Success: How to Make Friends in Davis, CA or any New City
Finding friends when you move to Davis,CA can be a challenge. If you’re a UC Davis student or have roommates, you have a leg up. College (and graduate school) is the one time in your adult life that you will be thrown together with a cohort of people your age that is roughly evenly split between the sexes. Take full advantage of this time in your life to make friends you could be keeping for decades to come.
Join every student group or organization that aligns with your major. These people will form the network that can help you as you all collectively advance in your careers.
But most importantly join groups that have NOTHING to do with your chosen field. Find on-campus friends who share your common passions or even mild interests. Take classes that are off the beaten path. Follow Steve Jobs’ famous example:
You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down…
[note – this is long but it’s worth it. He’s talking about dropping out of university.]
Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
If you’re not a student, you can still throw yourself into all that a town like Davis, CA has to offer. First there are a few danger zones but the good news is that they’re all in your head. As Thorin Klosowski, the author of The Dumb Things I’ve Caught Myself Doing After Moving to a New City puts it:
I found myself lamenting all kinds of things that I missed. I looked for a neighborhood bar to replace my old one, bike paths that felt like my old home, and even specific friends to replace the ones left behind. I was closed-minded to new places, because they weren’t similar enough to my old, familiar ones. I caught myself thinking things like, “This bar isn’t as grimey and small, plus they don’t play metal all the time,” or “He’s nice, but he’s not as cool as so-and-so.” Obviously, this is silly. It doesn’t do you any good to try and remake the past.
Start with the basics of integrating with your new location. As About.com states in 14 Things You Need to Do After You Move into a New Home, just getting your paperwork in order can help launch you socially:
- Register to vote. Again, if you’ve moved cities, it’s important to make sure you’re on the voter’s registration for your local area. You should also make sure you’ve updated all important files and documents with your new address.
- Get connected to your new neighborhood. Buy a subscription to the local newspaper or community magazine. This will quickly get you up to speed on what’s happening in your neighborhood.
- Get a library card – one for each member of the family. Once you have a library card, you can consider yourself, home!
The Yolo County Library is an outstanding place for adults to make new friends.
The best advice we’ve seen came from Apartment Therapy’s 5 Tips for Settling Into a New City (Even If You Don’t Know Anyone):
Say yes to everything. You need either all or some of the following life essentials in your new city: friends, a BFF, a boyfriend/ girlfriend, and a job. You won’t find these by sitting at home and ordering delivery while watching Bravo. Get out there! Go to everything people invite you to. Remind yourself that you are on a mission to find these life essentials!
Ask to be set up on friend dates… or date dates. Welcome to the way grown-ups make friends. We’re not in college anymore. Ask your BFFs in your current city if they know anyone in your new city. Ask your family if they know anyone who might be a nice friend for you. Scour Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and whatever other social media you’re on and find out who from your network lives in town. You might be surprised.
Lifehacker.com’s Why It’s So Hard to Make Friends After College (And What to Do About It) offers some very concrete tips:
- Use services like Meetup.com, which hosts outings for everything from outdoor hiking to poetry readings to kid dance parties. Whitson says he went to a Dungeons & Dragons meetup and ended up with a group of four guys that he played D&D with for the next three years.
- Use daily deals, such as Groupon or LivingSocial, to take classes or other activities. Alan says he met a lot of really cool people at a Living Social whiskey tasting. Actually, Thorin also says he met a lot of people at a whiskey tasting. Nothing like food and drinks to bring people together!
- Meet people at church. As Joshua jokes, “church activities are full of people contractually obligated to be your friend.”
- Join a sports league (bonus points: get regular exercise!). My husband’s part of a weekly basketball league that’s recruiting new members all the time.
- Get out with your dog (or maybe even get a puppy). Lifehacker readers Em andPowermobydick (on Twitter) say that walking their dogs and going to dog parks have helped them meet new people.
- Other obvious but still effective ways to get out there include volunteering, starting a new hobby, joining a neighborhood book club, and even traveling.
Once you’ve found a potential friend, you can get past the awkwardness of turning him or her into a friend by suggesting a common activity and setting up regular meetups (e.g., Sunday brunches) to build that relationship. Lifehacker reader Emily Adams (@emilyadams829) offers this good tip:
Also, be hospitable! Organize dinners and happy hours at your house where people can be comfortable and let their guard down.
Yes, building friendships is a lot like dating—and can take as much effort and emotional investment.
Don’t be afraid to hang your solo flag high, How To Make A Bunch Of New Friends In Any New City
2. Eat Alone In Public
If you don’t know anyone in a new city, it can be tempting to order take-out and retreat back to your lonely apartment or hotel room. Instead, try eating by yourself in public as often as possible.
You might feel self-conscious eating by yourself but it has an important benefit: you are much easier to approach when you are alone. People may be afraid of interrupting you or being rude if you are in a conversation with someone else.
Bring a book or newspaper to read (this will make you feel less self conscious). Plus, having an interesting book with you will give others an excuse to start a conversation if they’ve read it.
Davis is a very friendly town. If you’re still having a hard time making friends, check out our weekly list of Davis Things To Do and your social calendar will fill up pretty quickly.