of connections you’ve never invested the time to explore. Shoot the person an email, and suggest getting together for coffee. Not every person will be a great fit, but the wider you spread your network, the more opportunities for friendship will present themselves.
5. And Finally…Follow Up!
Ok, so let’s say you’ve met a potential friend in one of the above mentioned fashions…now what? This is where the work comes in, my friend. In a city that is PRIME for excuses (…so busy, have to work late, i’m exhausted, yada yada…) all I have to say is…if you want to make QUALITY friends, you have to put in QUALITY time. Seriously. Like a long-term relationship, an amazing friendship does not happen overnight, nor without compromise and sacrifice and work on the part of both parties. Some simple ways of keeping the follow-up going are:
-make your next set of plans BEFORE you leave. For example, if you’re meeting your GF for coffee, do not leave with a “this was so fun, let’s do it again soon!” cause we both know that “soon” can easily turn into 8 months later…FAIL. Instead, whip out your calendars, compare dates, and set your next coffee/movie/walk/dinner right then and there.
-make every effort NOT TO CANCEL. Yes, real emergencies come up. But just like you invest in your job, your health, your family, and your relationship, you must invest in your friendships too, if you want them to continue to grow. Once the date is set, make every effort to show up.
-pop in between hang outs. A simple text/email asking your friend how they’re doing shows you’re thinking about them and, gasp!, care, and you’ll often find that the sentiment will be returned.
-make an effort to remember the specifics. Does your potential new bff have a dog she loves more than the world? Ask how it’s doing! Did she mention an important work meeting that’s upcoming? Send her a text the morning of and wish her good luck! It’s all in the details, my friends.
-don’t give up. In Shasta’s book, she speaks about the 5 different kinds of friends (and how these friends will pretty much be different every 7 years!) These different levels of friendships fill our different emotional needs, ranging from having aquaintances with common interests to that life long bestie. Obviously, very few of the connections you meet will fall into the latter category. BUT…you may meet someone that totally fulfills your “I wish I had a friend to attend gallery openings with”, and that’s great, too!
Just remember that these things take time, and the general rule of thumb goes: you’ll get back about as much as you put in. In short: Show up. Check in. Remember details. Be persistent. If you did these 4 things in a college class, chances are you’d score an A. Put the work in for your friendships too, and you’ll be happy with the results.
How have you made friendships in your post-college years? Share below!
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen