What do career-minded 20-somethings do to develop friends and community in SF?
November 6, 2012 11:22 PM   Subscribe

What do career-minded 20-somethings do to develop friends and community in SF?

I feel like this question has been asked 100 times already with the names of cities changed.

I moved to San Francisco a few months ago and am having trouble finding community. I've made a small handful of friends and a girlfriend, but don't really feel entrenched in anything. I know these things take time, but I'm not sure that I'm doing the right things with that time.

What do workaholic 20-somethings do to develop friends and community in SF?
posted by jander03 to Human Relations (13 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
The answer's pretty similar for most places, but in SF especially it really helps to get involved with something you care about. A political cause, a non-profit organization, a cycling club, a gaming group, an improv class, a hacker/maker space, some sort of food- or craft- or technology-related hobby you can take classes to develop... you get the picture. People here are often quite passionate about their hobbies and causes, and love to talk to people who share those passions, and there are always social opportunities built into whatever cause or goal or thing you're into.

For inspiration, browse some of the local event calendars:

Fun Cheap SF
SF Weekly's calendar
CUESA (for food-related stuff)
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:56 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

What industry are you in? If you're in the SF tech scene, there are many meetups, incubator events, conferences.
posted by cheesecake at 11:58 PM on November 6, 2012

Agree totally with rhiannonstone - basically, 'have hobbies' and 'search online/local sites/publications for events/gatherings relevant to said hobbies'. If you mention some of the things you're into, I bet people nearby will be able to offer some specific suggestions here, too!
posted by destructive cactus at 12:16 AM on November 7, 2012

Umm... yeah, the formula is always the same. Identify some activities you like. Do them. Repeat until something sticks. What do you like?
posted by kellybird at 12:47 AM on November 7, 2012

The Meetup.com community is seriously thriving in SF. That was my go-to for fast friends when I moved! There is a meetup for *everything* (and if there isn't, make one! Organizing a group also brought a great community). Also nonprofit volunteering (so many to choose from), City College night classes on interesting subjects, dance/fitness/martial arts classes, etc... Yelp is a good way to find classes too.

It takes time to make solid connections, and repeat visits -- I'd say it took me about 2 years before I felt like I had a group of really good friends here. If you find someone you really hit it off with in a Meetup, find a way to grab coffee with them some other time. Throw house parties or board game nights with acquaintances. Invite people to cool events with you. Be the initiator, and you'll eventually find yourself with more community than you even have time for!
posted by iadacanavon at 1:17 AM on November 7, 2012

I took classes through the Berkeley Extension, you meet interesting people, study with them and form friendships.

Or hang out in the same places, join a pool or dart league. Softball. Dr. Who meet-ups. Whatever piques your interest.

Have a tupperware party and invite people you work with. A friend of mine did this and it was a hoot! We all started hanging out after that. Also, we learned he had three testicles.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:34 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are definitely going to hear a lot of the same old responses. I've been in a "new city" two years. The things that helped me most: Volunteering and working out.

When it comes to volunteering, I'd recommend doing something that is more likely to attract people in your peer group. There ALWAYS seem to be 20-somethings at mentoring/tutoring sessions. They're also pretty smart, and relatively kind (or they wouldn't be there). When you're dealing with kids, hilarious things happen that are completely out of your scope of experience. You bond with your fellow tutors. And laugh a lot. Over time, this has developed to dinner/drinks with a group of people afterwards.

Fitness classes also can't be beat. While it's great to go to the gym and work out solo, if you aren't super outgoing, this will get you nowhere. However, Crossfit classes? I do not know WHAT it is about crossfitters, but they're so, so friendly. Everywhere I've ever gone. You maintain it for two months, and you're getting invited to bbqs (where everyone "splurges" and has beer and ignores paleo rules) tons of facebook adds, and regular events with friendly competition. (It doesn't really matter if you're good at it or not!)

Sorry to spew the same old things at you; I did try to be a little more specific. I've had more luck at these two specific events than just any old work out class, or any old volunteer event. Some fails for me included volunteering at a soup kitchen (arguably not a fail, but not where I found my social group) spinning classes, and a running group. No lasting friendships came from these for me. They might work for you, though, if you truly find some passion or can identify with them.

One last comment: pull the "new" card as long as you're able. New to town, don't know where to go, what the great restaurants are, great activities, great museums, great date places, etc. Act like a transplant- You can do this for awhile. And outgoing people will go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

Good luck!
posted by unmouton88 at 5:47 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly? I think you're doing something wrong. SF is the only city where I've run into people who had to move AWAY to get things done because they were being too social. The personalities this city attracts are super outgoing and community oriented. It's also a small place that's incredibly good at self sorting - in a rush, I've specifically driven to other grocery stores at particular times because I know I'll have to stop and chit chat in every aisle, otherwise.

Two things: 1) think network effect - you shouldn't just be juggling your connections, but your connections' connections, as well. 2) Be game. I mean both of these things in the real life sense of the world, not social networks, btw.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 6:32 AM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

A lot of people get into partner dancing (Salsa, Tango, etc.) and/or group exercise (yoga, indoor rock climbing).
posted by rhizome at 8:39 AM on November 7, 2012

We'd be remiss if we didn't note the very frequent MetaFilter meetups, as well. Some of my best friends are MeFites!
posted by chatongriffes at 9:55 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Although we haven't had an actual meetup here since, hmm, August? Really? Come meet grouse this weekend!
posted by gingerbeer at 10:19 AM on November 7, 2012

Really appreciate the ideas!
Hope to see you guys on Saturday!
posted by jander03 at 8:22 PM on November 8, 2012

...er, Sunday
posted by jander03 at 10:56 AM on November 11, 2012

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