Where them like-minded people at?
May 17, 2013 3:55 PM   Subscribe

I need a major friend refresh/revamp. What are actionable steps I can take to find like-minded people, and in particular people that will both give/take in the fun department?

I'm in my mid-twenties and really really sick of my friend group. They're okay people, but I've known many of them for many years and we've never really "clicked" into being close friends, so I feel like it's time to accept that it's NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. (By lack of closeness I mean that I don't feel comfortable sharing with them personal details of my life -- in times of trouble I would not confide in them). Most of the people I consider my best friends live in other cities.

Recently, (over the past 6-8 months) I've gone from feeling neutral to being actively annoyed at them constantly. In addition to the lack of "click", I feel that I am too often the fun organizer / ring-leader, so if I don't come up with the thing we are doing and recruit each and every member to do it, working past any obstacles or reluctant members (e.g. time conflicts, being forced into something else by significant others, etc.) then just, nothing happens, people complain "why didn't you organize X" and I am super frustrated. /rant

Anyhow, I'd like to retire from this role, take these people down to the acquaintance/occasional hangout level, so I can stop feeling trapped in a giant friend circle I don't even like. But I have no idea how to proceed with finding people who won't bother me in these ways -- ideally some people who will also be producers and not just consumers of fun. I have many

As far as interests go, I'm really into music (go to shows 1-2 times per week), but otherwise no particular niche hobbies -- just looking for fun-loving people (in the major US city in which I live) who are smart, down for a good time, and could potentially turn into more of a close friend. FYI I'm an extrovert and love meeting new people, but I like around 1-2 quiet nights in per week. The rest of my life is in good order, I love my SO and my job a lot, so this is this main department I want to improve.

I guess what I need help with is taking this goal (new friends in my city) and breaking it down into some actionable tasks I can actually make progress on. I've met a couple friends via dating websites, but you know how flaky people are when you're online dating? Multiply that by 100x and that's how flaky they are when friend-dating.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

Any sports you've been interested in trying? I've met lots of people rock climbing and doing yoga. Climbing is super social, so if you have an interest in that, I'd not be surprised if you met people that way.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:24 PM on May 17, 2013

You say you like music and go to shows so this is perfect! I love music (wanna be friends?) too but I only make it out to one or five shows a year. I live in a small town so getting to the city for a show is a pain. But the point is, at least once a year, at at least one show, I meet a friend! Actually, I have three I'd consider excellent friends -- 2 I met at a show thousands of miles from home and 1 I met in my state. I stay in touch with them, we hang out when they're around, we skype. You're lucky in that you can meet people at shows, in your area (so you can hang later!), that you already know have some of the same interests as you! LUCKY! I'm jealous!

I'd suggest talking to people at shows. Standing in line waiting to get in? Chat with someone! I've got social anxiety something fierce but for some reason, at shows I'm at home and who I feel I was meant to be so I have no problem chatting with people anywhere. I usually take a friend so I'm not super nervous so maybe take one of those sort-of friends you're looking to move on from with you. Chat with people getting beer, chat with people outside. Just chat!

Good luck. Honestly, some of the coolest people I've ever met have been at shows so I think you're halfway to your goal already. You've got an awesome friend pool waiting right there!
posted by youandiandaflame at 4:26 PM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think I'm in a similar place to you- big city, mid-20s, large but not close circle of friends that I just sort of fell into, not sure why it isn't totally clicking. (If it's NYC, maybe we should get coffee!)

I think some of this may be post-school problems. Back then, I was tackling the same exact school-related problems with these people, for hours a day, every week. SO of course we got close to each other! Of course some of them became my best friends. Nowadays, unless you REALLY luck out at work, you can't really replicate that level of day-to-day closeness with friends once you're not in school anymore. I'd still say my all my best friends are from college or high school, and I've been graduated for a couple years now.

Since graduating, though, I find I've made most of my better friends when we had to work on some sort of big project or undertaking together. In other words, when I was trying to replicate the reliance on each other, the stress, the productivity, the fellow-feeling of school. I think it just naturally makes people closer to work together on something they care about or are invested in.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:23 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Are you talking to the musicians before or after the show? If not, then start. Once you find the musicians' party group then you will be fine. Simply going up to them and saying that you enjoyed the show and would like to buy them a drink is a good start.
posted by myselfasme at 8:10 PM on May 17, 2013

Volunteer at something you care a lot about. The other volunteers will at least share that value, and working side by side at a task regularly will gradually move you towards "friendship level" if you have other stuff in common. I made a bunch of new friends that way. It took about a year of weekly volunteer work together before we got to the point of inviting each other home, though. (Six months to the going for drinks after our volunteer work, which I think was the turning point, so maybe start suggesting that sooner if you want to speed things up.)
posted by lollusc at 8:31 PM on May 17, 2013

I guess you could say I'm kinda going through a similar experience myself, finding that, now that I'm out of school, there's only a few people left for me to spend time with. I just was on http://www.meetup.com/ and found a few events to attend. Maybe I'll have the courage to check them out.
posted by rebent at 9:10 PM on May 17, 2013

I joined meetup.com after moving to a city where I only knew a handful of people, it's been fantastic. There are so many different groups that organise events, not all of them centred around a hobby and its been a brilliant resource for making new friends. It is totally scary the first time that you go to one on your own, but remember loads of people there will be feeling the same!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:50 AM on May 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would approach it from the other end. Do the things you love to do. Along the way you will establish all sorts of relationships with all sorts of people. Making the acquiaition of friends your goal will simply get in the way.
posted by BenPens at 4:27 AM on May 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Start recruiting/training other leaders. Chris, the Thing One concert sounds promising; why don't you organize it for us? Jay, do you like plays? There's a new season at Theatre Two; I think you should check it out for us. This benefits you by still having a group to do stuff with, and gets you away from being sole organizer. Add You should recruit some new people to join us, maybe from your office?. and you may be able to meet some new people, and extend the group that is getting stale.
posted by theora55 at 7:08 AM on May 18, 2013

I moved to a new city totally by myself with no job a few years ago, so I feel like I know exactly what you're talking about.

Aside from all the excellent suggestions so far, are there any semi-random people you just don't know that well but maybe would be kinda cool? I found that I actually got to know a ton of people through a "friend satellite" where I Facebook messaged a couple of people I had barely known in college to see if they wanted to grab dinner and we ended up hitting it off and through them I met a ton of their friends.

Seems like meeting people through neighborhood stuff is a good way to make new friends- mainly because you're close enough to casually hang out without having to make extensive plans. If your neighborhood has a listserv or something you can do all kinds of things from running/sporty clubs to book clubs to volunteering and block parties.
posted by forkisbetter at 11:37 AM on May 20, 2013

sick of my friend group.... never really "clicked" into being close friends ... recruit each and every member to do it

Also, just a tip for Anon, or anyone still reading:
Large group activities are a good way of identifying people you would like to be closer friends with, and catching up with your acquaintance circle, they are NOT a good way of establishing close friendships.

You need one on one time, or at least time spent in small conversations with not more than about 3-4 people to really build a close friendship. Invite one, maybe two people over for dinner, or watching TV shows etc.
Admitting personal information is easiest on a one to one basis, slowly feeling out and expanding that trust level. You have to feel comfortable expressing personal feelings with every person you are with, and the more people, the more shallow the conversation, generally.
If you have a small group of people with whom you have each built up those close friendships, then you can have that larger group trust circle, but it takes time (it helps if you trust a friend enough that if they trust a third person, you feel comfortable too).
posted by Elysum at 5:42 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Tell me about Minneapolis' Parks   |   Paid off car, have title. Now what? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.