Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world
December 23, 2010 7:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm a woman in my 30s. Six months ago, I moved cities to be with my boyfriend. Things with him are going pretty well, but I really, really miss my old friends, and I really need to make some new friends. How can I make some new friends?

Some things are making finding new friends harder than usual:

* I am sometimes quite shy/socially anxious. (Yes, I am seeing a counsellor.)

* At the moment, I am not working due to health reasons, so I don't have coworkers to draw on.

* My boyfriend has social anxiety and an extremely small social circle, so I can't really draw on his friends.

* I have migraines, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia (among other health issues), so sometimes I need to cancel social plans at the last minute due to being in pain/exhausted/unsafe to drive.

* I walk with the assistance of a quad cane (a four-footed walking stick), and this seems to make some people acutely uncomfortable, especially since I am so young to be using a walking stick.

p.s. If it helps, I am mainly interested in meeting people between 30-ish and 45-ish who can be described with one or more of the following adjectives: science fiction fan, arty, creative, voracious reader, feminist, lefty, atheist.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You say you moved cities, which I will assume means you currently reside in one. Go to meetups! Are there any upcoming MeFi meetups where you live? If there aren't start one up. The Big Secret behind these things is that the person who calls them doesn't have to show up. They get their own inertia once they get started and people don't get mad if you have to bow out at the last moment. And I don't know if you're a long-time member of the site or registered last week, but if you're worried about that, no at meetups cares.

Otherwise, there's also sites like meetup.com that run around the same principle: people meeting up because they have something in common, but not necessarily to talk about that thing
posted by griphus at 8:01 AM on December 23, 2010

Every single one of your adjectives describes the members of my science fiction/fantasy book club (well, we have a few 20-something members). Look around for one near you! Meetup is a great resource for this but also any local forums for your area/neighborhood. A number of my science fiction bookclubbers are also in a local crafty-knitty group, so maybe you can look for that as well.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:09 AM on December 23, 2010

I also suggest meetup.com. It is a great place to find people who share your interests.
posted by zombieApoc at 8:12 AM on December 23, 2010

Seconding meetup.com. I sometimes have to un RSVP due to work and that's usually not a problem. The age specific groups could be a nice place to start. They aren't tied to any particular interest other than meeting people around the same age :) One nice thing is you can suggest, as a member, what activities you would like to do.
posted by vilandra at 8:16 AM on December 23, 2010

If you're on LiveJournal, does your city have a community? And science fiction fan, arty, creative, voracious reader, feminist, lefty, atheist sounds like the majority of people I personally know on LJ.
posted by crankylex at 8:32 AM on December 23, 2010

What city do you live in? Posting that information on metafilter might be a good place to start.

I've moved cities many times, and it always takes me about a year to two years to build up a new social circle. It's hard while you are in the middle of it, but rest assured - it does happen!

Actively recruit female friends from your work, if you work, and your bf's social circle and work. I'm assuming most of his friends are male. Ask each of them if they have any female friends. Then email those people and say you are new in town and looking to meet new people and ask them out to lunch. Sooner or later you will click with someone.

Also, facebook - message all your contacts and ask if they know anyone in your town that they can hook you up with.
posted by bq at 8:38 AM on December 23, 2010

What city do you live in?

You can contact the mods to have them post your city anonymously.
posted by griphus at 8:40 AM on December 23, 2010

Not to derail the thread, but for the people recommending meetup, are your recommendations based on experience? I only ask because I'm in a situation similar to the poster, and have often browsed meetup.com, but have been really icked out about the meetups in my area (Philadelphia). They almost all seem like they're trying to sell you stuff or get you involved in pyramid schemes. For people who've had success on meetup, any suggestions on how to get the most out of the site?
posted by lagreen at 8:58 AM on December 23, 2010

Meetups for very specific interests tend to go better than general ones, lagreen. For example, this Classic Rock Fans In Their 20s meetup looks pretty legit.
posted by griphus at 9:11 AM on December 23, 2010

My partner does NaNoWriMo most years, and gets involved in the local writers' groups that spring up around it — many of which keep on meeting up year-round. And in every city we've lived in, she's met people in those groups who sound like you: liberal, fannish, sometimes shy artsy women.

A lot of NaNo-ers are also disabled or dealing with chronic health issues. (It's Something To Do for a brainy person who likes to keep busy but can't work for health reasons.) So I'd be willing to bet you'd find people there who get fibro/CFS/whatever and won't give you shit about it.

Anyway, maybe this is an odd suggestion ("You're lonely? Write a novel! Duh!") but it was the first thing that sprang to mind when I read your description — if you were in NY, Pittsburgh or Austin, I'd have a specific group of people I'd want to introduce you to, and all of those groups grew out of NaNo meetups. So it might be worth a try.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:29 AM on December 23, 2010

Not to derail the thread, but for the people recommending meetup, are your recommendations based on experience? I only ask because I'm in a situation similar to the poster, and have often browsed meetup.com, but have been really icked out about the meetups in my area (Philadelphia).

I met a bunch of nice people through Meetup.com when I lived in Richmond, VA in 2004/5.
posted by Jahaza at 10:41 AM on December 23, 2010

For best results with meetups, I second interest specific groups. I also moved 6mos ago to a new town and am facing this same issue. I joined a general 'girls who hang out and drink wine' and my interest fizzled for that group since the activities were so varied and the group so large that there were never the same people there. However, my photography meetup group, I go out with nearly once a month.

If you don't see a local group that applies to your interests, you can create one for a nominal fee (worth it if you are dying for social interaction and common interests). Not sure what your housing situation is, but you can limit meetups to small groups and perhaps have a sci-fi book of the month meetup in your home (or whatever floats your boat).

Keep your chin up! Even without some of your circumstances, keep in mind that it takes a long time to make adult friends but it will happen.
posted by getmetoSF at 10:51 AM on December 23, 2010

Despite it's primary function being dating, I've found OkCupid to be quite useful for making friends. You can set your preferences to indicate that you are in a relationship and not looking for dating but still interested in friendship and activity partners. Being somewhat shy myself, I prefer meeting new people one-on-one over a meetup group which is 100% strangers.
posted by Cogito at 11:50 AM on December 23, 2010

Facebook groups are handy for this too - look up local events and groups, join them, keep updated.

I have a couple of friends in similar situation to yours - their chronic illnesses make it hard for them to be as social as they'd like. I'd like to pass this on to them and see if they have any ideas.
posted by divabat at 6:47 PM on December 23, 2010

Another handy way to meet people, if you're up for it, is to volunteer.
posted by aniola at 10:17 PM on December 23, 2010

I would suggest BookCrossing www.bookcrossing.com - we are pretty well all lefty, arty, liberal, eccentric women from our mid 20s to 70s in our local group and I've met some wonderful friends through the hobby. You don't have to be very active with the book swapping or wild releasing, and it's fine not to come to every meeting. We have people with agoraphobia and various mental and physical health issues in our group and it's a lovely accepting place.

Feel free to message me and I can find your local group or meeting place for you and see if I know anyone in your area who can extend a welcome.
posted by LyzzyBee at 2:24 AM on December 25, 2010

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