May 12, 2024 - News

Friend-ly advice

Illustration of two garden gnomes toasting each other.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

We asked Slock, Lewis and Axios readers for their best advice for Twin Cities newcomers looking to make new friends.

Here are their tips β€” along with a few of our own:

🧭 Seek out another newcomer's guidance, Lewis said β€” preferably "somebody who went though the experience you're going through within the last few years." Their advice is more likely to be relevant to you.

  • Even better, find someone similar to you. Newcomers' experiences tend to vary by age, marital status and identity.

🏘 Find a newcomer-rich area. If you can't live there, become a regular in the neighborhoods that serve as the Twin Cities' melting pots.

  • You're more likely to run into others looking for new social connections.
A bar chart visualizes U.S. Census estimates from 2018-2022, showing the share of newcomer residents in various neighborhoods in various Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods. The highest percentage is in neighborhoods near the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis at 46.87%, followed by Downtown St. Paul at 33.29%.
Data: MN Compass analysis; Note: Chart only includes Minneapolis and St. Paul, not metro suburbs; Chart: Axios Visuals

πŸ“² Social networking platforms like Meetup β€” where Break the Bubble lists events β€” are good places to peruse.

  • Axios reader JoAnn H. also recommends joining Facebook groups to "meet like-minded folks."

⛹️ Join a rec sports league. Reader Robert F. picked kickball: "Lots of sitting-around time and then mandatory bar trips afterwards. All abilities were welcome (and we were all terrible)."

πŸ’ͺ Get active. If sports aren't your thing, reader Madelyn S. recommends City Girls Who Walk. There are also running groups and bicycle clubs all over the metro.

  • The Tapestry Folk Dance Center offers "a welcoming community" and "an organic place for all people to meet and develop friendships," says reader Rebecca H.
  • Going curling can burnish your Minnesotan credentials. It's actually good curling etiquette to socialize after the game.

πŸ‘· Volunteer! Slock has met "tons of friends" while donating his time to Habitat for Humanity.

  • Reader Nick H. recommends the Jaycees.

πŸ’­ Kyle's thought bubble: Set your long-term plan aside. At 27, I moved to (yet another) new city. For one year after my arrival, I made a policy to say "yes" to as many new experiences as I could.

  • For 365 whole days, I forbade myself from pondering whether I was living in the right city. Instead, I lived in the moment. I put myself out there. I embraced awkward situations.
  • After those 365 days is when you can decide whether the place is right for you.

The bottom line: You've got this.

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