The most difficult thing about moving to a brand new area where you don’t know a soul is making new friends. Especially as men searching for other male friends to bro down with. (The film I Love You, Man captures this issue almost perfectly.)
I know this because I’ve done it multiple times. A few years ago, I uprooted and moved to Ocean City, Maryland, a resort town that has a population of like 1,000 people during the winter months.
It is certainly not an ideal situation to find yourself in, but relocating to a random, strange place is sometimes part of life. Occasionally, we have to go where the jobs take us. Otherwise nobody would live in Tulsa.
Here are some tips for if you happen to find yourself all alone in a strange land.
- Hit the bar. There are bars everywhere you will ever live, and there are people who like to walk into them, sit down, and drink alcohol. For whatever reason, they tend to enjoy speaking with other human beings while they do. Going to a bar alone may seem strange, but desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s better to do this than to sit alone in your apartment, binging on a box of cheap Pinot Noir. (Trust me.) And the booze will help loosen you up a little bit, so you can, you know, start talking to random dudes. When I moved to Ocean City, I made my two best friends by hanging out at a bar close to my place.
- Go to the gym or the basketball court, etc. If you join a run at a local basketball court, you’re immediately going to have some allies—the guys on your team. And if you’re nice and they like you (and you have a silky-smooth jumper), they might invite you to come play again. Before you know it, you’ll have a weekly game, after which you go out and drink beer together. Then you start hanging out on the other days, watching sports and eating steak. You know, guy stuff.
- Chum up to your co-workers. When it comes to making friends, co-workers are the low-hanging fruit that you should totally embrace. Don’t be afraid to strike up some water cooler talk with them right away, to let them know you’re a social being and that you would like to fit into the cultural mold of your new office. Then organize a happy hour. People love happy hours. If all your co-workers are douche-bags, then expand your search throughout the building or plaza where you work. Become a second-hand smoker, if you have to. Just stand outside when people go on smoke breaks. Strike up a conversation. This is especially beneficial because people are super approachable and relaxed when they’re getting their nicotine fix.
- Use meetup.com. This website is fantastic for people looking not only to network, but to make new friends. Depending on where you are geographically, the site has groups for people interested in pretty much anything. It’s how I found a Friday Night Magic: The Gathering game when I moved to New York (I’m not ashamed), and I made some friends through a Pittsburgh Penguins meetup, as well. I especially suggest going to a meetup for your favorite team’s sporting event. It’s a great way to meet people who not only love the same group of sweaty dudes that you do, but who may also come from the same location. You can forge a friendship based initially on nostalgic discussions about your hometown.
- Go on dates. Not with guys. Unless you like guys, then go on dates with guys. I mean go on romantic dates. It’s easier to meet people under romantic pretenses than it is to make friends of the same sex. To my knowledge, OKCupid for platonic, same-sex people does not yet exist. But if you go out with a girl a few times, she’s likely to introduce you to places and people in the area. Then, before you know if you’re bro’ing down with her best friend’s dude friend, going on weekend outings and all that awesome stuff that helps you love your new life in this new area.