How to Make New Friends in DC

Hey, we get it. Moving to a new city can be hard at first. You probably pictured yourself living your best life on a rooftop somewhere, overlooking the capital building and reveling in your fascinating new friendships…but now that you’re here you find yourself instead staring at your Netflix account and feeling guilty for not “putting yourself out there” enough.

OR maybe you’ve been here for a long time, you’ve gone to all the right places, but you haven’t found your people yet. You know what I’m talking about. Those friends that you feel comfortable with and willing to make memories with, people who are weird in the way you are weird (or are at least compatible with it!).

You’re ready to connect with people who aren’t you coworkers; you want to exchange Instagram handles instead of LinkedIn accounts! You want to go to have a social life that isn’t just a bunch of networking events!

Let’s make it happen.

Spring time in washington, dc

Mindset

Before we go into it, let’s address the most important part of this: your mindset. If you haven’t made friends in the city because everyone you meet seems “lame” to you, it miiiiight be you who is, in fact, lame.

If you are going to make friends it really helps to assume there are people around you who are really cool people and you need to see it as your job to find them.

Remember that being able to appreciate others and bring out the best in them is what will slowly build you a real community and long-lasting friendships. Be open to seeing what’s cool in people and they will be open to seeing what is cool in you.

There are a lot of different social “hubs” in DC. Communities that are centered around a central activity, interest, lifestyle, outlook. Consider dipping your toes into any of them that interest you.

Remember those scenes in school that you were intrigued by but maybe felt a little too intimidated to explore? You’re a grown up now! Time to jump in!

Positive mindset

Let’s Get Started

Now we are going to show you how to utilize social media so artfully that you’ll be running this town in no time! Time to take over the Washington DC area like a boss!

Check out some links that can connect you with the music, arts, and active/sports scenes around town:

Drumset in washington, dc

Music

Sure, you can go to the 9:30 Club or the Black Cat and see what there is to see, post up at the bar, check out some music. That’s always fun, and we definitely recommend it.

But you could also check out your local DIY music scene and start to find more niche sounds in your own neighborhood and meet people who are interested in jamming, who teach lessons, etc.

Pro Tip: if you just want that real music, the good stuff, that live magic, check out the weekly drum circle on Meridian Street every Sunday afternoon. It’s been going on for 40 years and anyone is welcome 😉

Arts:

There are honestly so many arts-centered events happening in DC that it might be difficult to find time to hit them all. For now, check out this visual-arts centered facebook group to get community updates, and CultureCapital is pretty good about staying up to date too.

The arts
painting a rabbit

Art Collectives

When art enthusiasts band together to facilitate art and art events you have yourself an arts collective. While there are MANY more to check out, these should be a good start: Dupont Underground, the Blind Whino, and the Fridge DC.

First Friday Dupont

The First Friday of the month there is always a big open gallery night where you can get into local art galleries for free in Dupont Circle. Don’t miss this!

Sports:

Sports in Washington, DC
Sports bar in Washington, DC

Sports Bars

Dirty Water Sports Bar is where you’ll find a scene that gets pretty psyched Boston, Nellies is a gay sports bar (but don’t worry, you don’t have to be gay to go), Church Hall is an underground Georgetown joint, and Philly fans can head over towards the two-story Ventnor Sports Cafe in Adams Morgan.

Sports Meet Ups

There are different ways to use MeetUp  to find groups for sports and fitness in the area, and there is even a group for just women!

Other Possibilities

This list is just the start! There are so many more options. Try a cooking class or a photography class at the Smithsonian. Social events are happening all the time. See if your neighborhood has a newsletter, see if your apartment complex hosts social activities, see if your human resources department is trying to connect you with interesting social networks.

There is so much out there for you!

Don’t Forget the Old Classics!

Don’t forget the good ‘ol standbys when it comes to meeting people: go to the gym, go to church/temple/synagogue/mosque, take your dog to the cool dog parks, take a class in something that interests you, and be OPEN to who comes across your path. What do you have to lose? There isn’t one perfect type of networking, there is just your type of networking.

Dig Into What You Already Have

Though you might not have connected with your coworkers that much yet…you should think of them as a possible treasure trove. You’ve got to start somewhere, and any coworkers that are willing to hang with you could eventually connect you with more people that you really really jive with.

Find an event that you want to go to anyways, such as cool festival, and let your coworkers know you need someone to go with (maybe go ahead and buy an extra ticket so that it’s free for them).

Get out there

The reason to be around different types of people is that you get to meet a different side of yourself. If your group of friends back home used to sit around and discuss films and art all day then now is a chance to discover what comes out of you when you play racquetball and push yourself around motivated jock-types.

Get out there. Make stuff happen! It’s your turn to shine.

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