how to make friends in a new city

I’m writing this post from 41,453 feet over Wisconsin. I’m on my way to Calgary, Alberta, home of the Flames, the Stampede, and my aunt, who has graciously offered me a bedroom in her home while I take some time to “find myself.” After unsuccessful attempts to find myself in both Ottawa and Toronto, I thought maybe the problem wasn’t me, but the province of Ontario. Maybe I just need to get some fresh air; maybe I need to stare at some mountains for a while.

This is probably the best experience I’ve ever had on a plane in my entire life. The plane is almost empty, which means I have an entire row of seats to myself. There are at least three babies on board, but none of them are crying. The in-flight entertainment is stellar –I’ve watched two episodes of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, and I might just tuck into another when I finish writing. The captain has even been giving us regular updates on the Toronto Blue Jays game–it’s a big one against the Yankees, and so far, we’re winning.

With all of this good fortune, you’d think that I’d be feeling great. And for the most part, I am. There’s just one little problem: the tiny nugget of self-doubt sitting deep in the pit of my stomach. For the first time in my life, I’m worried about making friends. How, exactly, do adults go about making new friends?

When I was in school, it was so easy. I’ve always been a very outgoing person, so I never had any problem chatting up with my classmates and forging friendships with them. But when you’re not in school, and you work from home, what in the hell do you do?

When I first moved to Toronto, I befriended my coworkers at my part-time job. When I decided I wanted to meet more people, I signed up for an improv class at the Second City. I loved the class itself, and my classmates were all nice people, but we weren’t exactly exchanging phone numbers or planning post-lesson trips to the bar. But then again, I never actually asked anyone to go for a drink with me. I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to have a beer with any of them, to be honest, and it seemed to me like most of my classmates already had large groups of friends and busy lives.

Looking back, I can see that I was way too quick to judge those people as “not my type.” I’ve resolved to be more open-minded (and bolder) in Calgary. But aside from harnessing every ounce of courage that I have, what else can I do to make friends? Is there an app for that? Or maybe there’s a website or some other sort of online resource I can tap into? Or maybe a lovely Calgarian man or woman is reading this post right now and thinking, oh man, and this girl sounds really desperate. Maybe I should do my good deed for the year and meet her for a coffee.

If you have any advice, ideas, or relevant stories of your own, please leave me a note below. I’ll be waiting! (No, seriously, though. I’ll probably just be refreshing this page all day.) And if you don’t have any advice, well, let’s just talk about how hard it is to be an adult, shall we?

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