Need to move on...
July 5, 2009 6:54 PM   Subscribe

I just broke up with my boyfriend and I am heartbroken and super lonely in New York City. How can I keep myself busy and meet new people? Help me out NYC Mefites/ breakup advice givers!

I just got out of one of those doomed-from-the-start relationships and I am having a really hard time recovering. It is especially difficult in an unfamiliar city without emotional support. Also, the ex is studying abroad and seems to be handling the break up a lot easier. He has told me that he's made many friends (all of them are female except for his roommate) and his steady neglect of our relationship has left me feeling really unwanted. I want to get out of that self-pitying rut.

I am not from NYC, but I accepted an unpaid summer internship in downtown Manhattan (I'm learning cool things, I promise) and I stay at my relative's apartment in Queens since they only come back on weekends. My nonexistent social life bothers me a lot. I sometimes go out to lunch with a few of the other interns, and we're friendly acquaintances but I'm not that interested in anything beyond that.

I want to make some new friends (maybe do some light dating) and involve myself in some cool and free (remember, unpaid intern) activities. I'm interested in urban planning, arts & music, sunshine, etc. I'm also planning to attend Tour de Queens, so that kind of stuff interests me as well. Generally, I'm up for learning and doing new things.

So what should my lonely, heartbroken self do to cheer up? Kind words of encouragement about how there are more fish in the sea would be appreciated too.

Also, I don't enjoy the bar/clubbing scene, so I won't be taking up recommendations on those.

posted by pulled_levers to Human Relations (30 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Well, for starters, there's a 10 year Metafilter meetup coming up. I'm new to town (just two days fresh!) and I'll be heading over to check out the action. Maybe that's a possibility?
posted by greta simone at 6:57 PM on July 5, 2009

Museums, Movies in Bryant Park, maybe a MeFi meetup? :-) I live right near Riverside Park, there are always tons of people out with their kids and dogs... sit in the park, bring a book and a frisbee!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:00 PM on July 5, 2009

If you're adrift, NYC is probably one of the best places to be. Find activities that you enjoy doing - and there are literally tens of thousands every week - and you will meet people, probably more than you can handle.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:01 PM on July 5, 2009

Flavorpill has all manner of music and art and theatre listings.
posted by mkb at 7:12 PM on July 5, 2009

Try Crazy Blind Date.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:15 PM on July 5, 2009

I'm in NYC as well, and I know what you mean, it can get eerily lonely here despite the crowds. But if you make it your goal, there are plenty of ways to make new friends, and lots of potential friends to meet. is a lot of fun, and I've gone to a few NYC groups there and have always met some cool cats. I went to a barbecue yesterday thrown by a guy I met at a past meetup, even brought along a few of my non-meetup friends, and everyone had a great time. Definitely check it out; they have meetup groups for literally everything.

Volunteering is also worth a shot. If you're only here for a summer, I've heard great things about NY Cares.

Good luck!
posted by gushn at 7:19 PM on July 5, 2009

Won't necessarily help you to meet new people (well, maybe it will), but MyOpenBar is a great way to find free or dirt-cheap drink specials. Most are just bars, but sometimes there's an art event that would probably attract some interesting people.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:23 PM on July 5, 2009

NY Cares is a fantastic way to 1) meet people with similar interests an concerns and 2) get out of the house and feel you are needed. I did several projects with them and enjoyed them.

There are a ton of places to see free concerts in the summer in New York. Take advantage. Try to invite fellow inters, see if you can make a real friendship.

Other than that, buy a metrocard and vow to discover as many of the parks in the NYC Park system as possible. Sign up for a library card (using the queens address) and have something free to read in the parks.
posted by piratebowling at 7:25 PM on July 5, 2009

Don't be talking to the ex about his fabulous life abroad and all the ladies he's meeting! Stop, no more of that. Besides he might actually be feeling worse than you are and could be embellishing his life over there. Be unavailable to him, okay? If it's over then slam that door shut and start opening a few windows. Go to the MeFi meetup. It'll be really fun. Read a bunch of the threads on NYC and pick out a few places/events/whatever that sound good to you and check them out. You're young and healthy and in New York City so you need to go forth and be fabulous and buy some fun new clothes and explore the city on foot and reclaim your summer. You might not know a lot of people there but you can ask all your friends and family in other places if they know anyone in NY that you could call up and meet for a drink. That's what I did when I moved first to NYC and later to Chicago and it was a great way to get introduced to a whole bunch of people.

GO GO GO. Resolve right now that you're going to make this summer a great one, where you laughed in the face of sadness and sashayed out and Had Fun Anyway.

You can do this.
posted by Kangaroo at 7:27 PM on July 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

I met my bf of now two year on, after quite a bit of online dating during my first year in New York. I find it to be a hard city to meet people with whom you have common interests, unless you pre-screen in some way. I wanted to meet guys who were philosophy/literature buffs, and you can imagine those types were somewhat difficult to find as a newbie new yorker. or volunteering/taking classes is also a good way to find likeminded individuals.

Through online dating I met many other 'fish' before my current bf, however I actually had a lot of fun throughout the process. One date took me for the first time to Film Forum, another introduced me to the Whitney, et cetera. I also went to a lot of fun restaurants/coffee shops/bars that probably would have taken awhile to find on my own (especially in Brooklyn. I'm an Astoria gal myself.) So if you're someone who is outgoing enough to enjoy the average blind date, I would highly recommend okcupid or something similar. If only to get out and see what New York has to offer. Plus I find nothing eases heartache, like putting yourself out there again and meeting new guys. When I first moved I had just had my heart broken as well, so I can definitely relate to ex woes in a new city. It gets better, it just takes time. :)
posted by amileighs at 7:48 PM on July 5, 2009

Being single in NYC can feel extraordinarily lonely if you know basically no one to start with. I disagree with the advice to go to parks and events alone. New Yorkers are actually much nicer than the stereotype suggests, but we're pretty wary of strangers needily seeking solace and companionship via one-woman frisbee-throwing at the park.

I've never understood the AskMe bromise that basically amounts to striking up a conversation with a stranger sharing your bench at the zoo. If anything, the city's diversity and crowds makes it very difficult to personably introduce yourself to a stranger without coming across as a wackjob or GreenPeace busker. Definitely go for the volunteering/club route--I met lots of friends (and some dates) while walking dogs at the local animal shelter. That way you've showed up to a public space with a purpose, not because you're alone and in desperate need of conversation. Also, dogs are great conversation starters, especially really big dogs ("Wow, that's a monster. How much does he eat a day?") or really cute, approachable dogs. I also found that people who take their canines to dog parks are especially talkative, like a more fun version of moms at a playground.

Volunteer at a museum or a shelter or a co-op, join a book club or an urban exploring meetup or a wine-tasting group, where the explicitly shared purpose of everyone's mutual endeavors will foster conversation and spark a modicum of interest.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:00 PM on July 5, 2009 [6 favorites]

Thursday nights, galleries have openings with free wine and cheese, and all of Chelsea is a singles scene. And you'll meet people who like art.

I believe the Met is also open Saturday night, possibly free.
posted by musofire at 8:01 PM on July 5, 2009

Seconding the dog-walking thing, if you've got the time and inclination. I've talked to more people in the six months I've had a dog in NY than in the 12 previous years without one. Find a nice dog run; everyone loves talking about their pooches (and yours).
posted by stargell at 8:21 PM on July 5, 2009

While the Metropolitan Museum of Art has posted admission prices, it's actually always pay what you will for admission.
posted by Jahaza at 8:30 PM on July 5, 2009

Shorewalkers and the Sierra Club both lead interesting, free hikes - they generally attract smart people, and are a great way to get outside and explore the city.

Also, there are some green/planning-related events happening in conjunction with the Tree Museum installation, so her site is worth keeping an eye on.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:39 PM on July 5, 2009

I couldn't sleep so I decided to check Askme...seeing all these suggestions really cheers me up. Wow, you guys are awesome! :)

I really love all the recommendations, but I have to admit that I'm pretty adverse to going to things alone because it would probably make me feel sad and awkward. I'll see if I can muster up the courage to go to the Metafilter meetup though...
posted by pulled_levers at 8:54 PM on July 5, 2009

Try this. 1) It's very social 2) You will meet nice people 3) Helping others will take your mind off yourself 4) It's free except for the cost of grabbing lunch afterward.
posted by bananafish at 10:09 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Start by acknowledging that you did the right thing by moving on from a situation that did not suit you.

I don't live in NYC so I can't tell you of specific things, but I can tell you where to look. Go from there to specifics.

If you like arts and music, go to free things involving the people that are training tob do that for life, i.e. recitals at conservatories and university music programs, free plays put on by drama schools, and exhibitions of student artists. You'll learn tons and see stuff you like and stuff you don't. But you will meet people with similar interests and of your age. Also, join the "urban planning association/society of NYC" or whatever its called.

Best of luck, you're better off without that loser anyway.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:24 PM on July 5, 2009

I really love all the recommendations, but I have to admit that I'm pretty adverse to going to things alone because it would probably make me feel sad and awkward.

The fact that you will feel sad and awkward going somewhere should not deter you from going there. Its normal to feel that way after a break up--go anyway.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:33 PM on July 5, 2009

Seconding bananafish's rec of Don't feel weird about going alone- the majority will arrive by themselves and not know anyone else there. I have lots of fun at OneBrick events (I'm in the SF chapter), and despite being an introvert really love socializing with those folks.
posted by sarahnade at 10:53 PM on July 5, 2009

I've met some really interesting people through Couchsurfing. In theory, it is a website that helps people put each other in touch about free places to stay, but they also organize lots of fun things, such as weekly-meetups in your local city (the NY group is pretty big). So you can sign up to the website without promising to host people, but just offer to meet people for coffee and show them around your city. Or they will show you.

I haven't yet been to a metafilter meetup, but I imagine it might be a little similar to a couchsurfing meetup. The couchsurfing ones contained lots of interesting, idealistic people who want to hang-out, chat and generally have fun roughly in the college-30's age group. I've only been to two, but I loved the aspect of just turning up to a place (usually a bar, but you don't have to drink) where everyone is on for chatting to everyone else. And although it is ever so slightly weird turning up somewhere where you don't know anyone, after the first time it's much easier.

If you would prefer to meet individual people to show you around, you could just email a few that you think might interest you and see what they say! All it requires is an hour or two investment in creating a profile, and it is free (though you can choose to donate if you like the cause).
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 3:15 AM on July 6, 2009

If you're into indie music or radio, I would recommend volunteering for WFMU. Its offices and studios are in Jersey City, a short train ride from lower Manhattan. You will meet a ton of people there.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:26 AM on July 6, 2009

I run a free twice-weekly fitness boot camp in the East River Park. Attendance is open to anyone that can run one mile (continuously) in under ten minutes. The program attracts a pretty awesome and interesting group of people; if you feel like burning some serious calories with a big group of excellent New Yorkers, you should definitely consider joining us. Email me for details.
posted by saladin at 6:51 AM on July 6, 2009

I always seemed to be quite successful meeting people at the gym (in NYC) I presume girls would be exponentially more successful at it. The only caveat being that the gym environment places a huge emphasis on looks and "hotness" of one's body.
posted by teg4rvn at 3:19 PM on July 6, 2009

I would recommend improv comedy classes. The Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre and the Magnet Theater both offer awesome classes.

It's particularly good for meeting other people and getting yourself in a positive frame of mind. Most classes are very social and go out for beers and stuff afterwards. It also connects you to a comedy community that is full of young people and artsy types.

Good luck!
posted by moedym at 4:28 PM on July 6, 2009

I am nthing the volunteer route. Try to find something that involves a group of volunteers (like helping to organize an event) instead of something one-on-one (visiting seniors). I recently volunteered at the Mermaid Parade, and if I had been available, I would have volunteered at the World Science Festival. I've also volunteered at the NY Burlesque Festival. I've found that if there's an event happening, they need free help!

Also, when I was recently living in a smaller city, I used to find social events.

Be brave! When you are volunteering or doing something through, most everyone is in the same boat you are - people on their own looking for things to do.

See you at the 10th anniversary party!
posted by anthropoid at 6:04 PM on July 6, 2009

Also: Bloomberg has a huge community service initiative he's pushing and the city has set up a website to help people search for place to volunteer.
posted by anthropoid at 6:09 PM on July 6, 2009

Thank you everyone! Just reading the comments just make me feel good inside. Less than 24 hours ago, I found out that my ex had very recently cheated on me during the relationship and had made plans to do it a second time.

Thank god I posted this thread. The messages and mefi-mail are really helping me believe that there is life after the loser.
posted by pulled_levers at 3:51 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite] is good, as is

Both helped me find things to do after a breakup.
posted by lorrer at 6:44 AM on July 7, 2009

If you consider yourself at all political, or just enjoy discussions, about current events or otherwise, with fun, smart, unpretentious people, I highly recommend the NYC chapters of Drinking Liberally, a very mixed-age, left-leaning (but not exclusively so) conversation group that meets in bars, cafes and restaurants, that also has spin-off groups like Reading Liberally book groups, Screening Liberally screenings, etc.

Feel free to message me, I'm a regular member who'd be happy to introduce you - it's really a delightful gang of folks.
posted by Ash3000 at 1:18 PM on July 12, 2009

« Older Looking for goal-oriented, creative hobbies   |   Wildebeest is the hunter. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.