Are you new to New York? Here’s how to make friends in NYC
In NYC, a city of more than eight million, making friends can’t be that tough, now can it? Yes, it can. More than likely, you’ll have no problem meeting new people, but believe it or not, making friends in New York can be almost as difficult as renting an apartment. Yes, really.
For some NYC newbies, a long period of adjustment lingers after arrival while others fit into the big city lifestyle almost immediately. Once you’ve settled in and figured out how to navigate NYC via public transit, where the best locations are to hail a taxi, as well as other everyday tasks that come with life in New York, you’ll want to meet new people in NYC and hopefully bond with a few to form long-term, if not lifelong friendships.
Admittedly, it took me a few years to make friends, and I consider myself pretty outgoing. New York is an incredibly busy place, and many people have lived here for decades, so they’ve already established tight circles and aren’t necessarily on the hunt to forge new relationships. You can, however, make new friends in NYC while doing just about anything, provided you’re willing to go the extra mile.
Don’t assume that all potential friends have to be in your age group or have a lot in common with you. The beauty of living in a city like New York is that you can socialize with many different types of people with different interests. I have friends who are 20 years younger and 20 years older than I am. I have straight friends, LGBTQ friends, native New Yorker friends and transplant friends. Know that you’ll meet many types of people in NYC, and if you don’t dwell on demographics, anyone could end up becoming your new BFF.
When you’re trying to make friends in NYC, look in obscure places.
Just about any place or activity presents an opportunity to make friends in NYC. A yoga class, a runners’ group, a Central Park walking tour, an art exhibit, an adventure where you can see New York City like never before––always keep your friend radar turned on because you never know where a future companion might be hanging out and looking to make friends too.
Meet someone? Pick up the phone and call first.
So you meet someone on a Friday night out at MoMA and end up chatting up a storm, and it turns out you both live in Hell’s Kitchen. Finally, after two hours of commiserating about recent subway delays, you exchange numbers and email addresses. Be the first to call, text, or email. There’s no rule. But if you felt a connection, reach out the next day or in a few days. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to connect with potential friends in NYC. Make plans to meet for coffee or grab brunch one weekend.
Head out into the city and explore New York on your own.
Get out and enjoy the city and don’t dwell on the fact that you’re flying solo. New York is a city that welcomes singles as well as couples, and you might even meet some new people in the process of having fun. Go to a museum, or dine at ABC Kitchen after browsing the stockpile of home furnishings at ABC Carpet & Home. Or hang out in the lobby of the Ace Hotel for an afternoon. Make a date with your city and get out there and explore. Isn’t that why you moved to NYC to begin with?
Make New York friends by organizing a group get-together.
If you’re not comfortable doing a one-on-one get-together, invite several people to meet up at a local bar or coffee shop, or, organize a little soirée in your apartment. Invite a neighbor, a few work friends, and anyone you’ve met recently. A group setting is a great way to break the ice. Tell your guests to bring a friend, which is yet another way to broaden your circle. The more, the merrier.
No need to get fancy, so I recommend making your gathering super casual. A few bottles of wine and some nuts and popcorn for munchies will do the trick. Keep the time limited so it’s not too much of a commitment. If you decide to go for after work, 6 p.m. until 7:30 or 8 p.m. should give you plenty of time. And who knows, you might even bond and head out to dinner afterward.
Use an app to make new friends.
I’ve yet to use an app to meet someone, but there are myriad options floating around the tech world. You might consider trying apps like Skout, Meetup, and Meetme, to try and connect digitally, and eventually IRL (in real life). Or check out OneRoof, an app to help you make friends in your apartment building. And yes, you can meet locals in NYC through an app!
Don’t be afraid of rejection.
Not taking any action because you’re afraid of getting rejected won’t bring any new pals your way. Take a chance, otherwise, you’ll never know what could’ve been, and you might end up missing out on what would’ve been a lifelong friendship. Even in a city as massive as Gotham, there are plenty of other newcomers––people move here every single day––and they’re looking to make friends in NYC, just like you.
You’ll make friends in New York, just give it time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a New York friendship. New Yorkers tend to be a bit more guarded than other city slickers, but once we’ve let that guard down, we’ll be your friend for life. It could take a few years until you make friends, but the timing is different for everyone depending on your line of work, how many people you come in contact with, as well as how social of a person you are. In time you’ll meet people, and soon have more friends than you can spend time with. And even if you’re an introvert, you can still meet people and make friends in NYC. I promise.
Do you have any other tips on how to make friends in NYC? Please share in the comments!