Finding Your Tribe of Friends in a New City
Adulting is already hard, making friends shouldn't have to be.
After high school or college, people move on with their lives, and the relationships you thought were solid and locked in for life sometimes fade away. To be honest, I used to feel a way about it, but that's the reality we live in. I don't use friends to pass the time; I'm genuinely invested in the people I surround myself with and want them to live happy, fulfilling lives.
Some say I'm socially selective or a lone wolf, but I'm neither. I don't allow just anyone to be in my sphere of peace and happiness. While I have a few great friends now, there was a time when I went to my birthday dinner alone because I chose to. I also decided to find my tribe of good people, which you'll read about today.
But first, let me paint the picture for you: It's my 19th birthday and I'm working as a pharmacy technician, and after getting off my12-hour shift, I decide to dine at Ray's in the City restaurant. I'm already feeling awkward for going by myself, but now they sit me in the center of the restaurant...alone -how embarrassing!
Rule #1 Always Show Up For Yourself.
I felt so lonely that day. Before my food came, I went into the restroom and tried to pull myself together. As I was about to head out, I looked into the mirror, and instead of crying like I wanted to, I smiled. I smiled because I realized I had done the hard part. I made it to the restaurant I had been thinking about all day and all week before my birthday to celebrate myself. It didn't matter that no one showed up for me. What mattered was that I showed up for myself.
Although extremely tired, I slayed my hair, did my makeup, and let me give you the outfit details. I love the color blue, so I chose a stunning blue dress and paired it with a black blazer and some jewelry I spent my whole check on. I wore some lovely black pumps and a silver clutch purse. I looked like a million bucks...okay maybe like $1000 bucks, but anyway I felt gorgeous.
At that dinner, I decided I would never feel like this again. I learned to enjoy my own company rather than be awkward about it. I started taking myself on solo dates, movies, shopping, fine dining, and anything else. Ten times out of 10, I met someone new while I was there alone, and we would become fast acquaintances. Notice I didn't say friends because they haven't earned that title.
THE POINT: I became my best friend and am super comfortable doing anything and everything alone.
How to Make Friends (or NOT)
You probably don't mind initiating a conversation if you're like me.
I was at a celebration for one of my associates at The Gathering Spot, and I met two people at the event. We were talking about random things and the conversation was so good we moved outside and chatted the whole night.
One of the girls and I became acquaintances soon after. She invited me for brunch the next day, and we just hit it off. We were both in grad school and would link up often to study, hang out, and eat at new spots in Atlanta. We have traveled together, and although I'm living on the island now, we still communicate and maintain a long-distance friendship.
She supports me in ways too numerous to name, and I'm so glad I went out that night because I did not want to, if I'm being honest here.
I have had people invite me to brunch only to be disappointed when they start spewing off questions about "how I invest my money, asking for a strategic plan, and being "ready to learn right now"... cause, huh?!
Always be genuine with people. If you're only interested in their services, say that upfront. It's very misleading, and why I am cautious of people who are nice to me or offer to do things for me when I don't know them that well.
That's not to say don't ever help people or be nice, but please learn to develop a spirit of discernment because as givers, we give, and the takers realize that- so they attempt to take as much as you're willing to give.
I have learned from experience that some people aren't looking for friends; they're looking for people they can benefit from financially, socially, and in any way that elevates them with no regard to anyone else. Once they get what they need from you, you're discarded.
Where to Make Friends
During Covid, the world as we knew it changed. Outside was shut down and we relied heavily upon social networks to keep us connected. One of the ways I found friends during the pandemic was by using the Bumble app. I moved to the west coast and knew no one. There are other great apps but I heard so many good things about Bumble so I decided to make an account. Here's what I realized:
Everyone is looking for a friend, and there's no shame. Swipe on, sister!
Your profile needs to be as authentic as it can be. My bio says " Not outdoorsy at all, sis" bc the area I live in is all mountains, and what do people like to do out here? HIKE..eww!
I use the premium to know who likes me, and I don't have to swipe, ad wait to match up.
My friends on the east coast love Bumble and have all made friends from the app too. YAY!
Avoid desperate people at all costs. if their profile screams, "Anybody, please be my friend," RUN
It won't be overnight, but you'll meet people you vibe with and mesh well in time.
As a conversationalist, it's not hard for me to talk to anyone, but please be patient with others. Everyone does not know how to have conversations or keep the convos going, and one of my best friends in the world sucks at it. She is, however, one of the most dependable, consistent, and caring friends I've ever made.
If I had three wishes, with the first I would cure loneliness. -Alicia S.
Build a Good Tribe, Don't Find One
My tribe is my support, motivation, inspiration, and circle of light + love. I am beyond blessed to have met some of the world's most beautiful hearts.
Some people I met organically in my city at events for networking, through mutual friends, church retreats, and Eventbrite. Others I met online in membership communities, Facebook groups, and clubhouse rooms.
No matter where we met, I'm thankful we crossed paths, and I'm glad that I put myself out there and was open to new friends after experiencing a friendship breakup that led me to build genuine, sincere, and meaningful friendships.
Don't give up on finding your tribe of friends. They are out there waiting for you too so go live your BIGGEST, BRIGHTEST, and BEST life.
REMEMBER: You still haven't met ALL of the people who are going to love you!!!!!! Have fun with it, you may not meet a friend everywhere you go, but there are so many other places you haven't been yet.
Working on you is the best way to make space for new relationships and friendships. The most important relationship you ever have will be with yourself. Amplify that love and light you give to others inwards!
- Alicia :)