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|Written by Miss Smartypants|
|Monday, 21 February 2011 00:00|
Dear Miss Smartypants,
I recently got a fantastic new job, but this involved moving to a new city where I didn't know anyone. While I work with great people, they all seem to be older than me, married, have young children. They're just in a different place in their life, which makes it hard to make friends at work. Now that I'm out of school and in the working world, I'm finding it really hard to make friends. What should I do?
Lonely in Toronto
Step 1: rent I Love You, Man. It's about exactly what you're going through: making friends when you're beyond school age. So start there and see what lessons you can pick up.
Step 2: What do you like to do? All you mention in your email is your job. What do you do with yourself on the weekends? On weeknights? Surely you have hobbies and interests. Pursue them. Pursue them with people. Like to cook? Take a cooking class. I know it's obvious, but there it is. Learn photography or first aid or calligraphy. Join a gym. Join a church. Once you get there, take a deep breath, and . . . talk to someone. It's going to feel weird and awkward, yes, but you're going to do it anyway. You can't just sit around and hope someone takes notice of you. Of course, I was once in a recruitment meeting, and one of the girls offered that she didn't know anyone in town, and the girl next to her said, "Aw, really? I'll be your friend!" And then they left together to go be friends. True story.
So, you can hope that that unlikely occurrence will happen to you, or you can do something about it. There's really no in-between.
I moved to London, ON, to do a really specialized diploma program at Western. I wanted to make friends outside of my 7-person program (that includes me!) and my 3 roommates, so I used couchsurfing.org. Its search function allows you to find people in the area who are open to "coffee or a drink." It's not really for dating, although I suppose you *could* end up dating someone this way -- it's more for travelers who want to socialize with locals, or people like you who don't know anyone in their city. One profile I found was actually of a married couple who traveled a lot, and liked meeting people from different places even when they were at home.