Welcome to San Francisco! It’s a new city full of endless possibilities and all you have is your dreams and — oh no, you don’t know anyone, you’re completely alone, and this was a terrible mistake.
Not to worry! At Starcity we’re always looking for new community members (coliving means there’s always someone to eat pizza with at 2am). But even if (you think) you’re not great at meeting people, there are still a ton of ways to make friends in San Francisco as an adult.
1. Maybe you already have friends!
San Francisco is a big place, and you’ve met a lot of people over the years. Time to dust off the old social media rolodex and see if you know anyone in the area. If you want to avoid seeming desperate (not that there’s anything wrong with that), start by asking if anyone has any recommendations for the best breakfast in the city. Locals will come out of the woodwork to chime in, and you can promptly schedule a food crawl with everyone.
2. Turn your acquaintances into friend-quaintances!
Know some people from work? Are any of them okay? Do they get hungry around lunch time? Ask if they have any recommendations (yes, food is still a good way to bond) and eat with them. People like eating with other people and sharing strong opinions about which food is the best food. Plus, if you’re trying to form stronger connections with people you don’t know well, it helps to start in situations that don’t require much coordination.
3. Wear a flag.
Not literally a flag (though that could work too?) but something that signals to the people around you that you like *A Thing*. That’s a conversation starter for sure. Not a lot of people know about my favorite podcast, The Adventure Zone, but if I ever, ever see someone wearing something from it, we are bffs for life.
4. Get a dog.
Dogs are so much better at making friends than humans. Ride those furry coattails, baby! You can now go to dog parks and make enjoyable chit-chat while Meatball vets your new buds through his all-powerful nose. Of course, it can be tricky to find a place to live that will allow dogs, but Starcity’s got you covered there.
5. Make friends with your friends’ friends.
As is the case with money, sometimes it takes friends to make friends. If they like you, they’re bound to have good taste in other people, right?
6. Do something embarrassing.
I made a ton of friends doing improv. You can’t help but be vulnerable when you’re doing something new, and if you’re awkward, at least you’re in good company.
7. Try to make a group of friends.
If one friend is too hard, sometimes trying to bond with a group is easier. Group exercise, improv, book clubs, writing clubs, the Breakfast Club—all great options.
8. Use technology.
9. Talk to someone next to you on BART.
NEVER DO THIS. Someone started talking to me on BART the other day and my first thought was, “this is weird, but friendly!” Then he started talking about his big business opportunity and I realized “oh, this is a multi-level marketing scam—that makes a lot more sense.” BART and MUNI are not places to make friends. Everyone just be cool and keep your heads down and we’ll all get to where we want to go in one piece. On the other hand, I have successfully made a friend on a plane ride, so if the flight is short enough, say SFO to LAX, go for it. Feel free to open with, “what’s the deal with airplane food?” if they look like a fan of ‘90s observational comedy.
10. Find someone who is worse at making friends than you.
Let’s say you’re bad at making friends. You’re not a good small-talker, socially awkward, and anxious. Not a problem, because I guarantee you someone is worse at it. One time, I made friends with someone at a party when we both realized that we hated small talk and forced social gatherings. We then talked about one of my go-to ice breaker questions at the time: “When you die, would you rather be forgotten or hatefully remembered?” Like I said, I was not good at small talk!
11. Learn the names of people you interact with.
I once had a Sociology professor who said that learning someone’s name was the prerequisite for all deeper forms of human interaction, so on the first day of class he made everyone learn names. It stands to reason then, that any friend you make, you’ll need to learn their name at some point. (Side note, I actually had a friend once whose name I didn’t know and it really put a damper on the friendship.) Make the necessary first step by asking people their names, giving yours, and writing it down to make sure you remember it! One of life’s underrated joys is to be on a first name basis with people at your favorite cafe. It’s how you become a beloved regular instead of just another person who should look up from their phone when ordering but doesn’t.
There you have it: a whole bunch of ways to make friends. Sure, a lot of them might not work, but on the plus side, there are a lot of people in the world!
If you’re getting out there being yourself, chances are that someone will respond.
Have a better way to make friends? Let us know!