I'm moving to the chicago area in a few weeks. How should I go about making new friends?

As the title shows, my husband and I are moving to a town near Chicago soon. In fact we leave on the 30th. I am 21 and very new to adult life so now that I’m out of school I have no idea how to make friends.

Welcome to the boards. General Questions is for questions with factual answers. Since you are seeking advice, let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Probably the same out of school as in !
Talk to people, be friendly, don’t mention politics.

During the current times, you might have to meet people online more. Normally I’d say get involved in events and the like, but that’s not happening right now.

Yeah, my youngest is in college, and the college Freshman have had it ROUGH this year.

Once restrictions lift, get involved. A running club? A softball league? Church? Furries? Take a class. Volunteer. Be upfront “I’m new to town and trying to find some friends - would you be open to going out for coffee/ going to a movie/ playing frisbee golf.”

A lot of cities have groups dedicated to getting new people together - do an internet search. Maybe a local “every month we go for a hike” group. Maybe its an “every month we go to a different brew pub” group.

And have the people you meet introduce you to their friends. I have a acquaintance who moved here from out of the country fifteen years ago - I’ve seen her twice in the past five years. She sees one of my friends I introduced to her regularly.

Oh I hadn’t thought of that. I’m not personally to into sports but bars and clubs could work

Do you know where I should go to find online groups?

You could join the Reddit Chicago forum with 225,000 members:

Use it as an opportunity to re-invent yourself. Become the “better person” that you wish you were, not restricted by peer pressures of your toxic old acquaintances.

Check out www.meetup.com. I didn’t know how they’re dealing during COVID, but in general they help people get together for trips out to lunch, to museums, etc. I’ve only attended one or two functions, but they were very casual, very friendly.

If you’re at all religious, I’d suggest attending a few churches in your new area that are in denominations which match (or are close to) your beliefs. That said, as others have already noted, meeting new people face-to-face right now is exceptionally challenging, and most churches in this area aren’t generally doing in-person services right now, but many are doing online services.

If you’re willing to share a bit more about yourself here, it might help us give you some additional ideas.

  • The Chicago area is pretty danged big, and “a town near Chicago” isn’t very descriptive. A number of people here on this board live in the Chicago area (including myself), and if we have a better idea of where you’ll be, it may be possible to give you some more specific advice. Can you tell us the general area (western, northern, southern suburbs)?
  • You indicated that you’re not into sports, but what are your interests? Do you enjoy games? Books? Movies? Music? What do you do for fun?

If there weren’t the massive Covid problem you could set up a Chicago Dopefest for Straightdope regulars who live in the Chicago area:

Spend a little time crafting a couple of questions that reflect your interests, before you go out.

Something like, ‘Excuse me, make I ask you a question? I’ve just moved here and was wondering do the local colleges offer any courses in macrame? Are there any service clubs in the city addressing youth homelessness? Do you know?’ But obviously about your interests, whatever they may be.

Now, whenever you’re out and about, and you spy someone who piques your interest, you have a place to start. Yes, you may hit a few, ‘shrug, I dunno!’ types, but you only need to connect once to get pointed in the right direction, and quite possibly make a connection.

Good Luck!

Just an observation - what will work or not in-person will greatly depend on factors such as where you are moving to, house vs apt, interests/affiliations, job, etc.

I’m surprised that a 21-yr old would be able to find their way to the Dope, but would not be able to figure out how to find on-line groups.