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Making New Friends in Florence

Yesterday afternoon I rushed into my friend Anna's office and proclaimed, "I have made a new friend!" I was positively giddy. I felt like a kid and I probably sounded like one. Maybe it's just me, but I have found that as I get older making new friends is really difficult, especially when you are in a new city.

I met Anna three years ago when we started working together with students in Florence. Thus, through working together, our friendship developed naturally. But what if you move to a new city and decide (or need) to make new friends, what then? Are you the creepy girl alone at restaurants and bars? And when I do find someone I would like to befriend, I always fell like I am coming on too strong. I swear, it's worse than dating!

The key to making new friends when you are older is putting yourself out there. This, of course, is not always easy. Most people who have met me would label me an extrovert -- I can easily talk to anyone and I have a tendency to dominate/drive conversations. But I am actually a bit introverted. When I need to be I can be friendly and chatty, but if left to my own devices I would probably stay home in my macaron pjs in my adorable little apartment.

This year, however, I have put myself out there a bit more. Both Anna and I decided we need to make more friends (we tend to work too much and only hang out with each other). We have joined a gym and yoga studio where we have made several new girl friends (the gym/work out studio is a great place to meet new people and make friends). I also met up with Jennifer (my new friend that I proclaimed above) who I first "met" on Instagram.

I think Jennifer and I were both a bit nervous about meeting in person (again this can be worse than dating lol) but based on our social media interactions Jennifer seemed really sweet and I love her style. I think we figured we had enough in common that it wouldn't be super awkward. The minute I walked into the bar, and spotted her in her amazing newspaper coat and bow sleeve dress, I knew we would get along. We sipped cappuccinos, shared our life stories, and then headed to a wonderful vintage expo for a little shopping.

Throughout the process of building this blog and engaging in social media, I have been surprised at the amazing, and very real, connections that can be made online. Of course this can't replace putting yourself out there in real life, but it certainly helps. So I guess the moral of the story is this -- yes, making friends when you are older can be difficult and awkward, but making the effort to take a class, join a gym, or meet someone who you have a lot in common with online is totally worth it!

Do you have any tips for meeting people and making new friends?

Ashley B
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  1. Its funny that you say that making new friends is like dating. In the past five years, I've decided to use that to my advantage. Moving around to various schools means making new friends every other year or so. In order to avoid the isolation of grad school, I keep an okcupid account where I am very upfront about only being there for friends. I usually try to convince interesting people to go to brunch with me and have had great results. Yes, you get messages from creepers occasionally, but the people I've met off of there have at the very least made been able to hold an interesting conversation for a day and I have made all of my closest friends out here at my newest school through the website.

    1. That is a great idea! I never thought about using dating sites for friendship. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Making new friends can be so difficult, but I find that if you are brave enough to just say hi, then you are off to a good start! I swear just saying hi and introducing myself at auditions made me several new friends!

    Prep on a Budget

  3. Try! I have been using it as a tool to get the word out about my 20s & 30s library programs, and it's been great to make connections! I've even made new friends and this is work for my job:) Message me if you want help navigating: Insta-LibrarianLIB

    1. Do you know if they have Meet up in Italy?

  4. Making friends as you get older is definitely more difficult, it's not the same as anytime before. When you're in university or college, a bunch of people who don't know anyone are thrown together, and friendships fly, in activities growing up you know you obviously have at least one interest in common, and as children on the playground you could just walk up to someone and say, "Want to be friends?" - Actually, I did this at my previous job... I worked in a very large organization and was the youngest person working there by far. There was a staff appreciation event one day and I saw a new employee, also a young female, and even though I had no idea when she had started or what department she worked in, I knew we should be friends, so, I walked up to her and, even though it was definitely worded differently, I pretty much asked her the same playground "let's be friends?" She is now one of my closest friends!

    Awesome moments like that aside, I'm a fan of exploring my interests while being open to new friendships. I find that a new class or an event is great and fun with an existing friend, but if you attend alone you're more approachable and you're also more open to seeking out another person to connect with. Just do you, and you'll encounter amazing people along the way.

    Sweet Spontaneity

    1. It is so much easier in college/school, but you're right you just got to be bold and put yourself out there!

  5. It's amazing how social media can actually lead to friendships now! I agree with you (and the other comments) that making friends as an adult is much more difficult to navigate, but it seems like you are off to a great start so far :)

    this sojourner

  6. I totally agree with the difficulty of making new friends outside of the workplace once you get older. I definitely have found that I made "friends" through blogging and when I go on my yearly vacation that my cousin organizes I always meet new lifelong friends from the trip which is always fun.

  7. I TOTALLY understand! In France, it's super hard to make friends. I have friends in other cities from past jobs or trips here, but my only French friend in my current city (I live/hang out with other English-speaking teachers...oops) is a girl I met through volunteering. But it really is nervewrecking! When she invited me over to her apartment for a drink after a meeting one night, I was so nervous ahah but we just sat on her bed and sipped amaretto and giggled about boys.

    Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest


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