You’re all pretty freaking smart from what I can tell, so what I’m about to say may be plain as day to you. Sometimes, however, it helps to hear again that which you already know — especially when you’re sad, and disoriented about what’s true.
I moved here in winter. Admittedly, winter months in NYC feel lonelier. Clearly, even a big town like New York can feel lonely. Maybe lonelier than the small ones. So much water, not a drop to drink.
The psychological effects of loneliness are many. What happens is, you not only don’t have friends, but you also start to think you might just be too unremarkable to regain them. You’re feeling like you’ve somehow failed at your new challenge. Already.
I wish someone had told me this in the summer of 2004, when I graduated college, moved to an isolated town and started a new job — working nights, no less. My only friend was VH1’s I Love The Nineties. Seriously. For like a year. The only outgoing or incoming calls were from my parents. I cried a lot — and oh yeah, I was poor as a mouse.
So what do I wish I’d done then that I did when I moved to New York?
• I stuck my neck out. Talked more. Was chattier. Risked saying something inane for saying something at all.
• Asked a TON of questions of the people I met and their own new-to-New-York stories. They all had ‘em — plus, everyone’s favorite conversation is themselves. (This is pretty much the only thing you need to remember, ever.)
• Stopped relying on work to meet people. Joined clubs, volunteered, just left the house for the hell of it every once in a while. In NYC, the meetup groups, speed dating events and opportunities to get involved are endless.
• Read the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. No joke — it’s very, very good.
• Expected to make new friends everywhere. I met one of my closest friends in line for a concert, and I met the first guy I dated at an apartment showing. On occasion, I asked a girl for her phone number. Seriously. But not like that. Just a, “You seem really cool. Could we get a coffee sometime?” It works if you’re not weird.
Anyone else have some proactive, loneliness-curing tips?