You know what I think is daring? Making friends. I’ll be honest: it was not hard for me before we moved. I have always loved meeting and talking to new people, so much so that my elementary school teachers used to “assign” me the new kid to befriend. It was natural to talk their ear off, show them around, and introduce them to my established friend group. The friendliness continued well into my (recent) college years. During my freshman year, I made it my goal to meet three new people every day (this isn’t as difficult as it sounds at a school as big as Berkeley). I really learned the importance of a firm handshake and friendly smile that year.
Will and I are the “new kids” in D.C. and, unfortunately, we don’t have a designated student to show us around. In fact, I work from home, so it’s up to me to challenge myself to find ways to meet people. Thankfully, we’re creative and willing to be bolder than we have been in the past. Here are a few creative ways I have made friends in our new city…
Who knew there were so many groups to join on Facebook? On the Facebook “Groups” page, they have this handy little tab that says “Discover”. Are you a writer, runner, triathlete, foodie? Little did you know that there is probably a local group of men and women that share similar interests. The Discover tab has so many interest groups, from “Health & Fitness” to “Professional Networking” to “Sports”. Once you select an interest tab, Facebook will provide local group suggestions. I also like to start typing “Georgetown” or “DC” in my search box to see what sort of groups show up. You can also search for your local college, sorority, or fraternity alumni chapter.
A few of my favorite groups I have joined are November Project DC Social, Tone It Up DMV!, Sweat Pink DMV, and DC Area Triathletes. Oftentimes, these groups will coordinate meetups and activities that I’m interested in trying. Not finding a group you like? I DARE you to start your own group around your hobby of choice.
Join a gym OR try a free workout!
As I mentioned in last week’s post, Georgetown has more than 20 fitness boutiques and gyms in our little 1.2 square miles. This is such a great opportunity to meet people who are interested in living a healthy and active lifestyle. It sounds like an expensive way to make friends, but if you can take advantage of new student specials and try it out for just a few days, you shouldn’t burden your wallet too much.
Around the U.S., Core Power Yoga and Gold’s Gym offer a free week to new students, Orangetheory Fitness offers a free first class, and The Dailey Method, Soul Cycle, and Flywheel offer a discounted first class. If a gym or studio doesn’t fit your style, the November Project (in 20 U.S. cities), Lululemon, Athleta, and the Nike+Training Club (also in 20 U.S. cities) offer free weekly workouts and run clubs, which usually coordinate around a typical 9-5 work schedule.
Check out online event websites
Similar to Facebook Groups, you can search for events that fit your interests on Eventbrite, Yelp, and Meetup.com. Some events will require paid tickets, but several events are free. Workouts, book clubs, conferences, dance lessons, you name it! These websites have long lists of fun activities near you. If you live in a big city, check out Thrillist, and, for DC residents, subscribe to DCist for weekly events in the DMV.
Sign up for your community’s local email newsletter
When we moved to Georgetown, I discovered that the Georgetown Business District has an email newsletter. They send me emails about Georgetown events, including Fitness in the Park and Taste of Georgetown, as well as new stores and restaurants coming to the area. Find out if your neighborhood has a monthly e-newsletter and subscribe ASAP. You’ll want to be in the know. 😉
Find a church
Granted, not everyone reading this post will be looking for a church, but Will and I have met so many warm, inviting people as we try to find our new home church. A few Sundays ago, during the 30-seconds we were given to introduce ourselves to those sitting around us, I made a new friend, and we’ve already hung out a few times with plans to adventure again soon. Last weekend, I met the pastor of a new church we tried. Surprisingly, he was from my hometown in California and went to high school with my mom. What a small world!
Google your favorite charity and see if there is a way to get involved in your area. I volunteer with Girls on the Run’s Heart & Sole program for 6-8th graders. While I do think I’ve made friends with my fun, occasionally dramatic, and always talkative middle schoolers, I’ve also bonded with the other coaches through our training and weekly lessons.
It’s so easy to put off meeting new people, especially when you convince yourself that you’re too busy or you won’t enjoy the proposed activity. My friends will easily tell you that I am NOT a patient person when it comes to yoga. (Come on, does anyone really enjoy sweating in a heated room next to a bunch of strangers?) However, I wanted to give it a second chance. Last weekend, I met a few girls in Will’s med school class that I wanted to get to know better, and they all told me how much they loved our local Core Power studio. And you know what? I am hooked too. I’m 3/3 with my 7-day free membership and just finished down-dogging it out with one of my new friends at 7 am this morning. Sometimes, meeting new people is about being willing to try new things no matter how
sweaty daring, adventurous, or out of your comfort zone they might be.