Story by: Radhika aka The Snobby Foodie
Photo by: Sarah Koff aka one hell of an artist!

Moving to a new place is not easy, and it’s harder when you don’t know anyone. When I was moving from Texas to the Bay Area I had maybe one friend here.

I recall a conversation before moving:

Texas Friend: You’re moving to California?
Me: Yes.
Texas Friend: Do you have family there?
Me: No.
Texas Friend: Do you know anyone out there?
Me: Uhm. No.
Texas Friend: Won’t you miss the people in Texas?!… You’re brave.

Did she mean to say brave… or naïve?

I moved to California for a job. I was nervous, but mostly excited. I figured… I was a fairly normal person with a few awkward tendencies and a sense of humor. Things would work out, right? I’d make friends easy… right?

These are the 5 Stages of what it’s like to find your tribe of friends in the Bay Area.

According to my experience. 😉 I hope this helps my girls that are new to the area!

Stage 1: Netflix & Chill (literally, and by yourself.)
For the first month I moved to the Bay Area, I wasn’t really bothered by being alone. My time was taken up with unpacking and binge watching Netflix shows. At times I would feel kind of lonely, but I had a lot going on so it wasn’t a big deal.

Eventually, I made, like one or two friends that I would hang out with regularly. It was fun, but how many times are you going to get Chipotle with the same people in one week? Can you say desperate? And also- are these people going to be my people? I still needed to branch out!

Keep in mind that you’re not going to make new friends watching Netflix shows. Just sayin’…

Stage 2: Meeting a lot of strange people before finding the ones you jive with
After a few months went by, I started getting restless. Facebook showed me photos of old friends hanging out, and it made me feel a little bit lame and kind of homesick. I wanted to find my peeps! My boxes were unpacked, the Netflix shows were getting perpetually worse… it was time to be more social.

It’s important to note that most people are generally pretty solid in their already established groups, so you need to give them a reason to include you. That being said, the first people you meet are not necessarily going to be your favorite, but you live and you learn.

Example: One time I went to a Travel Lovers Meet Up. I was super excited to meet people who loved to travel. At the Meet Up, I was handed multiple business cards with people’s travel blogs / start- ups on it, and came out with no friends. With a pocket full of business cards from start-ups, I knew I had just experienced true San Francisco culture. A lot of “networking.”

So here are some tips for Stage 2:
You have to be okay with doing things on your own. If you’re looking to meet new people and you do things with people you already know… you’re less apt to talk to new people. Just how it is. The worst that’s going to happen is you’re going to twiddle your thumbs in the corner and pretend to text your homies in the Central Time Zone. True story. The key is to get involved in more social settings. For instance, if you like outdoor sports, food, or playing to your hipster side… you’re in luck, the Bay Area is great for that. I’ve met so many more people through camping and rock climbing than I have sitting at home. Who would have thought? 😛

Another word of advice, be safe when you hang out with randoms. Do your homework (stalking) and make sure they seem like safe individuals. Has to be said!

Stage 3: Doing things you don’t necessarily want to do.
A girl from the Travel Meet-Up group ended up asking me over for a potluck. I wasn’t feeling it, so I declined. She never invited me anywhere again. End of story.

On the flip side, I went camping with people I didn’t really know… and it was one of my first few times camping. On the first night, I had a minor breakdown in the safety of my tent. It went something like:

I hate camping.
Must I have to go pee in the night?
I’m so cold out here.
….And various other things.

But by the end of the weekend, I decided that I LOVE camping. Go figure.

Like in relationships, if you want to make friends, you have to do things that aren’t your fave, like watch sports (me.) Gotta take yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes. If you restrict yourself to the things only you love doing, you’ll have a hard time establishing real friendships.

The way I see it is, if you’re sitting here with 0 friends, (I’m sorry) but you can’t call the shots. I get it, who wants to go wine tasting with a rando? Or something of the like. But suck it up! Put on a good attitude and try something you normally don’t do. Maybe you’ll make a new friend! Maybe you’ll end up liking the activity. If you hate it, you don’t have to do it again, but at least you tried.

A word of advice: if you perpetually reject invitations, people stop inviting you. See travel meet up story above.

Stage 4: Meeting friends of friends.
Your new friends have decided that you aren’t a psychopath, and they’d like to include you in on other social gatherings. Don’t mess this up! Be friendly and go. Go outside of our comfort zone and talk to people you don’t know. Those people might even be in Stage 2 and looking for their tribe. The chances are, if you really like your new friends, their friends are will probably be pretty cool people as well.

And then if you think the friends of friends are cool, don’t wait for invitations, make plans!

Stage 5: Finding people that are the same type of weird.
You start meeting people that share your interests. They don’t give you crap when you take photos of flowers on hikes. (My kind of people) and they want to do involved activities like wine tasting with you. Awesome.

Don’t let the fact that you don’t know any one prevent you from moving to a different place and pursuing new opportunities. Or don’t think it’s ever impossible for you to make new friends in the first place. It’s not easy and you’ll feel homesick sometimes. Find solace in the fact that you’re growing and opening yourself up to new experiences that will enrich you. Also, no matter how socially awkward you think you are – you’re not that strange, I promise. (Because we’re all strange.) Good luck!!

About The Author

Radhika The Snobby Foodie

Senior Writer || Snob in Chief at The Snobby Foodie || ENTJ || Once went to four coffee shops in one day to find the best one...

21 Responses

  1. Avatar

    So glad I came across this article!! I knew i wasn’t the only one to pick up and move somewhere new, without knowing anyone. It hasn’t been easy making friends but I’m hopeful that I will find some.

    • Avatar
      Rad // The Snobby Foodie

      You definitely will. It just takes time & a few very awkward experiences. 🙂 Good luck!<3

  2. Avatar
    Meredith Donaldson

    Such a relatable story.

    I moved to San Francisco from Oklahoma two years ago with a boyfriend (to pursue a kickass job as well). Post-breakup I realized all our friends were actually his friends and even though I have lived in the bay for two years, I actually feel like I just moved here as I try to navigate how to meet new people.

    SF can be really discouraging sometimes when you do meet a cool tribe like you said, but (most I’ve met) are so against allowing newcomers to their group. But I am not giving up on finding friends even if I feel like a creep searching for the other weirdos that are alone at a
    bar/event/meetup like me. Won’t give up the search to the find the Christina Yang to my Meredith Grey 🙂

    • Violet Fog
      Violet Fog

      We are having a VF book club starting up in January… a reason to drink wine and meet readers and for y’all to have a chance to make friends with like minded females! Stay tuned, you should totally come Meredith!

      • Avatar

        Has there been any update on the book club? I’d love to participate!

      • Violet Fog
        Violet Fog

        March 7th at Monroe in North Beach! Casual and fun girl time! 7-9pm. We can’t wait to meet everyone! xx

    • Violet Fog
      Violet Fog

      How’s it going for you Katie?! We are starting a VF book club (aka an excuse to get the readers together to drink wine!) and it should be a fun way to meet some friends.. stay tuned!! x

  3. Avatar

    Same when I moved to the Bay! Though, I keep having so many false starts, as soon as I find a cool person or two they move away!

    • Violet Fog
      Violet Fog

      Keep on plugging away girl! You’ll find your tribe. We are starting a VF book club in January, so stayed tuned! It’ll be a fun way for VF readers to make friends with like minded females in the area. 🙂

  4. Stop Taking Every Late Reply Personal: It’s Not You… People Are Bizzayyyyyy | Violet Fog

    […] When you’ve moved to a new city and you’re finding your tribe, know this: non-comital people are rampant. You don’t want to look desperate nor is it fun feeling desperate. So like with trying new things and learning something new, I give it 3 solid attempts. After text #3, I start feeling pretty dumb and like I’m wasting my time (probably more the former lol- I’m an ENTJ… we don’t let ourselves feel SUPER lame. 😉 At least not for long! Too much of a time waster.) […]

  5. Avatar

    Oh man, I’m catching up on the VF articles right now (I have like twenty tabs open..) and this one hit home. I just moved from the bay area to AZ and besides my bf I don’t know a single person. I’ve finally sort of adjusted being here and in the market for some friends LOL. This article definitely made me feel better!

    • Avatar

      🙂 Glad you liked the piece. Yeah – it’s hard to make friends & harder for a lot of us to admit this. 😉

  6. Avatar

    I love this article! Have you tried the Hey! VINA app yet? I’ve been using it to meet all kinds of new gfs. It’s kind of like tinder, but for friends.

    • Violet Fog
      Violet Fog

      We haven’t but that sounds amazing!!! Currently putting VINA into our research list. 🙂 Thank you Sophia!

  7. Avatar

    I just moved to the Bay Area a week ago and I’m exactly in this situation. Not having a car yet makes it hard or inconvenient to move around, so I’m kind of stuck at home by my lonesome :-S


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