Last week, a reader emailed me asking for help with something, and it’s a request I’ve gotten quite a few times before:
How do I, a post-college adult, make new friends in New Haven?
Now, I’m not an expert in friend-making. But I do know quite a few people, and it’s not just the unadulterated fame and glory of writing New Haven’s only semi-active blog.
When I came to New Haven, I barely knew anybody. Now I know like… six solid people. And you can’t have them.
But I’ll help you find your own solid group of weirdos. All I ask is that you name your first born after me.
Step One: Join a Kickball League
Seriously. I can’t stress this enough.
I made an insane amount of friends just by joining a kickball league. Just head over to Kickball.com and see what leagues are in your area. The Spring Ivy league is huge. And full of attractive functioning alcoholics.
Some of my very best friends were folks who I met on that team, and their girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, and deranged siblings.
The tailgating scene is awesome, too, so break out your portable grill and enjoy the sunshine and grilled meats. Next thing you know, you’ll be playing Giant Jenga with your best mates at the bar.
Now, I personally had to retire due to not being great at this whole “moderation” thing, and it’s hard to remember everything that happens on Game of Thrones after twelve vodka sodas. I am not a perfect human.
Step Two: Join the CT Young Professionals
Another social group, CTYP this one less focused on how terrible you are at catching large round balls with your face, and more on happy hours and, well, honestly… it’s mostly happy hours. But you like cool, successful (?) people holding margaritas, don’t you?
Last week they held a salsa dancing lesson happy hour with the Future Leaders of Yale (another group you should join if you happen to work or Yale) at Trinity. It was about as much fun as you could have sweating in front of attractive co-eds as I can really imagine.
The people who run the group are pretty awesome most of them weren’t born in New Haven, so they, too, know the isolation of being new in town. They’re more than happy to help you meet new people cause they were there once, too.
Step Three: Check Out Local Meetups
Meetup.com is an interesting idea: Try to focus on like-minded individuals making friends, aside from the whole dating thing.
In reality, it doesn’t quite work like that, since anytime you put people and booze in a room together, someone is gonna end up making out. And sometimes, some of those people are a bit creepier and the whole thing is kind of awkward and regrettable, like the second season of The Wire.
But you push through, because sometimes, you get something truly special, like the fourth season of The Wire.
For me, the nerds in NewHaven.IO were that group. Plus, they help me be a less crappy programmer, which is nice.
Step Four: Get Involved in New Haven Bike Community
New Haven has a very active bike community and it’s always looking for new members!
You could get involved in New Haven Bike Month (they actually have an event tonight!) or check out New Haven Bike Party. Which is almost exactly what it sounds. Come to think of it, a lot of this stuff is bike-related.
Devil’s Gear Bike Shop also has frequent scheduled rides around the city. Just remember to wear your helmet, cause they’re real uppity about that kind of thing.
Step Five: Volunteer and Attend Meetings
One of the best ways to get involved in a city is to volunteer.
You can help out at the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen. You can tutor at the very awesome New Haven Reads. United Way has plenty of volunteer opportunities.
If you’re a lady, there’s the Junior League.
Or get involved in your local politics. There’s the Downtown-Wooster Square Community Meeting group for voicing your opinion or check out this page I just googled on activism in New Haven.
Or just show up at one of the seemingly daily protests, I’m sure someone there can point you in the right direction.
Step Six: Become a Regular at your Local Pub
If there’s one thing that helps, it’s knowing your local bartenders. Sure, sure, they’re not really your friends since your entire friendship is based on a financial transaction.
But you know who bartenders know?
If you hang out and make friends in a non-creepy way with your local Alcohol Serving Professional, they’ll probably introduce you to other barflies sooner or later.
Admittedly, going to a bar alone, especially as a woman (I assume), can be really weird for newcomers. I recommend bars with TV’s, so that way you have something to stare into while you avoid the unsettling notion that you’ve squandered your youth.
But next thing you know, that cute boy/girl next to you is actually also a UConn fan! And you’re chatting it up about how terrible the team looks this year. I mean, honestly, so terrible. What’s their problem? I swear, Ollie has one more year of good graces.
Plus, chances are there are a few other regulars, and who can’t use a few more friends?
Recommended locations: Three Sheets, JP Dempsey’s, Christy’s, and Trinity (that’s where I watch the Sabres lose when they’re actually on television!).
When in doubt…
… check out this Facebook group. What, you thought you were the only person who gets bored?
[…] course, this article is going to look a lot like B2R’s Guide to Making Friends in New Haven, since they’re pretty similar skills. After all, isn’t a lover just a friend you want […]