Make New Friends But Keep The Old…Wait ,What Was That First Part?

Living in a small city has many, many advantages. For example, it takes me 15 minutes to get to work (on a bad day), my rent for my 2 bedroom apartment is literally 1/3 of what my friends in New York City pay for their closet-sized apartments, I  don’t have to plan my day around traffic patterns. Groceries, going out to eat, drinks at bars and other items are rather affordable, etc.

But there are a few disadvantages. My city is the type of place where people grow up and/or go to college and then leave. However, it seems that lots of people around the age of 27-29 realize that this city is a great place to live cheaply and they come back here when they want to get married and start a family. So you have a lot of young people (high school and college kids ages 17ish-21ish) and a lot of older (than me) people (approx. 27+). So then what is a 22 (almost 23) year old like me to do? I live with my boyfriend so I have a “built-in” friend, but I don’t think spending all your time with your significant other is a.) normal b.) healthy or c.) possible. I do have high school friends in the area as well as other random assorted friends. I obviously enjoy seeing them, but I guess I always pictured my post-college life to be like “The Hills”. Do you know what I mean? If not, let me explain….Lauren Conrad moves from one city in California to another city in California and all of a sudden she has this magical new life. She meets these great new friends (Audrina and Whitney, forget about Heidi) but still keeps the old friend (Lo) and they go out together as a (usually) happy family and have wonderful adventures. She also somehow manages to have strong relationships with her boyfriend(s) throughout the show and still holds an internship and then later a job. This is what I want. I’ve got the Lo part covered. Now where are Audrina and Whitney? I’d even take a Heidi…. How do you meet new people in a new city after college? Let me back up and say that Lauren met Audrina thanks to casting directors. They found Audrina laying by the pool of an apartment complex and asked her if she wanted to be on a reality show, and magically she appeared as Lauren’s new best friend. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury. I must go out and “cast” my own friends. Here’s the thing…it was so easy when you lived in a dorm or were in a sorority or in the same major as someone, but now the times have changed. The people in my apartment building have many children and have fights ending with police visits, so I don’t think they’re the kind of people we’re looking to socialize with (don’t worry we’re moving soon). My mom is convinced that joining a gym is the solution to making friends, but I’m not really in a friend-making mood when I’m sweating my face off. Do you meet friends the same way you meet guys? Go up to them at a bar and strike up a conversation? That’s a little weird, I think. My college friends who have relocated to new cities and I often discuss this. Meeting new friends is almost MORE difficult than meeting a new boyfriend. When meeting new girlfriends, “friend dates” are a must. You have to go to coffee, get your nails done, go shopping, or do other female-type activities that allow for bonding to happen. You have to share intimate details of your life but you can’t get too intimate because you don’t want to spook the potential new friend. At the same time, if you’re too vague and distant then the other female gets an “I’m not interested in this friendship” vibe. It’s a fine line. This is the first time since I moved to my city in 1st grade that I haven’t had a solid friend base, and it’s a strange feeling. Even when there was drama in middle school and pettiness in high school (not nearly as much in college), at least you knew you had a friend base to fall back on. I used to think that moving to a bigger city would help, but I think the same basic problem exists. Making new friends once you’re out of school is HARD! We’re so used to being handed built-in friends (from classes, extracurriculars, etc.) that when we are done with that type of lifestyle it’s hard to figure out how to build a new, adult life with new, adult friends. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. If I come up with a great solution, I’ll let you know.

Remember when Heidi looked like this?
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