5 Ways To Make Girlfriends In NYC

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.

2. MeetUp.com

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




  • Agness says:

    Taking a class together seems like a great idea to me!! 🙂
    Agness recently posted..How To Maintain High Food Standards While TravellingMy Profile

  • Heather says:

    I wish these first two had existed when I first moved to the city. Making friends outside of work was hard! Though I did meet the perfect guy in an NYC bar, so there’s that 🙂
    Heather recently posted..Exploring Liepaja, Latvia’s Third Largest CityMy Profile

    • Used York City says:

      Haha, so refreshing to hear another NYC bar love story! That’s how the hubs and I met, too;-)

  • Love the tips – I am sure these would work in the UK too. And so true about the follow up bit. One of my now great friends happened after she followed up by calling me. I had completely forgotten about meeting her.
    Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry recently posted..Chipotle Black Bean Burgers – Egg FreeMy Profile

  • Maria Falvey says:

    GFC (Capped at 6 people per outing) is a great idea – I’d love to see groups like this pop-up elsewhere.
    Half a dozen is a great way to keep the group to a manageable size for most venues and is small enough to encourage discussion yet large enough to feel like a mixer.
    Maria Falvey recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Creatrice MondialMy Profile

    • Used York City says:

      Hey Maria! GFC is actually a national organization, so you may want to check out their website to see if there’s a group near you (or if not you can get on a list to be notified when enough ladies sign up!;-)

  • Tamara says:

    That is interesting! In my post college days at first, I made friends at my job! I had it for four years and it was all people around the same age.
    Then I moved to a city – SF – and I struggled. I made a few friends, but it wasn’t like a group of girlfriends or two, like I’d always had in the past. I DID join a co-ed book club but nothing there lasted.
    Back here in western MA, it’s seriously mostly from having kids. Baby groups, play groups, library groups, school, etc. Sad but true! There are just so many of them and we see them every day. I click better with some than others, of course.
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    • Used York City says:

      Such a great point, Tamara! It’s interesting how the different phases of our lives lend to different ways to connect and make friendships. And connecting with other moms is a great way to share not only time with the kiddos, but also a group of women who can relate to things you may be going through!

  • Marisol says:

    Hi Jess, great, helpful post. I know that NYC can be an overwhelming place for those new in the city and can be intimidating to meet new “real” freinds. One thing I’d like to add that I found a great way to make new friends is through voluteering ( hiis was how I met my husband as well). I’ve volunteered with New York Cares for so many many years now. I met people a lot of people who are new in the city and who found new sense of belonging throught the circle they have made through the volunteer projects. I volunteer with children’s program and we take the kids in different urban adventures. It is also a great way for new people in the city to see and learn more about the city.
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    • Used York City says:

      What a great idea, Marisol! NY Cares is a fabulous organization, and there’s truly something for everyone’s interests! And you’re right, also a great way to explore the city more and have a sense of community!

  • Mike says:

    Granted I’m a guy, but what a great post Jessica. Some great opportunities and avenues folks can pursue and great advice on spreading yourself too thin and making sure to follow up. I’ve been making sure to follow up with a lot of my friends over the past couple of months as is noticeable in my food/restaurant posts. And planning for a next visit before departing on your current one. Have a really good day 🙂
    Mike recently posted..Man’s Best Friend – ALS Ice Bucket ChallengeMy Profile

    • Used York City says:

      You are definitely one of the best at follow-up I know, Mike! I always love reading your comments and connecting via Twitter! Kudos to your friendship skills!:-)

  • Richa Saxena says:

    These are some lovely tips! I can imagine it must be so hard for a lot of people who are new to the city..Thanks for sharing these 🙂
    Richa Saxena recently posted..Pretty Secrets Comfy Fit Bra Range….Fits the very definition of a Great boyfriend!My Profile

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