Making friends in Los Angeles
December 9, 2013 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Making friends in Los Angeles

My boyfriend and I are in our twenties. I am feeling really isolated and would like to develop a really great, core group of friends interested in music, art, books, gaming, etc.

Where do we go? I've never been to a meetup...they seem kind of intimidating and at the same time lame. Also, it's so hard to feel like we're picking the right one. I don't want to end up with a bunch of people that we aren't compatible with. I also have been perusing the hidden la website.

posted by DeltaForce to Human Relations (14 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

1. Start a project/make a thing! I didn't know a lot of people in Los Angeles until I started producing a web series. Casting and hiring a crew enabled me to meet a ton of new people.

2. Come to a MetaFilter meetup! We are a pretty awesome bunch, and meetups tend to be very low key.

3. Join a thing! If one or both of you have hobbies, join groups related to that thing. Meetup can facilitate this, though I think I would go to activity related meetups rather than "general meetup for people who also like Thing". Game night, art walks, readings, shows in little venues, etc. If you go to something and don't like the people there, no harm no foul. Go to a different thing next time.

For what it's worth, I too have had trouble finding a "tribe" of people I'm close with who I hang out with all the time. Instead, I have clusters of people I hang out with due to shared interests. It can be pretty rough to relocate to a new city in terms of social life stuff.
posted by Sara C. at 5:30 PM on December 9, 2013 [8 favorites]

Los Angeles can be a tough place to make friends. I made a few friends pretty quickly (mostly through work), but it really took me a few years here to feel like I had some solid social circles in place, which was very different from everywhere else I ever lived. People tend to be perfectly friendly here, but -- this is my theory -- because the city is so decentralized and there isn't so much shared public space (all that time commuting in cars vs. on public transportation), the barrier for turning an acquaintanceship into a friendship tends to be higher.

Anyway, it can be challenging here, which means you might have to put yourself out of your comfort zone a little and take the risk that you won't immediately find people you click with. I made a number of friends here through Metafilter meetups and by taking various writing and yoga classes, which is something I don't know I would have felt the need to do in other places where I've lived.

Since you're into art, you guys might also want to consider joining LACMA as Muse members, as the Muse program is specifically about making the museum part of your social life.
posted by scody at 5:41 PM on December 9, 2013 [8 favorites]

The issue with LA is so many young people are hanging around trying to work in the prevailing entertainment industry. When I was living there, I definitely got the sense that if you weren't part of the industry, the people that were (or wanted to be) couldn't be bothered.

So, in addition to dealing with the sprawl, you'll also need to make the effort to find people who aren't part of the entertainment industry hustle. It's possible, but tough.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 5:49 PM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

this thread is a good reminder to start/attend a mefi meetup. i'm still jazzed about the people i met from the last one. Sara C.'s advice upthread is great.
posted by raihan_ at 5:53 PM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Yes, I agree there should be a meetup soon!
posted by DeltaForce at 5:54 PM on December 9, 2013

Also, it's so hard to feel like we're picking the right one. I don't want to end up with a bunch of people that we aren't compatible with

It's a couple of hours, your life isn't ruined if you go to the "wrong" meetup and don't meet your soulmates. You'll still probably learn something or meet someone who might be the thing that points you to a better opportunity.

But honestly, join a thing or get more social about a thing you're already doing. There is nothing you can't take a class for in LA. I can tell you from personal experience that if you are a comedy fan, particularly of an LA-based comedian or podcast or similar, it is easy to find some good people through that vector.

Distance is definitely an issue, so that it takes a certain amount of effort just to nurture/maintain a relationship, but it can be done.

I'm moving there in the next month or two and will initiate an IRL meetup, if one doesn't happen before then.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:55 PM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've struggled with this myself. As Lyn says, I think it's about attitude. This is something I am not great at either, but it's important to remember that it's really not a big deal to go to a meetup that turns out lame. I find the sheer volume of them on kind of overwhelming, but you can reduce the "risk" of the evening being a total loss by finding a new place to eat/see/whatever nearby. The upside to the distance is that it's more likely to find yourself in a totally new neighborhood when you go somewhere.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:38 PM on December 9, 2013

Man, we really need to get back in the meetup habit! I've been meaning to propose another one at Sunset Beer in Echo Park.

It took me a while to find my community. Part of it was moving to a part of the city with more things I liked and getting involved in neighborhood activities. In my case, part of it was also finding people who like exploring the city on foot and by bicycle (there are groups for both of these things).
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 6:55 PM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Well then what are we waiting for? Meetup in Echo Park for sure!
posted by DeltaForce at 7:51 PM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:12 PM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

It took me at least two years to make good friends in LA. (At least). It's also a very transient city and people move away or get sucked into work quite often. Hang in there. Get involved, be happy, and remember that moving to a new place is hard and you are doing fine.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:19 PM on December 9, 2013

they seem kind of intimidating and at the same time lame. Also, it's so hard to feel like we're picking the right one. I don't want to end up with a bunch of people that we aren't compatible with.

I live in a very transient city where people are constantly moving in for a couple of years and then out. In 6 years, I've had to construct 3 completely new social circles. Here's what I've concluded:

Nothing is intimidating if you do it often enough. You're new, the onus is on you to go forth to seek your fortune. Attend meetups that sound even vaguely interesting. Go to events and gathering in your community. Hit up the live music scene. Join a writers' group, or fashion, or art, or yoga, or movie watchers -- whatever. Get a feel for what's out there. Soon enough you'll have an idea of what's skip-able without feeling any pangs of "What if I'm missing out?!". So what if you end up at a couple (or a lot) of "lame" events? No one will make you stay in anything you're not enjoying -- feel free to leave if things aren't panning out. But you won't get anywhere if you don't even go in the first place. As they say, 90% of success is just show up.

Put yourself in situations where potential friendship may occur. Start by casting a wide net, then narrow them to a few things you know you can stick out for a couple of months even if you meet no one -- because they are things you're interested in anyway. However, what's likely to happen is you'll end up a regular at the scene, and other regulars will start to recognize you... and presto, nascent friendship!

Finally, getting directly involved is the most efficient way to create relationships. Become the organizer of something; join the board or become a regular volunteer for a non-profit; become part of team sport; start an interest group of your own. These things can be hard work, but also rewarding in so many ways.

Good luck.
posted by enlivener at 11:40 PM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

When I moved up to LA from Orange County, I met a really nice lady through work who introduced me to her group... a bunch of young, vibrant and friendly people... Many of them had met through LA Triathlon.... man, what a great group. They were so nice to me, even though I didn't do triathlon- I was able to get involved by manning the LA tri stall, and painting numbers at meets.... and they were inspiring.... so that's an option...
posted by misspony at 2:41 AM on December 10, 2013

Along the same lines as misspony's suggestion:

I'm pretty new to running, and the people I've met at races have all been so nice I've decided to join a neighborhood running group. I don't think you have to run, I think some people walk.

It's not easy. I grew up here and I wouldn't know how to start over and create a brand new circle of friends. I certainly didn't start running expecting to make friends but if that type of activity sounds fun then I think you could meet cool and local people that way. It's likely some of those people are interested in music or art or books.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:04 AM on December 10, 2013

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