Single in the City is a reoccurring column on Philly Happening that will appear on Wednesdays. It chronicles a single thirty-something, new to the Philadelphia, searching for friendship, love, and her place in this vibrant city.
Cultivating Friend Networks in your 30s
Making friends in your 30s is a lot like dating. It takes effort, patience, time and emotional investments. However, making friends is also just like dating in that all those investments can pay tremendous dividends. Never underestimate the power of a strong network of friends.
The question is, how to cultivate these friend networks?
It is worth noting that it is not an easy business to meet new friends in your 30s. The social landscape is vastly different than it was in your 20s. With the addition of marriage, kids, houses, and career advancement, there isn’t as much time left for socialization. But it can be done, and the key is to leverage your interests, leverage your contacts, and enjoy the process, even if the result is uncertain.
One way to meet new friends is to follow your hobbies and join a group, club, or class. One excellent free fitness meet-up in Philadelphia that helped me meet some terrific people is November Project PHL: http://november-project.com/philadelphia-pa/.
The Philly branch of this free nation-wide fitness initiative meets at 6:25 a.m. every Wednesday at the Art Museum Steps and on Fridays at 6:25 a.m. at Lemon Hill. Occasionally there are night runs that end at a bar, and other volunteer activities, such as cheering as a group at the Philly Marathon. There’s something about running the Rocky steps together in the elements and having these fun shared experiences that really brings people together.
Joining or starting a book club is another good way to expand your network and have a regularly structured gathering. Any situation that involves literature, friends, and wine, is a good situation, in my book.
I started a book club with an acquaintance with the premise that we would each invite three people, and the people we invited each had to invite someone. What developed was a monthly-gathering of funny, intelligent women. Our meetings are not only a chance to talk books, but to talk life and form stronger connections with each other. The following bars and restaurants have been perfect venues for conversation over cocktails and wine:
- The Loews Hotel Lobby Lounge, 1200 Market Street, https://www.loewshotels.com/philadelphia-hotel
- The Library Bar, inside The Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 W. Rittenhouse Sq.: http://www.rittenhousehotel.com/dining/librarybar
- Hickory Lane American Bistro, 2025 Fairmount Avenue: http://hickorylanebistro.com/
And lastly, a friend-meeting tactic that has worked wonders for me is the concept of friend introductions, or “friend blind dates,” if you will. What better way to meet friends than through other trusted friends?
When moving to the city, I networked with any of my outside connections, who had friends in Philadelphia, and asked to be “set up” with their friends.
An introductory e-mail sent by the mutual friend connecting the two of us has led to my meeting some amazing women who have enriched my life. These introductions have led to my learning how to row on the Schuylkill River last summer, meeting a potential roommate, a foray into the world of nannying, and an exciting business opportunity and business partner that has made my writing this column a reality.
These fateful friend-dates have taken place at a variety of quaint and colorful venues:
- Animo, 1701 Arch, http://www.animojuice.com/
- Elixer, 207 S. Syndenham St., http://www.elixrcoffee.com/
- Varga Bar, 941 Spruce Street, http://vargabar.com/
- Jamonera, 105 S. 13th, http://www.jamonerarestaurant.com/
In the last year, forging new relationships hasn’t always been easy, but it has been fun. All the work to create connections has brought me to some of the greatest people who make me happy to call Philadelphia home.