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I live in a large city on the west coast of North America. There is a reputation for people here to be unfriendly. I'm trying to make new friends or even a new group of friends. The reason I am doing this is because

  1. I want to
  2. A lot of my old friends I had since high school haven't grown up or matured
  3. Two of my close friends were in a car accident which left them with permanent injuries. They are very self conscious about being in public and I'm looking for people that are into more activities (like going to the beach or on a hike).

Some people see it as impolite or unacceptable to go to an event where you don't already know most people there. One time I was living with roommates and the people in the basement invited us to a barbecue in the back yard. I told my roommate I had steak in the fridge and he said "oh, that would be better if you already have a reason instead of just showing up to hangout with them".

I know this is an open ended question but is there anything that should be kept in mind when hanging out with people where you only know one or none of them? Is there any way to communicate I'm just interested in meeting new people without coming across as needy or lonely?

I recently made friends with one person and asked what he was up to. He invited me to a bar with 5 other of his friends, none of which I knew. It was nice but I kind of felt like I was intruding as everyone else already knew each other. Perhaps when meeting new people it's best if there's an activity that's not just sitting and drinking?

In response to comments, I'm not looking for specific instructions on how to meet people or how to "forge a friendship". I'm more looking for a response to give in a situation when I'm new to a group and someone asks "if you don't know anyone why are you here?" when the actual reason is I'm trying to meet new people.

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    This is too broad. There are so many different types of friends, friendships and ways of obtaining them that we can't know where you are coming from and what you mean/want by a friendship. Also, are you asking about how to meet new people? How to act after you meet people? How to act after meeting particular people to accomplish particular goals? If you want us to try and answer in relation to one of the examples you gave you need to give more details and outline your goals. I am voting to close, but that said... meetup.com – Jesse Jul 23 '18 at 23:46
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    Tell us what kind of people you do want to meet, probably no one here would have suggested to make friends at a bar. Like the beach, sign up for beach volleyball (etc.). Like hiking, sign up to pickup litter in the parks, count bug traps, relocate salmon, etc. I've been to events numbering over 100K people and knew noone, next year when I went I knew over 50 people. Narrow your question and specify your desired results a lot more narrow, you have 3 VTC's (none mine) so you'll need an edit to make friends here. – Rob Jul 24 '18 at 1:00
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    @Jesse what do you mean by "what kind of friends" am I looking to make? I believe there is only one type of friend and the rest are missuses of the word. For example, just because you have a conversation with the same person who serves you coffee each morning doesn't necessarily mean you're friends. I'm guessing your not asking for some long drawn out precise definition of how I would define friends? I think most people have an intuitive understanding of the true meaning of the word. – pullover123 Jul 24 '18 at 2:25
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    @Rob I don't define friends as just knowing someone. Out of those 50 people you met I'm assuming those are more businesses connections you exchanged cards with. I'm looking for something more personal :-) – pullover123 Jul 24 '18 at 2:30
  • I guess I meant what kinds of people you want to make friends with and what kinds of things you hope to do with these friends. Answers would vary a lot if you wanted outgoing people who share similar interests to you so you can explore the city together vs if you wanted emotionally intelligent friends with the hopes of having deep personal conversations. Age, job, personality, interests and everyones unique personal situations all play a huge role in the type of friendships you have. Which in turn impacts how you would go about making said friendships. – Jesse Jul 24 '18 at 2:39
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Perhaps when meeting new people it's best if there's an activity that's not just sitting and drinking?

This.

Go find a new hobby that involves being around other people. That way, it's not weird that you're there: everyone there is accomplishing the same thing. If you like the activity but don't like the group, find a new place to do that thing.

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    This is a really good idea. I find a lot of my hobbies are very individual though. I'm into swimming and have been going to the same pool for a few years but haven't really met anyone there. Also I joined a jogging club but found that most people joined with their friends and stuck to them and quit after they completed a specific race they were training for. Any other advice? – pullover123 Jul 24 '18 at 2:28
  • @pullover123 do you play an instrument, or a particular game ? Chess, bridge, checkers? – bigbadmouse Jul 24 '18 at 7:58
  • Or perhaps embrace the nerdy side: find a local gaming store, see what events they have (which are often geared towards newbies), and see what strikes your fancy. – John Doe Jul 24 '18 at 15:18
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I'm pretty sure I live in the same area, I feel your pain.

Check out Meetup.com, it's a great low commitment route to finding at least some other people with common interests.

I like going to Meetups because the events are usually low stress, low commitment, low cost. Then if there's anyone I hit it off with, we just plan to have a beer/coffee at some future time.

Meetups in my experience will usually have kind of a core group who show up frequently and a good chunk of first timers, stragglers, people just there to hang out and listen, whatever. Then others who only come occasionally but are still active in the group.

The definite key is not targeting people, but activities. Then, you will meet people who have pre-selected themselves for having a common interest with you and also wanting to go out and meet new people. Bam, that's like half the battle won right there.

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