I got a Q+A question asking for advice on how to make friends in a new town (speaking of Q+A, I'm going to try to get back on that wagon soon!). Truth is, I'm no expert. I've lived in Tacoma for like three years now and I still don't feel like I have all that many friends. One of my good friends was a coworker at the coffee shop I worked at when I first moved here. I convinced my best friend from high school to move here, so I feel like that doesn't count. I met Dan in college, so he doesn't count. Dan went to high school in Tacoma and grew up in Washington, so quite a few of the people I know in town are people he was friends with before I moved here. When I moved here I was basically just transplanted into his group of friends, so I at least had that as a new girl in town. I tagged along with him to parties and met all his friends who became my friends/acquaintances.
- If you have the opportunity, work somewhere that facilitates meeting people. I met lots of people working as a barista and made friends with my coworkers. Obviously this isn't something that everyone can do, but I do miss being a barista sometimes simply because I was able to meet new people who were customers or coworkers.
- Take up a hobby. When Dan and I started rock climbing I don't think we anticipated becoming part of the rock climbing community. It's fun for us now to go to the gym and climb with people who we consider friends. We don't see them much outside of the gym, but with summer approaching we now have friends who we can climb outdoors with! Think about what kind of people you want to meet and find hobbies that might coincide with that.
- Hang out at coffee shops. I don't know if this is just a Northwest thing, but people hang out at coffee shops here for hours. Most of Dan's friends in Tacoma he met while hanging out at a local coffee shop. Weird but true! If you're in school, maybe go to a coffee shop to do homework instead of hiding at home. Take a book to a coffee shop and read it there, grab your laptop and do work there instead of at home.
- Meet other people's friends. I already mentioned this, but since Dan grew up in the area, he already had a much wider base of friends. Try to meet people who have been in the area for longer than you, they probably have lots of local friends they can introduce you to. Go with them to an event or a party or bar and meet the people they know. If you like them, you might like their friends too!
- Volunteer for a cause you care about. The other volunteers will likely care about the same cause as you and might have similar interests as you, since you're supporting the same cause. Plus, since you're volunteering and working on something, breaking the ice is much easier.
- Take a class or join a sports team. Again, you're putting yourself in a situation where people with similar interests already are. Take a class at the local community college or craft store. Everyone is learning a new skill and it's easy to start conversation around what you're learning. Dan joined an adult dodgeball team here in Tacoma a few years ago and it was a really fun way to hang out with people. Plus, after games you all can go out and grab a drink or bite and continue meeting one another.
- If you have a specific faith community, a church can be a great way to meet other people. Churches also typically have events and groups that already exist which you can join to find people in similar situations as you (parent groups, college groups, singles groups, etc).