Making friends when you (basically) have none
April 3, 2007 10:06 PM   Subscribe

How do you make new friends, when you have no circle of friends?

Over the past year, I've basically lost my circle of friends (graduation, moving, whathaveyou). Right now, I'd say I have about two close friends, and some scattered people-I-kinda-know around town.

Lately I've met some interesting people here and there, but I have no idea how to parlay these new acquaintances into friends. In the past, I'd just invite some friends over, and invite the new person, too. Now, without a circle of friends, it just seems too awkward to say, "hey, want to come over and hang out with me and ... myself?"

So, is there a good way to make friends, one at a time? Is there something that two people, who are acquainted but not yet "friends," could go do as a party of two? Or should you always take great pains to invite someone along, even if you don't know the someone very well, either?
posted by scarlet to Human Relations (22 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
I had this problem when I moved to Seattle, which is kind of notorious for being hard to break into socially. I had good luck posting on Craigslist in the Groups and Activity Partners sections. Probably 75% of the people I hang out with regularly were met through Craigslist.

Another good resource is OkCupid, which I always thought was a dating site, but turns out to be very useful for meeting likeminded people for any purpose.

I organized game nights, which took some of the awkwardness out of inviting people over. It was only awkward the few times when just one person showed up. After a few monthly game nights, I had a pretty good crowd going.
posted by agropyron at 10:17 PM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Good activities for two people — movies ( in the theater, since most people don't like to go alone), shopping, studying together, dinner. Think of all the things you might do on a date, but in a different, platonic way.

To meet new people, try to find groups with similar interests or things you enjoy doing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with one person calling another new acquaintance and saying "Lets hang out tonight." For all you know, maybe they'll invite you to hang with their friends.
posted by Brittanie at 10:38 PM on April 3, 2007

The easiest way to become friends with someone is to first find a common interest. Then you can invite the person in question to do something related to the pursuit of said interest, without any awkwardness. For instance, if you both like horror movies, then you can invite the person to go see the latest horror movie that you're really excited about. Ditto for concerts, museums, hang gliding, or whatever.

If all else fails, you could just say: "Hey wanna go grab a drink." (I should note though, that this probably works most naturally if both parties are male, and judging by your name, you're not. But, still...)
posted by epimorph at 10:40 PM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

i moved to los angeles under similar circumstances recently, and one thing i've found to be true (that is general enough to tailor to your needs) is that you define your interests and seek out night activities where you might bump into like-minded individuals. what a watered down reply - anyway, i guess my point is, i sympathize.

i read somewhere recently that "hiking" is to los angeles what "going to a restaurant" is for new york. read in this statement as you like. my moment of zen certainly arrives when i'm at a table with old friends drinking a nice bottle of wine, and not trekking up a cliff in search of some measure of solitude. unfortunately, my friends here are just not into "dining". and thats part of why i believe i'll never fully adjust to the ethos of this town.

anyway, if you're in the city, there's so much to do. i recommend going to live shows. bars. eating. now that spring is here, there are more and more festivals popping up around town. you know?
posted by phaedon at 10:45 PM on April 3, 2007

Best answer: No, girls "wanna go grab a drink" too.

Another thing you can do is to send out an email (send it BCC if you feel better that way) saying "I'm going to ____ on such and such a day, let me know if you're interested in joining me!"

And blank could be a museum exhibit or a movie or a gallery opening or a bar or a show. Whatever. And if someone wants to go along, w00t! And if not, and it's something you really want to be a part of, GO. You might meet someone /jewishgrandmother

I also got really good at going out alone when I didn't have a secure group of friends. I found a neighborhood bar and made some pals that way, I set up a few "drinks after work" things, I forced myself to reach out to individuals knowing that the proposed event might be of particular interest.

It is hard. HARD. The easiest ways I've ever made friends were the "we're all in this together" friends I've made at jobs and the friends I've accumulated since I've had kids. But before that, it was a bunch of people really trying hard to get out there and find one another. And I still have a lot of them in my life, so I can attest to it being worth the effort.

Good luck.
posted by padraigin at 10:49 PM on April 3, 2007 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It's really not that hard. If you just stop being so afraid of being uncool or awkward for just a little while then doing this is among the easiest thing in the world. If you like somebody and want to spend more time with them then tell them that. Ask them what their weekend plans are, ask them what their dinner plans are, ask them where you can find a decent restaurant or some stiff drinks, offer them your email and cell and then ask them for theirs, ask them where they bought their shoes or who cuts their hair... Hell ask them where a girl can meet some cute guys and cool people. This isn't a mission to the moon or any kind of life-defining challenge. If you put yourself out there just a little bit then you'll meet new people all the time who'll want be your friend.
posted by nixerman at 12:32 AM on April 4, 2007 [7 favorites]

Volunteering for something - especially something political, I think - will make you all sorts of weird, wonderful and passionate new friends.
posted by reklaw at 4:22 AM on April 4, 2007 [3 favorites]

Look for home poker games online and go there to mmet people?
posted by thilmony at 4:58 AM on April 4, 2007

Buy a red hat. Even if you don't see yourself as a candidate for the activities at the linked site, I really encourage you to try it. In my experience, meeting a Red Hat group at a museum, or for dinner is a hoot! They have great attitudes, that lead to good times, and you won't lack for friends with plenty of connections for more than one or two events.
posted by paulsc at 5:01 AM on April 4, 2007

Wow, that Red Hat Society looks like a great idea! Even if my first thought was of the Red Hat Network.

It's such a shame I'm an eighteen year old male; hardly their target audience!
posted by PuGZ at 6:05 AM on April 4, 2007

PuGZ--if you found the right group, I bet that they'd be delighted to have a young male in their midst.
posted by that girl at 7:23 AM on April 4, 2007

I now have no friends here. For the most part I don't care. But then there are times where I think it would be cool to sit down with someone and drink a beer.

It just seems like most people already have enough friends or are just too busy for anyone but themselves.

Wish I had some advice for ya, but I'm almost in the same boat.

Good luck.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:49 AM on April 4, 2007

Response by poster: Good advice so far, thanks. Surprisingly the problem hasn't been finding potential friends, but making those potential friends into real friends. In the past, it was easier being part of a large social group and just inviting the new person along. The new person could get to know everyone and have a few different conversations throughout the night.

Now it just seems like it (is? would be?) weird to invite someone you don't know well to go out one-on-one, in a platonic sense. Maybe this is just overthinking it though, so keep the advice coming!
posted by scarlet at 8:18 AM on April 4, 2007

I think it was said above, but it was good advice. Find out what your acquaintances are interested in. Are there kinds of movies, music, theatre, art they are into? Then look up a related event and invite them to that.

"I remember you saying that you were really into the Impressionists. There's a show of Matisse's work at the such and such museum. I am going to check it out this weekend. Want to come?"

That's a one on one invite that isn't weird at all, and after that you ask them to do more. Then, later, you can invite a bunch of your acquaintances to dinner together.

As far as whether or not it's strange to go out one on one, I don't think so. It's a welcome change from always going out in groups, where it can be difficult to really connect.
posted by xammerboy at 9:34 AM on April 4, 2007

Transitions from aquaintance to friend can be tricky. In my experience, cooking dinner for people, rather than going out, has a more intimate feel to it. They're at your house so they get to see what you hang on your walls, meet your pets, etc. If it's still too new/strange to have people over individually, make it a dinner party or brunch. Also, shopping can be a great way to get to know someone; especially if you have a task in mind. "Hey X, I need a dress for a wedding next weekend and need a second opinion, do you want to go shopping on Saturday? Lunch is on me." It's a compliment and a platonic date in one.
posted by B-squared at 9:57 AM on April 4, 2007

acquaintance, sorry.
posted by B-squared at 9:58 AM on April 4, 2007

If you can get enough acquaintances together, how about having a murder mystery dinner party? You can buy kits. I've never actually done this, but I've been meaning to get around to it for a while. It might make a good icebreaker for a bunch of random people.
posted by someone else at 10:45 AM on April 4, 2007

I'll jump in and say that when I first moved to Boston, I knew one person (and that happened to be my ex's childhood friend..can we say awkward?) I think the post-college social circle displacement is other words, its not as weird as you think to invite other people out for drinks and activities. What's worked for me is I met one good friend through that and my friend web just started branching. Its very no-pressure especially b/c you're all there for the same reason(not a dating website or anything..its stated purpose is to meet new people). Good luck!
posted by Eudaimonia at 11:46 AM on April 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have a very boring day job where I work with very boring people whose lifestyles and values are very dissimilar to my own. So I got a part-time job, doing something I loved, in a place where I was reasonably certain I would have like-minded coworkers. For me, that place happened to be Borders books, but for you, it could be anything - a used record store, a local vintage shop, a gym. The important thing is to find a place that either engages you in an activity that you enjoy (where you're likely to find others who enjoy that activity either as coworkers or customers) or where you will find people in the same age range. For the latter purpose, even Starbux will work.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 12:06 PM on April 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

My first choice would be to go to and find a group in your area that represents your interests. Go to the meetings, and you will find people who are interested in the same things you are, and that's always the best beginning for a friendship.

My second choice would be, although some may think this weird, but you won't think so if you are spiritually inclined at all, put your intention out there that you want a friend and ask the universe to bring it. You will start attracting people, and you will notice which ones give you a gut feeling like they are linked to you somehow.

Third, get a dog. Take the dog out for a walk, somewhere that there are other dog people walking theirs. Find someone with a dog you find interesting, and strike up a conversation. Like, "Your dog's sweater is so cute" or "Your dog's coat is so shiny, what do you do?" or some such chatter. Pets are a great way to break the ice.
posted by unhindered at 4:00 PM on April 7, 2007

I have a really hard time meeting new people as well. The best thing I've done socially in the past few years is find a really good bar where I've become a regular. I was introduced by a friend and found that it attracted creative, intelligent people who were always willing to talk. I've met more interesting new people there than at my job, my neighborhood, etc. by far.

Also, try to be aware of what's going on in your city. If you spot something really neat/odd going on, invite one of your acquaintances. I've found the stranger the event, the better. I once went with a work buddy to the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival; we had a great time and never ran out of anything to talk about.
posted by honeydew at 4:03 PM on April 8, 2007

I find that my best friends are found in places that I really enjoy or love, like the gym, running in the park, church, volunteering. I have in the past moved quite a bit and have been so needy that I was not selective about friends wanting anyone that wanted me and that was a big mistake. I believe that people that are on the constant search for new friends are draining on people. Something is just not right about them. So now I am more selective. I try and smile alot and am approachable. Good luck.
posted by bethrossrn at 4:16 AM on April 11, 2007

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