This is a guest post I wrote that originally appeared on one of my very favorite blogs, Back East Blonde.
You could say I’m a bit of a nomad. Over the past eight years I’ve moved from Nebraska to New York to Seattle to Minnesota. It’s cost me thousands of dollars and involved enough U-Haul rentals to last a lifetime. But the hardest part? Making friends, hands down.
Turns out, the easiest way to meet fellow “grown-ups” is at the office. But what happens if you don’t work with anyone your age? Only have two colleagues to choose from? Perhaps you work out of your home and have resorted to conversing with your chihuahua–who you’ve hired as your ‘secretary’–to avoid feeling totally isolated.
I fell into that last category, in case you’re wondering.
The day I broke down crying in the middle of Caesar’s Palace because a trip with my college gal pals was over, I knew it was time to take action. Making friends in school had been cake! But my new self-employed reality meant social interaction was limited to annual get togethers with long-distance friends. Something had to change.
The moment I returned home, I opened my laptop and pulled up Google.
“How to make friends in Seattle” I typed pathetically in between handfuls of Cheetos.
An endless array of results filled my screen. Maybe my search wasn’t totally lame, after all? After clicking on several links, I decided to pursue Meetup.com, a networking site dedicated to helping you “find your people”. It sounded perfect!
Over the next seven days, the following things happened.
- I joined “The Pink Stilettos”, a local Meetup group for “girly-girls in their twenties and thirties”.
- I RSVP’d to a Sex and the City themed event at a local bar, much to my husband’s chagrin.
- I showed up to the soiree with my husband, who decided to bail at the last minute as my endeavor was “beyond ridiculous”. (So much for having a wingman.)
- I dressed as my favorite character (Carrie) per the event instructions, only to be told I was “completely overdressed” by the bouncer.
- I learned the hard way that the party had been cross posted with a singles meetup. Let’s just say dudes were creepin’.
- Because I’m a people pleaser, I ended up across the street in the Nordstrom shoe department with a sixty-five-year-old drag queen. We left shortly after as they didn’t carry womens’ size 13s. (Thank God.)
- I was cornered for twenty minutes by a delusional broad dressed as Samantha while waiting in line for the ladies’ room. She swore up and down she was second in line for Beyonce’s role in Dream Girls. Personally, I thought she more closely resembled the Pine Sol lady.
- I spotted two twenty-somethings across the room. One was wearing a giant fascinator atop her head. Surely she wouldn’t be sporting that headpiece to catch a man! I marched right over to introduce myself.
Today, those two women are very dear friends– in spite of the fact that within five minutes of meeting them I downed three cocktails, showed them twenty-six photos of my dog, and gave a TMI-account of some recent drama with my uterus. Clearly, these chicks (and their headpieces) could handle my unique brand of crazy. We had brunch the following weekend, and the rest is history.
I’ve since moved to Minnesota, where I’m lucky enough to have discovered a new circle of friends. Thankfully, it’s been exponentially easier to meet people with each move, due large in part to eight years of social trial and error.
Tired of talking to your chihuahua-turned-secretary and ready to find some new peeps? Want to do it without finding yourself on a shoe-shopping spree with a male retiree in lipstick? Here are my tried and true tips:
1. Friendship is like dating. You have to put yourself out there and you might get rejected. The sooner you accept (i.e. get over) this, the sooner you’ll be enjoying a wine-fueled GIRL’s marathon with your new posse.
2. Be vocal about flying solo. I was amazed at how many like-minded ladies I met who were going through the exact same social struggle as myself. Much like stretch marks or a crush on Joey Lawrence circa 1995, it’s not something people like to bring up with complete strangers. (Which is precisely why you should bring it up.)
“I just moved here and work from home, so I have no friends and spend my free time shopping online” was practically my mating call when I first landed in the Midwest. I would announce this fun fact on the headset microphone during my side gig teaching group exercises classes at a local gym. I was shocked and amazed at how many girls–most of whom initially appeared intimidating–would approach me after class with a big, fat, “Oh my gosh…me too!” Making new friends is a scary, and I guarantee you aren’t alone in your quest. Make your single status public knowledge, and potential gal pals will gather like moths to a flame.
3. Throw a party. Hosting a social event is a fabulous way to turn casual connections into solid friendships. Once I had lured a few unsuspecting gym-goers into my circle of contacts, I decided to throw a Mexican Margarita night. Sure…the copious amounts of tequila led my husband to bring up the delicate subject of donkey shows…but at least it helped me weed out the ones who couldn’t hang!
There you have it. My (mostly) fool-proof steps to assembling a rocking army of girlfriends. It takes guts, confidence, and just a pinch of delusion, but it’s a method I swear by.
Also…whatever you do, don’t resort to entering a married woman’s pageant in hopes of meeting your bestie. You’ll still wind up friendless–just with a $700 evening gown you’ll never wear again, and a judges feedback sheet in which three different local business owners politely tell you your thighs are too big.
Whatever. I didn’t want to be Mrs. Washington anyway.
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