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Ask HN: How do you find friends after moving to a new city?
22 points by rayalez 467 days ago | hide | past | web | 11 comments | favorite



Since a few months I am living in Panama City (Panamá) for work. Of course I met many people at my work place. However, there are some other approaches that helped me a lot:

1. Couchsurfing. Travelers and hosts are everywhere and many of them love to share their experiences. I messaged different people whether they're up for a coffee/ beer and met their friends. It didn't take long until I was part of their social circle and met amazing people.

2. User groups. I've been a Python developer for a long time and in the bigger cities there is almost always a user group - even if it's just students looking for help with their exam preparation.

3. Sports. I don't have to mention how important it is to stay healthy and fit. So I checked out a local boxing club. Enjoying sports (IMO especially contact sports) with others creates some special kind of friendship.

All of these points (plus the obvious social interactions with coworkers) helped me a lot to get set in this city, but also find travel partners and improve my Spanish. All you have to do is bring yourself to go out and talk to as many people as you can. After all, they're all different and you never know what you get.


That's a good question. I'd love to hear about it as well. But so far the popular answer is "hobby groups" (dance classes, photo walks organized via discussions on flickr, etc.).

What sort of worked for me the most so far, are various "international" meet-ups/communities, like Couchsurfing (they now have this feature called "Hangouts" where you could hang out with locals and travelers in real life) but those of course are a bit farther from "locals" and more into expat/traveller scenes.

Also, I believe, going to bars works as well. But you need some calm, cozy and compact places (not the crazy/party ones). Craft beer places work good in my experience also some "artsy" venues.


Depends on how outgoing one is. The shallow end of the pool would be going to meetups. The deep end would be going to bars or other places where people meet. Either way, you have to talk to strangers for it to work, but it is significantly easier to do so when you have some established commonality.


Friends as in "professional contact"? Meetup.com has tons of groups dedicated to startups and software development. They have talks and meetups routinely. Very informal and easy to just get to know other professionals in the area.

Friends as in people you hang out with during your down time? That's beyond me. I'm afraid. I only manage to befriend old people.


I think he means friends as in a group of people you can get trashed with and their is no expectation of "professional" context. Those relationships will be hard to form as you get older.


1) Work. If you have coworkers around your age, or not, and they invite you to things and you like them well enough, go. You may not become good friends with them, but that'll introduce you to people (and it's built-in, you're already meeting your coworkers).

2) Sports. Rec league. Just sign-up and play. You get to meet random people if you never pick your team and just get assigned. After a season or two you'll know who you want to play with. Organized play can be better than pick-up games (depending on where you are) because you'll see the same people regularly and have a chance to actually get to know them. Invite them, or accept their invitations, for food or drinks after the game.

3) Church. Unless you're vehemently atheist or have some other fundamental issue with the churches available in your area. Stick around after service, enjoy coffee and donuts, they usually have social and outreach organizations. You don't have to be religious, though you may get pestered about why you don't go to the Bible study, easy to deflect (IME).

4) Bars. Someone else said this. One thing to avoid, if you're feeling particularly lonely/depressed, don't do this. But otherwise, if you can find a nice small bar (not a sports bar, they tend to be too noisy), and sit at the bar. Get to know the bartender, talk to them, there will be other regulars. It's kind of fun too, you may not make as many friends, but I met a guy that was visiting here studying Native American tribes (archeology) from Oxford. Cool random conversations you can have sometimes.

5) Invite people to things. One thing to realize about life, at some point you have to take charge or things won't happen. If you find yourself not being invited to movies, sports, trivia, parties, potlucks, whatever, do the inviting. Get a small group, encourage them to invite their friends. Keep doing this. You can control who you invite so after a while you can focus on the ones that you're actually becoming friends with.


For dating, I recommend Tinder. You can explicitly say you're new to the area and just wanna make friends (they might think you're lying).

You can also go to meetup.com and find stuff you're interested in.

Bars are fun, I guess, but usually people go with groups so meehhhhh.


1. Volunteer

2. Participate in recreational activities suited for small groups, such as dance, rafting, backpacking

3. Join a local hackerspace

4. Practice the art of disinhibition


I moved to San Francisco without knowing a soul. I started going to a Steelers bar every Sunday during football season and it's where I met my first new group of friends. It was a lot easier when everyone around me was talking about the team/game.


Check out getastandin.com (or look up Stand-in on FB)You'll be able to connect with someone via the app to hangout with vs showing up somewhere and hoping to randomly meet your new bff. ^.^


Bars, meetups, maybe the city's subreddit...




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