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Moving to a new city is difficult, especially a big city like New York! NYC is an exciting fresh start for many people, full of culture, art, fashion, food, and adventure. At least, that is how I felt when I packed up my life from Virginia to move to New York after graduating college. However, at the same time, it can feel incredibly daunting trying to find your group. I had the double whammy of moving to NYC during the pandemic. All the bars and restaurants shut down, so it was extra tricky! Despite these obstacles, with a little effort, I made amazing friends who I could not imagine my life without. I have created this guide to making friends in NYC so you can find your crew, too!
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out my list of unique things to do in NYC.
Talk to your neighbors
Talking to your neighbors is a great idea, especially if you live in a large building. Do not be afraid to introduce yourself to someone in the elevator, walking up the stairs, or in the laundry room! Break the ice by saying that you recently moved to the city and would love to get some neighborhood recommendations! I cannot express how many people I know who have made close friends this way by just being open and starting a chat with their neighbors. There are apps like OneRoof, where you can get to know others in your building if you are too shy to approach someone offline.
Use Bumble BFF
This popular dating app might not be this first thing that comes to mind for making friends in NYC, but it has a surprisingly useful feature for friends called BFF. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started using the BFF feature. Would the people on it be creepy? Would anyone else use a dating app to make friends? However, thinking I had nothing to lose, I made a profile and started swiping. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the people on the app were others around my age who had also just moved into the city. I went on multiple “friend dates,” and though not all of the connections stuck, I had a lot of fun and made two of my absolute best friends in the city through this app.
Don’t feel discouraged if your first few connections don’t work out. After all, finding friends is much like dating. You need to find the right fit, and that may take time! Please note: I have heard this method is most successful for women than men.
Meetup is an excellent app that connects you to others based on your interests! You can join different groups that appeal to you. They can be sorted by interests, activities, and age range. For example, I am a part of multiple meetup groups for 20-somethings, food-related activities, art-focused groups, and escape room enthusiasts (I love solving a good puzzle!). Joining these groups has allowed me to connect with others with a common interest, making it a great app to lead to friendships.
Go to professional events
One of the biggest reasons that younger people move to New York is the job and networking opportunities, so take advantage of them! Network with your coworkers and attends events or happy hours! If you are working remotely, try joining a coworking space. It helps with productivity, and you can meet new people from various industries. Some apps like Clockout list different networking events or groups you can join!
Sign up for new activities
Sign up for a new class or activity to find other people with similar interests! The activity can be anything from a sports league to an art or cooking class. You’ll get to try something new and make new friends! I took up Muay Thai (Five Points Academy) and sewing (NYC Sewing Center) and have made new friends from both of these hobbies. NYC is also the perfect place to get into a new hobby because the options are truly endless.
Find events run by groups in your community
Many organizations throughout New York City dedicate themselves to bringing people of similar backgrounds together. For example, Moishe House is a group that brings together young people in the Jewish Community. They run many fun events, from happy hours to Shabbats to educational events! Despite not being Jewish, I have gone to quite a few of these events because one of my friends runs a Moishe House. With a bit of searching online and on Facebook, you can find communities of similar cultures and backgrounds to make new friends.
Join a volunteering group
Another way to meet new friends is to volunteer for something you are passionate about. You will meet other people with the same passion and values for whichever cause you are interested in while giving back to the community. Some great websites to check for volunteer opportunities include New York Cares and Nxyt. You can also search for long-term options based on your interests. There are many possibilities, from helping at food banks to mentoring kids and teens.
Post on social media or ask your current friends
This method may be challenging if you are shy, but chances are that someone you know also knows someone living in New York. Ask them to introduce you! Or, if you have no fear (like me), post on your social media pages letting everyone know that you are moving to New York City and would love to connect with any friends there. You might not get a response, but even just one response will help you get connected! I do this whenever I am traveling somewhere new and have met up with so many incredible people this way!
Making friends in NYC takes time and effort, but you will find your place in this big city! Keep an open mind, talk to new people, and don’t get discouraged if certain friendships don’t work out. It is like dating; you need to find the right match! The great thing about NYC is that there are people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests, so take a deep breath and try the tips above.
On a side note, if you’re also young and love traveling, please don’t hesitate to message me! I’m always up for making new friends in the city!