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How to Make Friends in a New City

By Bianca Mendez

While there are many challenges that come with moving to a new city like mastering the public transport system or finding a first job, one thing that’s always on a person’s mind is whether or not they’ll make friends. But in adulthood, where it seems like everyone has their solid friend circles figured out, finding a new crew to hit up for happy hour seems daunting. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. Here’s are some of the best places to meet new people, according to Ed’s pals who were once in your shoes.

Work
One of the easiest places to start looking for potential friends is at work. That’s how Maryn Liles, senior editor at YourTango made most of her friendships when she moved to New York City. “There’s something about being in the trenches with someone that really bonds you. And when you’re new to the city and new to the editorial world, having a confidant who ‘gets it’ and is in your same position is an amazing (and necessary!) thing,” says Liles, who starting forming bonds with her coworkers by going on walks and checking up on them by their desks. “At first I was hesitant to be completely open with my new colleagues. After all, work is work, but after feeling incredibly isolated for a few months while keeping my professional facade intact, I slowly started to warm up to my peers at work—and that made all the difference.”

Networking Events
“I also did take advantage of networking events and other young professional meet-ups in the city,” adds Liles. “It was a safe and easy way to bridge that impossible gap from being work friends to real life friends.” Events like Meetup (or cough: Ed2010 Happy hours) provide a more lax environment to meet other people with similar interests. And they’re usually over a few drinks. Terrified of going alone? Take a cue from Lauren Jonik, a freelance writer and photographer who made it “homework” to talk to at least one new person every week.  “I decided to go out to events that interested me like book events and concerts and talk to one new person per time,” says Jonik. “It got easier and I ended up making some solid friends—some of whom I have been friends with now for over 10 years.”
At a Bar
From sports games, to friend of a friend’s birthday party, a bar is a prime time spot for friendships…if you take advantage. That’s how Lia Picard, freelance writer met her friend Alisa when she moved into the city with her husband. “We went to a bar in the Upper East Side to watch our alma mater’s football game and needless to say I was pretty tipsy,” she says. “I wandered away from my husband and his friend to chat to people and assumed [this woman] Alisa was a fellow alma mater. She wasn’t, she just lived in the neighborhood. Before Picard knew it, she got her number and Alisa took her under her wing.
At the Gym
Enjoy hitting up the hottest spin class?  Your weekly pilgrimage to SoulCycle could offer more than just a good workout. Take note of who’s joining the class frequently and make small talk. “When you see someone all the time, you’re bound to find you have more things in common, since you already have that class/instructor in common,” says Nikhita Mahtani, digital editor at Domino. In fact, that’s how she met one friend after overhearing a conversation about a trip to Paris. “We decided to grab a drink after class, and then the next thing I know we were planning trips to the Hamptons,” she said. “It just clicked.”
One important thing to remember is to give these friendships time. “To be honest, I didn’t feel I had a stable friend group or social life until a year or two later,” says Liles. “It takes time to build deep and authentic bonds, so don’t doubt yourself in the process and just keep saying ‘yes’ to opportunities. You’ll find your footing soon enough!”
 Bianca Mendez is a writer and editor who has contributed to Refinery29, TeenVogue.com, Bustle, and other publications. Her perfect day in NYC consists of trying the latest fitness class followed by a night of wining and dining. Check out more of her work at biancammendez.com, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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