Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 130: Making Friends in a New City.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: The Baby Sherpa Fleece.

I really wanted to buy micro this fleece for fall, but I had a really hard time justifying the price tag given how quickly he is growing. He is SO tall — he is currently wearing size 6 months for length and even some of his 3-6 month tops look snug and small! — and I worried I’d invest in the damn thing and he’d outgrow it in a matter of weeks. Then I found this! PERFECT.

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Perfect Fall Heel.

The most popular items on the blog this week:

+The most perfect fall heel I’ve ever seen. (J. Crew’s Elsie pump is up there, though. I own it in four colors and I think it’s pretty darn perfect. Perfect height, timeless profile.)

+This mockneck blouse!

+This ultra-chic croc bag — at the top of my fall wishlist.

+Super fun statement mules on CRAZY sale.

+On-trend dream sweater for this season.

+A really good price on a super chic pair of joggers.

+In love with this raincoat.

#Turbothot: Making Adult Friends.

I’ve had a few Magpie readers write to tell me that they’ve recently moved cities and are struggling to make friends as an adult.

I hear ya.

After college, it became far more difficult for me to make new friends. I became set in my own routines and niches owing to my career and my marriage. A lot of the avenues for friend discovery petered out on their own after college anyhow — you’ve got to be a lot more proactive and outgoing to find new ones.

After moving to Chicago, I remember feeling very isolated, especially since I was still commuting to D.C. every other week for work. I recall thinking that joining a gym might be a good place to meet like-minded women, but the mechanics proved awkward: what, do I stop someone while she towels off from the shower in the locker room and strike up conversation? Smile creepily at someone on a treadmill? People tend to be in the zone at the gym; it’s not exactly a spot where you sit around waiting for conversation. Even when I attended barre and yoga classes, where there’s a bit more time before or after class to exchange pleasantries with neighbors, it felt uncomfortable, as everyone in the room was listening in. I considered joining a meet-up but chickened out at the last minute. I even scoured LinkedIn, filtering for just connections in Chicago, and set myself up on weird friend dates with acquaintances from past schools–none of which went well. It’s not that they went badly, exactly, but it always felt as though the gals were “doing me a solid” by showing up to meet my friendless self, though they clearly intended to return to their own well-established routines with their own well-established friendships afterward.

The best way I made friends in Chicago? Starting a book club. It started as myself, my sister, and three other ladies who had attended college with another sister of mine. Over time, the club grew as members would bring friends, who would bring friends of friends. And as I established myself in the city and made friends through other avenues (one of them being the wife of a work colleague, for example), I would invite them to join, too. The formula is foolproof because everyone is instantly connected by a shared interest (books!) and experience (reading the same book at the same time!), and who doesn’t like wine and snacks? At the same time, some of the gals and I hit it off particularly well and I’d ask them out to lunch or for drinks in the weeks intervening. We became a happy little posse and support system for one another: I remember people swapping parenting tips, exchanging clothes, offering to pet-sit for one another. It was how I found my first nanny, how I divested a ton of accessories and skincare products when I was leaving the city so that I wouldn’t have to throw it away, how I could rest easy that my dog would be cared for if I were to go into labor early with mini.

It can start simply enough: just find two friends or acquaintances (this can start at work, too, if your only resource is your network of colleagues!) and ask them each to invite a friend or two interested in reading. (If you need a suggestion for your first convening, take a look through my past book club picks, as I include discussion questions for many of the books, and they can be great guideposts for conversation. If you go with your own pick, a foolproof way to kick off the convo: have everyone rate the book 1-5 and explain why they’ve scored the book as such. It almost always gives way to an easy and stirring conversation.) Then grab a couple of bottles of wine and put together a cheese board or a couple of appetizers (my spiced shrimp recipe is always a hit). Voila.

Another reason why I love reading.

And if books aren’t your jam (I highly doubt this if you are a seasoned Magpie reader!), you could do an article club (sign up for my friend Hitha’s 5 Smart Reads — she chooses five interesting, topical articles every day and almost any of these would be ideal for an “article club”), a cooking club, a baking club. Anything that gives women a reason to gather in an apartment for an evening of conversation and shared experience.

Any other tips for making new friends as an adult? Please share!

P.S. Female friendships and the things that matter.

P.P.S. Gifts for girlfriends.

Post-Scripts: The It Bag.

+If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’ve been positively drooling over this “It” bag of the season by Bottega Veneta. SWOON. Look for less with this.

+Naomi had a great roundup of wonderful children’s books that is a solid complement to this post of mine on the same subject — though she includes recs for even older children! I’m picking up this and this for my New York babies!

+This pearl headband is MAJOR. I am so loving all of the pearl accessories out this season (just like the last). Two other really great (more affordable) pearl accessory finds: this and this.

+Love me a good waffle tee.

+Love this dark floral dress for a little gal.

+Into this simple and endlessly versatile black turtleneck dress. Dress up with heels and major earrings or down with pointed-toe flats.

+OMG THESE BOOTS. (Into python this fall.)

+Loving this Petite Plume print for mini’s Christmas jammies (this for micro).

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9 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 130: Making Friends in a New City.

  1. Iโ€™ll be the devil on your shoulder! You need to get Micro that Patagonia. Itโ€™s just too perfect to resist. Consign it after to recoup, but donโ€™t let that one slip by.

  2. Love this post as well! I find this post to be relevant even though I’ve been in NYC for 2 years now, since several of my friends have moved out of the city at this point and I feel like I have to somewhat start all over! I’m in a book club that meets every other month but would love to join another one — is there a way to join your NYC book club to discuss your monthly picks?

    1. Hi Grace — Yes! The book club is currently on hiatus given the recent birth of my son and overall craziness of life right now BUT let me know if you want me to add you to the email list and you’ll be the first to know when we reconvene.


  3. Love this topic! It’s something I’ve struggled with a bit since moving to Boston 5 years ago … I’ve found it much tougher to make friends, partially owing to the fact that I’ve spent the past nearly 4 years working from home. It can be isolating, and (though I realize I’m making a generalization) Bostonians are fairly parochial, in my experience, sticking to the friend groups they’ve had for years. It also doesn’t help that the city is so transient, turning over its academic population with great frequency.

    That said, one way in which I’ve met new people & made friends is through a cookbook club โ€” similar to a book club, really, but for cookbooks! It’s been so much fun to discover new recipes & techniques while having time to chat with like-minded people & make connections in a new place.

    Those Paris Texas boots … LOVE! I saw that Everlane just released their Boss Boot in a black & white snake print … might need to snag ’em! xx

    1. We typically pick a cookbook together based off everyone’s curiosities/interests & then each pick a recipe to make, entering everything on a Google doc to ensure we have a good range of dishes, from appetizers to mains, to sides, and even dessert & drink options. Then each person brings their dish to the host’s house (we rotate the host) and we all enjoy them together, and discuss options for future cookbooks to use. It’s been so much fun! xx

    2. Oh & in the past we’ve typically picked cookbooks with authors who have a decent number of recipes published online (through the NYT or blogs, or whatever) โ€” in case people don’t want to spend the $$ on the cookbook itself. ๐Ÿ™‚

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