Perhaps not too surprisingly, it’s not very easy making friends in Los Angeles. While the advice for many major cities would be to simply head out and get to know some people in bars along the weekends, this isn’t the case for LA residents and anyone looking to maintain their sobriety. Thankfully, you’re able to just as easily make friends in LA sober as you are while getting drunk.
LA is more than just a big city – it’s the epicenter of the entertainment world, a city where the poor and absurdly rich live within the same few square miles, and a city where every local is wary of the stranger looking to meet new people, get connections, and get ahead. Los Angeles is known for its history of struggling with fame and superficiality, and “mingling” often attracts the wrong crowd.
So how do you make new friends? Don’t hit the club – hit the other kind of club. Look for sports clubs, fitness clubs, art clubs, game clubs and other hobbyist circles. Not all of these are always ideal, and you have to feel things out – but who said making friends is easy? Figure out your main interest and pursue it endlessly. Make connections through meetups, events, and other similar get-togethers. People in Los Angeles are looking for interesting friends with more to say and something to contribute – when you discover that a lot of people play at friendship to find a way to get ahead, it can be easy to cultivate a more cynical outlook on mingling and develop the sense that most people aren’t looking for meaningful connections, but are rather searching for networking opportunities.
Here are a few reliable ways to seek out new friends in Los Angeles, while staying completely sober.
Pursue a Hobby
First and foremost, identify something you’re passionate about. If your goal is to make friends in sobriety, you have to first step back and dedicate some time to setting up a fun itinerary for you to go through week after week. Whatever your hobby might be, if you lean in and commit yourself to it, you’re bound to attract the attention of some fellow hobbyists with an interest in the same things as you.
Your hobby could be something physical like a sport, or something mental like a game or form of creativity. Put yourself out there either by joining a local sports team or checking out the local arts/games scene.
If the opportunity presents itself to make money or earn a living from your passion, don’t pass it up. Many people go their entire lives without ever having the opportunity to make a living off something they truly enjoy doing. If it’s friends you’re looking for, then the best opportunity for great conversations and new connections is by spending your time doing things you truly enjoy, and being openly enthusiastic about the opportunity to share your passions with others, whether it’s dancing or collectables.
Find Friends Online
The Internet is the ultimate mixed bag, with its fair share of great and terrible things – and while it can be faulted for productivity issues, the spread of anxiety, cyber-bullying, more fake news and half a dozen other perceived problems, it’s still the ultimate communication’s tool, and the best way to connect with people.
Not just people in the far corners of the Earth, but people right here in your own city. Countless Facebook groups, online meetups, event websites and schedules give you free and unlimited access to the inner workings of LA, letting you know exactly what’s going down where, and when, for what reason.
Whether you’re looking to mingle with a few people or just meet one or two new friends, the Internet is always a great place to start. Just be sure to stick to local avenues if you’re specifically looking for people you can make contact with. Some dating apps and websites also have options specifically for those who want to find friends rather than hookups.
Schedule a Meetup
If you can’t find what you’re looking for online, why not organize it yourself? LA is a big city with lots of representation, but if you feel there isn’t a space for your specific interest or hobby, you can create one, put it out there, and see if there are others willing to join in and meet up over a cup of coffee and some food. Through social media and specific meetup sites, it’s much simpler to set up and share groups and events.
Setting up a meetup is a little more involved, and it’s usually best to find some friends first. But it can still be a great way to get to know more people and expand your friend circle if you’re already established in LA, and just want to make some new acquaintances.
Do Some Good
A very effective way to spend your time and double up on your chances of meeting someone interesting is to volunteer. There are dozens of different ways to help out and make a difference, simply choose what matters most to you.
By coordinating with shelters, NGOs and charities through the Internet, you can find several different events to participate in and lend a helping hand in. Volunteering might just entail helping out at the local dog shelter, distributing fliers, bringing in supplies, working at a soup kitchen, spreading the word, or spending a few hours lending a hand for an array of different tasks throughout any given event. Lots of people in LA try to spend some of their free time doing things that can help the community, if that means taking care of the homeless, distributing food to the poor, and more.
Some people attend meetups, events, get-togethers, and classes specifically to meet others and make new friends. Others are there specifically to learn, help out, or have fun. In either case, it may take some time before you find a couple people to talk to. Just remember to be sociable, ask questions, introduce yourself, strike up conversations and make contact with different people throughout the whole event.
Finding friends can be hard, especially when you’re moving into a new city, or are dealing with a difficult transition in life (such as early sobriety). But new friendships and new experiences can be valuable especially for fighting back against your own vices and addiction.