Why Making Friends In A New City Is Like Internet Dating

Who are we kidding? I’ve never tried Internet dating. I started dating Chicken Face in college and the closest thing that people of my age were doing at that time was creeping photos of guys via MySpace or perusing the collection of questionable characters on HotorNot.com.

But, BUT, if I can leverage all of the gut-wrenching/awe-inducing stories I’ve heard from the Internet dating archives, I’m pretty sure I can make an adequate assumption (but then again, we all know what that does). Truth be told, making friends in new cities can be a seemingly daunting task.

So let’s review this Internet friend dating best-case scenario, shall we?

Step 1: Real-life friend in home state introduces you to potential new friend in new state, online. After the first introduction, the conversation either stops dead in its tracks or the lurking continues. You creep, they wink (or whatever other functionality your site may have), you both message each other enough times until you realize that they have a fully functioning brain and/or you won’t get murdered. Check.

Step 2: Exchange phone numbers. You still haven’t actually spoken in person, but default to text messaging. If they hear you talk, they might notice how completely awkward this is in your voice. Stick with text…one step at a time.

Step 3: To emoticon or not to emoticon? This is a big determining factor: are they an emoticon abuser too? If so, let the emoticons rain down in all of their emoji glory! If not, put on your big kid pants and pretend like you are a mature adult who scoffs at such child-like behavior. I’m a professional, dammit!

Step 4: Agree to meet. Ok, we’ve moved to the big leagues now, folks. What are you going to do? What are you going to wear? What if you have nothing to talk about? What if you stumble your own words and seem incapable of any form of intelligent conversation? Then you remember, “F it. This is who I am. Stupid jokes, awkward sentence structure and all.” Then let them plan what to do.

Step 5: Meet. If you’re a hugger, just go in for the hug. But after that…just try and be you. Your gut will tell you what to do.

Step 6: Evaluate. If you didn’t get the “oh we could be friends” vibe, well then this blog post is dead right here. If you did, your evaluation and over-analyzation will likely commence here. Questions will range from personality compatibility to ease of conversation. If all things are positive, you’ll get home and wonder if there will be hangout number two. Don’t laugh…remember…you know NO ONE here and could really use a gal pal.

Step 7: Confirmation. You either text immediately or await a confirmation text. BING! It’s in and you share abbreviated English and poor grammar texts about politics and religion…oh wait, no, it’s just more emoticons. You like it already. Then you plan hang out number two. Then three. Then four. Now five.

Step 8: Hope. Hope that your new friend doesn’t think you’re completely psycho for writing this blog post. See you at yoga in an hour, friend!


Thank you to everyone for being so extremely nice and welcoming as I made the move to Portland. Honestly, what would we do without Internet –> IRL friends?

Anyone else have great Internet BFF or moving to a new city stories?

Happy Running!

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45 Responses to Why Making Friends In A New City Is Like Internet Dating

  1. alyssa says:

    That’s exactly how I felt when I moved out here & it’s worked out well for me… I know it will for you, too. You are the coolest!

  2. Jessica says:

    I chatted to an internet friend who lived in a different state (I’m from Australia, that means like an 8 hour drive away) and we had been texting, facebooking and weirdly stalking each other for almost four years. Then one day I randomly decided I would drive over there and do a triathlon, so she booked a house, we paid for it and had an effing awesome weekend.
    First and only time we’ve seen each other in real life for like 5 years. But she’s one of the most logic friends I have! My OH doesn’t get it.
    He was worried she was going to turn into an axe murderer or something (he’s a cop).

  3. Hilarious post! I moved in the ninth grade and although it was before the days of Facebook and blogs, I definitely remember the awkward conversations and over analyzing everything. I moved again at 22 and yep, same experiences! I’m sure you will make friends in no time and anyone who has heard if your blog know that no only can you form a sentence but are a hilarious writer.


    Okay, I got that out. Be happy you never tried it! ha. Anyway, I moved to NYC not knowing anyone but met up with lots of blogger/twitter people when I got here. Making friends in a new place is much like online dating, but much easier. And if you find people who love running, the rest seems to fall into place.

    Tell Jen I’ve been waiting to meet her for five years now!! haha.

  5. Jenn says:

    Meeting new people is SO hard. good for you for reaching out and cheers to making new friends that arent serial killers!

  6. I definitely Lol’d. I love the do you emoticon or not?! It is crazy that it comes to mind, but it makes sense in a crazy way! How to you like Portland? I am in the suburbs of Seattle. I have always wanted to visit Portland!

  7. Holly says:

    Thanks for posting this! I am so about to have to use it… =)

  8. Kelly says:

    Oh, hotornot…

    It’s awkward in general making friends at nearly any time after college, because there’s not immediate people there, trapped, and ready to make friends too.

  9. Jessi says:

    Hi – I’m going to take internet dating one step further (but it’s blogging, so we’re cool right) and admit that I saw you today in SE Portland walking out of the yoga studio about 20 minutes after I originally read this! I texted another fellow portland blogger and she said it was ‘normal’ to tell you this, and also that I work at Nike as well. Happy you’re finding your way in the city!

  10. Ha! As someone who recently moved overseas, I hear ya!

    It’s slightly-extra-awkward when the introduction isn’t through a friend, but rather someone who has recently started reading/commenting on your blog…and you start thinking about meeting this person, in person. I’ve had this go spectacularly poorly, and spectacularly well (thankfully, it went well the first time, leaving me optimistic about trying again!).

    And then there are the introductions-by-a-friend that start….then fizzle, when both parties (but not the friend who introduced you) realize, electronically, that they probably won’t ever really be friends. This is fine, until you try to explain to the introducer (who thought he/she was doing you a big favor) why you never actually meet their cousin/friend’s sister/ex-boyfriend’s pet turtle in real life.

    Live is crazy.

  11. JenJ says:

    Brilliant post! I moved to Brighton (UK) about seven months ago and know exactly how you feel. The first few months were taken up with freelance work and getting used to my surrounding and it’s only been over the last three or so that I”ve started making good friends. Thank goodness for exercise, right? Makes breaking the ice that much easier (unless, like me, you decide to go for a Bikram yoga class and end up having to take communal showers together with new friend afterwards. Not awkward at all!!!). Happy to hear you’re getting settled.

  12. Meredith says:

    My husband and I were planning on moving cross country last year (didn’t happen after we found out we were pregnant). I think I would have had troubles meeting friends as I’m not sure I have the balls to leap from internet to real life.

  13. hahahhaaaa entirely totally true. Personally this time I around i just stalked the track near our house and started conversations with those I deemed to look normal until one day I got lucky and found people who genuinely wanted another run buddy

  14. fiona says:

    Been there, done that! I moved to NYC about four years ago knowing no-one. It turned out that it is (a) super friendly, (b) running and working out is a great way to meet people, especially if they are (c) the types who believe in beer after running. I found twitter stalking was particularly helpful for meeting people. It is totally like dating (in fact, my best friend and I still refer to our “first dates”), but you know, like dating, you’ll get a ton of good stories and hopefully a couple of keepers in there 😉

  15. This is so true! We moved across the country 2 years ago, and I’m still looking for friends who have the same hobbies (read:running) that I do. Sure, we’ve met friends through work and stuff, but they all think my hobby is nuts…and since it’s rather time consuming, then I don’t see people too often. I actually just joined a running club to hopefully meet people.

    Glad your move is going well!

  16. Haha this is great, I still have no idea how to make new friends in new places. I moved to LA a year ago and most of my friends are my college friends but sometimes they bring in new friends and they become my one new friend.

  17. Jeanette says:


      • Alvin says:

        A psychiatrist is a phsiycian who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. I have a bachelor’s degree in the social services field. For several years, I have worked with children who have been diagnosed with mental disorders. It is upsetting to see children victimize at an early age and even more disturbing to see them as predators as early as 5 years of age, however knowing that I am doing my part to assist them in becoming functioning youths and adults is rewarding. The empathy, confidentiality and maturity of a medical assistant are definitely needed in this area. I enjoy establishing a rapport with these clients and helping them to find adequate coping skills to deal with their disorders, therefore I would like to work for a psychiatrist.I would not like to work for an emergency phsiycian for several reasons. I will explain a few. Patients who come to the emergency center typically have serious injuries or trauma. I would not like to have my mind constantly focused on who is coming thru the door and how sever the prognosis is. Knowing myself, I know that would be my focus and I would not be very productive. Also, in the emergency room the staff has to be prepared for anything, I would prefer an area that focuses on a particular specialty. Most importantly, I do not wish to see excessive amounts of blood loss on a regular basis. Actually, not even a minimal amount of blood loss on a regular basis. Giving my opinion and thoughts about this specialty, I would not be an effective employee.

  18. Nicole says:

    This is hilarious and pretty much sums up our virtual relationship except for the fact that we don’t even live in the same city and decided to fly to a city we’ve never been to together and do a race… :) BEST DECISION EVER! PS can i still be your virtual long distance BFF?


  19. Kristen L says:

    Soo funny and so true! Moving can be seriously hard especially leaving friends and family behind. Making new friends can also be hard, but I’m glad that so far things are going well for you! I expect I will be going through this same thing in the next year. :)

  20. Alisa says:

    LOL! Well…that’s how all of us met back in the day…the scary internet. We were all new to portland and blog lurking and now look at us. Welcome to the family of friends Page!

  21. Amanda says:

    Hi Page – I just found your blog last week and have loved reading it. It’s a special treat because I can go back and read all your older posts that are new to me! Good luck in Portland. I know you’ll do great and people will welcome you. I’m also excited to follow your races for the upcoming season. You are faster than I am but I have similar distance goals and you provide the motivation. Thanks, Page! Keep writing – us like-minded followers are grateful for the blog and camaraderie.

  22. Stephanie says:

    I’m in a somewhat similar situation where all my friends have left the town we all lived and now I’m struggling to meet new people in my own town! I feel it is especially hard because I already have routines and don’t come across many opportunities to see different folks. Best of luck, I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding a new crowd.

    On a different note, where did you get your warrior bracelet?

  23. oh my god, I love this post. I just moved to Denver and am anxious but so nervous about making new friends! Glad you’re settling into your new home and making friends!

    And if anyone lives in Denver and wants a new friend ;)…..

  24. Becca says:

    When I first moved abroad, people kept introducing me to “fellow Americans” until I figured out that, more often than not, just sharing the same nationality did not mean we had anything else in common. On the other hand, last year I went on a girls-only trip and met two out of the three people only via our planning emails, without actually knowing them. And the trip was a blast! I’m glad you’ve had some successes, too. :)

  25. Jen says:

    I’m happy to say that friends I’ve met through the internet have all turned out a million zillion times better than any of my online dates! Like others have mentioned, it definitely helps to have *something* in common – whether it’s a mutual acquaintance or similar interests or hobbies. But the tricky part is going from acquaintance to actual friendship… and as I’ve gotten into my mid-late 30’s, this has gotten trickier, with people not having a lot of time for making new friends due to family and job obligations. Anyway – I’ve been on the other side of this too, trying to match friends up with each other. It’s worked sometimes and it’s flopped too, but I think it’s usually worth the effort. Good luck making friends – just keep getting out there and I’m sure things will fall into place before you know it!

  26. The Blonde says:

    It’s totally hard moving to a new city and ensuring friendships! When I moved to Bellingham, WA (briefly), I made sure to connect with a running group right away. I was already contacting them before I even moved! Psycho… In the end, I made some of the greatest friends. When I moved back to Colorado, I stayed in touch with SO many of them and even get together with them today. It was out of my comfort zone to be so forward with getting connected in a new community, but it was worth it!

    Hope you are liking your new city and that CF can join you soon! I’ll be in Ben d in December! I know it’s not necessarily “near” you, but if you feel so inclined to spectate the XC National Club Champs, come see the Oiselle girls! :)

  27. Michaela says:

    I am going through the same thing here in Seattle! So far, I have two official new friends — one I met through mutual friends and the other I met through work/mutual love of open water swimming. But it’s slow going! And I can totally relate to the awkward should-I-ask-you-to-hang-out-or-will-I-look-lonely feeling! I’m hoping it will get better with time.

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