Making friends in a big city like Los Angeles can be daunting, to say the least. Where do you look? How do you start? It’s not like you can host interviews or put an ad in the paper.
No, you must put yourself out there and start meeting new people again. Of course, even then, there are an overwhelming number of activities and events to choose from, and they can prove just as fruitless as posting that “friend wanted” ad.
So how do you cultivate connection and forge genuine friendships? Here are a few of the best ways to make lasting ones.
1. Switch Up Your Routine
Humans are creatures of habit, which means you probably go to the same grocery store, gym and coffee shop each week. Maybe you even head to the same bar for drinks every weekend. While this routine might be comfortable, keeping it is no way to make friends.
Get out of your rut — and your comfort zone — by doing your shopping in a different part of the city. Do your laundry in Long Beach or visit a pub in Beverly Hills. Then, strike up conversations with those around you. Expanding your circle in this way will allow you to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have and provide a bigger pool from which to choose friends.
If you’re not already involved in an activity or hobby you enjoy, volunteering your time is an excellent way to meet new people and lend a helping hand. Luckily, LA offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities.
Help former gang members with Homeboy Industries, provide free job training at the Midnight Mission or partner with a faith-based organization like the Los Angeles Mission to meet the homeless population’s physical and spiritual needs.
3. Start Swiping
Your phone can help you cultivate connection if you use the right apps. Just as you’ve grown accustomed to using dating apps to meet people romantically, there are a plethora of apps out there for making friends, too. Start swiping on Bumble BFF or Friendlier, an app that suggests matches based on similar interests. Others like Nextdoor provide opportunities to get involved within the community and meet people nearby.
4. Try an Exercise Class
Love fitness? Get yourself a best friend that enjoys breaking a sweat, too, by attending an exercise class. Ask your local gym about classes that are included with membership or hit up a yoga, kickboxing or Zumba studio and try something new.
Connect with others over your passion for movement and meet up again to attend the next class. Doing so will help you build a strong bond of friendship that will motivate you to work harder during class and have more fun afterward.
5. Get Outside
If you’d rather enjoy some fresh air and scenic views, look for new friends in the great outdoors. Hit up the dog park and meet other dog lovers or try taking your cat on a walk for the ultimate conversation starter.
There are plenty of good hiking paths in and around LA, too. Don’t want to stray too far from the city? Check out Runyon Canyon Park for beautiful sweeping views and a quick workout. Switzer Falls also offers beautiful scenery and more crowded paths, giving you plenty of opportunities to strike up a conversation and make new friends.
Worth the Work
Making friends in such a big city might seem like a lot of work. However, if you put in the time and effort now, you’ll have companions and besties to hang out with for months — if not years — to come.