Making Friends in a New City

I recently received a comment from someone who, like me, moved to Chicago, and who also doesn’t work with young professionals her age. I have worked out of my living room the almost three years that I’ve been in Chicago, and until starting The Everygirl, was working by myself. This could have been a recipe for disaster, but I put myself out there and have made some really wonderful friends.  I don’t have tons of friends, but am lucky to have some really good ones and want to share a few examples so you can see how, through one person or one event, you can end up making some great friends.

I first moved to Chicago on Feb 1, 2010 for a 1.5 month sublease in the Loop. The thought of actually moving across country terrified me, so since I was working from home, I brought my laptop and worked from Chicago during that time. I did not know a single person, but reached out to Michele, Chicago blogger that a friend of mine had been following. She invited me to an event where I met Kirby. Michele and I have stayed in touch through work, and Kirby and I are still friends. We actually met for lunch on Sunday. Reach out to people. Even bloggers you don’t “know.”

I decided to look for a place toward the end of my sublease and contacted a real estate company. I was told that a girl named Amie would come pick me up and show me around. After looking at a few places, she invited me out for a manicure and drinks. I’ve actually only seen her once the past year, but we’re still friends. I also met a few people through Amie. No one I am particularly close to, but still good people. You never know where or how you’ll make a new friend.

My mom had an associate out here in Chicago who was going to a friend’s BBQ just two weeks after I moved here. She told me he was going to invite me, and while I’d normally never agree to this, figured I might meet some great people. This is where I met Christine, another LA transplant. We spent a lot of time together the year she lived in Chicago. She has since moved back to LA. Go to things. Even when you don’t want to.

I spent almost two years in a brand new building in River North. Everyone was new to the building and the city, so I made a group of friends in my building. Much like my CrossFit friends, we traveled in a group. I stayed good friends with my next-door neighbor Brandon. He has since left Chicago, but we’re still in touch and get together every time he comes back to town. I went out with Brandon and his friends a a few times and became friends with his friend Allison. Make friends with your neighbors!

And on to one of the most important ways I’ve met people–blogging! I made quite a few friends through blogging, but am only close with a few of them. The two who have changed my life the most are two of my best friends–Alaina (Everygirl co-founder) and Gina (the girl who brought CrossFit into my life). Even if you don’t have a blog, you can always reach out to someone you know who does. Bloggers are generally pretty nice and will almost always reply. Or at least I’ve found that to be the case. Consider starting a blog, or reach out to a blogger you know.

And another big one–CrossFit. Gina was actually a client back in May ’12, and I started asking her Qs about paleo. She wrote a very long email about paleo and Crossfit, and I told her I was in the area and asked if she’d want to grab lunch. We met for lunch, she talked me into giving CrossFit a try, and I was welcomed into an amazing group of people who I spend most of my weekends with. I honestly don’t know what I did without these people in my life. I love them! I realize that not everyone wants to give CrossFit a try, so if it’s not for you, take up yoga or spinning, volunteer, join a networking group, sign up for an art class…get out there!

The best piece of advice I can offer you is to put yourself out there.
Ask people to grab coffee, get lunch, or plan drinks with a few friends
and tell them they’re welcome to bring people. I don’t do this as much
anymore, but make it a point to stay in touch with my friends. If
someone invites you to a birthday thing or drinks with their friends, go! 

Have you ever relocated to a new city? How did you make new friends?