Moved to take dream job, now how do I find new friends?
December 6, 2004 11:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm loooonely. I moved to Panama City, Florida for my dream job. And I love the job - that's no issue at all. But as someone who likes to keep a certain distance from co-workers outside of work hours (I've seen co-workers get people fired for personal reasons before), and without a car to get around, I have no way offhand of making friends. This troubles me greatly - I'm an extroverted, social person and I'm not used to the lack of social contact.

And to make matters worse, no mefites live in my area! It all makes me want to cry. Bah.
posted by u.n. owen to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you join any clubs/groups etc. that you're interested in? Dance classes (learn to salsa!), theater groups, model airplane flying clubs, sailing, etc? I find that always helps when moving to a new city. (Something I've done often)
posted by defcom1 at 11:48 AM on December 6, 2004

It's hard to make friends as an adult (out of college). Although I understand why one would chose not to socialize with co-workers, sadly, I would be pretty much friendless if I had adopted the same stance.

I suppose the age-old advice for meeting potential romantic partners applies to finding nonromantic friends: do things that interest you, and talk to the other folks doing them with you.
posted by Eamon at 11:48 AM on December 6, 2004

I'd ask someone at work close to your age for a recommendation on what young people do in Panama City (the non-spring-breaking type). You might also rent a car for a weekend or two just to drive around and get a lay of the land, but I seem to recall from a previous posting that you're under 25 and that might present a problem with some car rental places.

I'm presuming that Panama City, like most places I know of in Florida, has pitiable or no public transportation. If it does have a bus system, you're better off than most.

Other than that, I have absolutely no advice. I feel your pain, though.
posted by contessa at 12:11 PM on December 6, 2004

I'm told that taking a knitting class is a good way to meet people.
posted by cmonkey at 12:13 PM on December 6, 2004

I grew up about an hour from PC and i could see it being a hard place to get started meeting (intelligent) people, with the seasonal nature of the town and all the redneck kids and withdrawn wealthy folks.

I've always had friends tell me that after about a year in their new town they get used to things and start meeting people and finding their own place. But I cant imagine making an effort NOT to hang out with work people, in a new town they are your first allies and friends, especially if you have no other connections.

A buddy of mine made some great friends just by started up a sport and meeting other young new people that were trying it out too.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 12:27 PM on December 6, 2004

contessa is dead on about public transportation in Florida. I live in a college town and the bus system still blows.

I take it you have no plans to buy a car? You might want to think about taking the plunge. (either getting a car or hanging out with co-workers)
posted by studentbaker at 12:29 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: I would plan to buy a car if I had money to do so. As it is, that'd be pretty close to impossible for at least 6 months.

Joining clubs might be cool - IF I could get there! Which I can't.

Sorry. I guess I just wanted confirmation on the "coworkers or you're fucked" angle.

Last ditch effort: joining the local UU fellowship. That might be worthwhile.
posted by u.n. owen at 12:47 PM on December 6, 2004

Assuming u.n. owen is working for the PC News Herald I seem to recall the printing facility( not sure if the offices are there too ) being a few blocks down from a middle school with a graphic novel/RPG shop across the street. Assuming you're at least open to finding intelligent types to hang out with, and the shop is still around( whose name escapes me ) they had a bulliten board with postings such as needing another player for a campaign, reading groups etc. etc. It might be worth a shot that could be within walking distance.
posted by mnology at 12:56 PM on December 6, 2004

Take up bicycling and join a club for beginners. You'll have a new way to get around, and people to hang with.
posted by mecran01 at 1:06 PM on December 6, 2004

The book store not the school of course...
posted by mnology at 1:11 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: Ooooh, mnology, thank you! This, I will have to check out. And yes, you are correct in your assumption about where I work. I wish it wasn't a damned paid subscription site or I'd engage in furious self-linking now.
posted by u.n. owen at 1:30 PM on December 6, 2004

I spent part of my honeymoon there. The main beach road is hell during the summer.

Oh, btw, if you decide to go swimming, do know that back in 1983 my husband and I were in a helicopter above the beach, watching the group of sharks that were a stones throw from the beach full of swimmers.
posted by konolia at 2:01 PM on December 6, 2004

I was born and raised in Panama City. I'd be happy to give you e-mail addresses of and introductions to the few people I still know there. One even blogs. I'll send you an e-mail.
posted by LeiaS at 2:18 PM on December 6, 2004 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: LeiaS, you are my hero.
posted by u.n. owen at 2:21 PM on December 6, 2004

Though limited, it looks like the Bay Town Trolley (possibly outdated route map (.pdf)), goes along 11th Street (is the News Herald still on 11th?) through downtown.

The library is down there, along with the Civic Center and the Martin Theatre. In high school, I loved volunteering at the Martin. There were some neat people there.

Most of your shopping is going to be along 23rd Street, which the trolley also runs along, but you'd probably have to make a connection.
posted by LeiaS at 2:33 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: My big issue with the trolley is that it stops at 6 PM - which just happens to be the time I get off work. So I'm stranded except for weekends! :)
posted by u.n. owen at 2:41 PM on December 6, 2004

You might get a cat.
posted by LarryC at 6:27 PM on December 6, 2004

This could work out well or it could work out disasterously, but: if you can find a roomate/housemate to share an apartment with, you might save money and, if you find the right person, have a shot at getting plugged into a circle of friends, which you could branch out from later.

I don't know if that's good advice or not, but it's a thought. I've made a fair number of friends that way, though it was never really my intent.
posted by gd779 at 7:49 PM on December 6, 2004

What about scuba diving? There are plenty of weird divers, but a lot of great ones, too, and PC has plenty of diving. Plus there's a lot of cave diving nearby, a sport loaded with arcane and epic personalities. A bottomless well of story ideas if you're a reporter.
posted by atchafalaya at 8:28 PM on December 6, 2004

What about clubs as in nightclubs? Or is it not that kind of town?

I hadn't thought about it until seeing this question, but all my friends that I didn't meet at school, university or work, I met on the dancefloor or at after-parties. You have something in common from the off (the style/genre of music at the club) and can ease into friendship by seeing people regularly at the club without needing to go through the social awkwardness of arranging to meet up specifically to make friends. The only downside is weeding out the drug-addled loons (unless, of course, those are the sort of friends you're after.)
posted by jack_mo at 7:36 AM on December 7, 2004

I guess I just wanted confirmation on the "coworkers or you're fucked" angle.

How about coworkers and you're fucked? :-)
Oops. Sorry, that was a wisecrack.

I like the bicycle idea best.
posted by nofundy at 12:25 PM on December 21, 2004

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