26 May How to Make Friends in NYC
8.5 million people live in NYC. It’s one of the busiest and most exciting cities in the world and you’d think that it would be easy to make loads of friends, right? Well initially it seems that way. It’s not hard to run into people of all walks of life in New York. The city has this fast-paced energy and coming from a place like London, where people are much more reserved, east coast Americans are much more forward.
On my first week in NYC I had no shortage of invites from a couple of friends I already knew in the city. But when you have friends who have hectic work/social lives and tend to travel abroad a lot, I soon realised there would be times where they’re not around and I would need to expand my circle a little bit.
I’ve found it’s easy to meet people here in New York but keeping lasting friendships is another thing altogether. People love to say “let’s get coffee some time” or “we should totally hang out!” but whether they mean it is an entirely different thing.
I’ll go to a networking event, become BFFs with someone for that one evening and think “We’re totally going to hang out again!” But then I message them and it turns out we can’t seem to match our schedules. NYC people can be flakey. It goes something like this…
However, it is possible to find your Sex and the City crew, it just takes time and some effort on your part. Here are some tips to get you started.
How to make friends in NYC
Thought Bumble was just for dating? Think again. Bumble now has Bumble BFF, which will match you to platonic friends. It’s great if you want to make same-sex friends but it won’t match you to friends of the opposite sex.
I had great luck with Bumble BFF and managed to find a new friend who lives just down the street from me. Not only that but we have a ton of things in common – she’s lived in London, has family in Manchester and even supports Manchester United like me. After a few messages back and forth we managed to arrange drinks for that very same evening.
I’ve now decided that Bumble is way better for friendship than using it as a dating app and I’d rather go out for a glass of wine with another lady friend than go on an awkward date. Best of all, if you’re out with a friend, you’re more likely to meet members of the opposite sex in a more organic way.
The cool thing about Meetup.com is that it allows you to search for events in your city. You’re not going to be matched with a friend like bumble BFF but it will put you in a networking situation where you can chat with likeminded people. Meetup will let you search by category so if you’re a food blogger for example, you could search for a food blogger meet up. Whatever your interest, whether it’s photography, travel, pets, music, or just the love of being social, Meetup has events for every niche you can think of. So put yourself out there, attend an event and see if you like it – you never know!
Watch sporting events
On the day of the Royal Wedding my Mum text me and said, “Don’t forget it’s the FA cup final!” Google “places to watch the FA cup final in NYC” and make sure you go! I protested, but she was right. Sports bars tend to attract crowds of people and it’s easy to get talking at half time when there’s nothing to do. There’s a certain camaraderie that comes with watching football matches and since I’m from the UK, an FA cup final match would be an easy way to meet other brits who are living in NYC. Smithfield Hall is a great place to watch live sports.
Being one of the major cities of the world, NYC plays host to all sorts of conferences and trade shows. On my first week in New York City my roommate invited me to the Art Expo, something I wouldn’t usually go to, and yet I found myself browsing works of art and chatting to the artists and fellow visitors. Whatever industry you’re in I’m sure there will be a conference or event for it in New York, so don’t pass up on the opportunity to go. If you’re in travel then you could visit the New York Times Travel Show or if you’re in Fashion you might be able to get into some events at New York Fashion Week. The great thing about conferences is that I find everyone is sort of in “networking/vacation” mode – with free booze flowing and lots of parties to attend, people are usually a little more approachable. I’ve made my closest friends at conferences!
Take up a hobby
Love acting or stand up comedy? New York is filled with acting studios where you can master your craft and meet other actors. Or perhaps you prefer yoga and want to practice your downward dog at the nearest yoga studio. Whatever your hobbies are, taking up a class is one of the best ways to meet people since you already have one interest in common. If there’s a weekly class then you know you’re going to see the same people week in, week out, and before you know it other class members will be asking you for drinks or inviting you to their birthday parties.
Message people first
If you swap numbers with someone, one of you has to bite the bullet and be the first to text. It’s easy to think “Well he/she hasn’t messaged me so maybe they’re not interested in hanging out” but maybe the other person is thinking the EXACT same thing! So, use that telephone number and follow up with the person a couple of days later. Ask if they’d like to do something and take it from there.
People like being around positive people. It’s good to be able to share your troubles or questions with friends, that’s what we’re here for, but at the same time, try to ask yourself “would I want to hang out with me right now?” If you’re positive and upbeat and people are able to have a laugh with you, this definitely increases your chances of people wanting to have you around. Science shows that being a great listener can make you more popular, so try to lend a listening ear and really absorb what your friends are saying.
Suggest doing things, or ask if you can come
Sometimes people don’t really get hints, especially guys. So if your friend is doing something and you really want to join in the fun, just ASK. If a friend of mine is out for drinks with friends and I’m sitting around at home, sometimes I’ll just outright say, “Can I come?” You don’t get if you don’t ask!
Or if you really want to make some plans for the weekend, suggest a really cool idea that you think your friends might like to do. Sometimes you have to take the arrangements into your own hands – often in friendships there’s one person who’s more of an organiser than the other one.
Don’t be afraid of rejection
I think for a lot of people the scariest thing about friendships and dating is the fear of rejection. It sucks to ask someone if they’d like to do something and have them turn you down. However, as my recruiter friend says, “it’s all just a numbers game”. It really is just a recruitment process. Sometimes you have to be rejected by a few people before you really find someone you click with.
So remember, if you’re feeling lonely or like you have no friends in New York City, remember that it’s all about your attitude. You won’t meet people by sitting at home, so you have to put yourself out there in order to find your tribe! It may take some months, and sometimes it’s difficult when you’re trying to save money, but you can find some pretty awesome friends in NYC (including me).