Why Is Making New Friends so Hard?

When you’re a kid making friends is as easy as walking up to another kid and asking them to play. As a 30-year-old woman in NYC, I’m not sure this same strategy would work. I’m pretty sure if I walked up to another adult on the street and asked if they want to check out a holiday market with me that they’d run away.

I’ve been in NYC for more than four months and I’m struggling on the friends front. I have some co-workers that I hang out with occasionally, but they have either grown up here or been here long enough to have established social circles. I have a hunch that had my boyfriend and dog moved to NYC with me that I’d be more accepted into these circles as a lot of them are paired up.

When I’m not working or trying to get co-workers to go out, I’ve been going to meetups. A lot of meetups. It’s so much effort that it feels more like I’m dating and trying to land a boyfriend than trying to find a couple friends.

Within the first couple days of arriving, I went to a writing meetup and talked to some people. At the end of the session, a guy chatted me up and asked for my number. I was so out of it that I gave it to him, a complete stranger in NYC. He texted me an hour later to let me know he was on the train home and ask how I was doing. Uh-oh, I didn’t attract a friend, I attracted someone who wants to hook up.

I was not going to make that mistake again. Throughout the next couple months I went to a paid write-in at a writing school, four book clubs, yoga classes, hikes with people in Central Park, and a humor writing class. I also signed up for an ASL class at work, joined a writing space, and reached out to old acquaintances that had also moved to NYC.

So you’d think that if I want to hang out on a Saturday night I could just call up one of the many people that I’ve met. Nope.

I’ve found with all the meetups and classes that I’ve attended, most people at least have a significant other here. And many have social circles. They come to these meetups as a thing to do away from friends, family, significant others and then they return to their lives. No one seems interested in hanging out.

So I spend an hour or two around people and then head home to my apartment, friendless.

The crazy thing is that I like being alone. Back in Michigan if I had to choose between hanging out with people and staying in with my dog, I’d choose staying in. I once tweeted the hashtag pajamasoverpeople.

Of course, my boyfriend lived with me so I wasn’t alone a lot, just when he was working or out with friends. But still, I don’t mind being alone. It’s nice to sit and read or watch Netflix or cook while listening to music.

But being alone is different when you don’t have the option of being with friends. It’s lonely.

So, who’s in NYC and wants to hang out with an anxious and depressed 30-year-old women who likes solo activities like reading and writing?

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