If you’re moving to a new city without the instant social network of school, making friends as an adult can be really tough. It’s easy for newcomers to get jaded and declare that people in LA aren’t friendly or that LA people are cliquey and self-obsessed. There are plenty of narcissistic jerks here but no more or less than you’ll find anywhere else. Census data shows that 216,018 people moved to Los Angeles in the last 5 years, so odds are good that you can find someone sympathetic to your plight.
A Word of Warning: Be Cautious about Craigslist
Please don’t scroll through Craigslist’s Strictly Platonic section and think this is a survey sample of friendship in LA. There are a some genuine posts in there, but there are just as many “friends” who’d like to pay you for pictures of your feet. Trust me, if friendship was this weird in LA, I would move away and never speak of it again.
1. Consider the transition buddy
If you meet someone who is as new to the city as you are, don’t pass up the opportunity to exchange numbers. Even if you two won’t be best friends a year from now, you can at least conquer social activities together, especially if you’re self-conscious about going to events alone.
2. Take a Class at One of LA’s Comedy Schools
Even if you’ve never tried your hand at improv, sketch or standup before, LA’s comedy classes are wonderful places to meet new friends and build some confidence. Check out iO West, Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, Groundlings and Second City for an improv or sketch focus. For standup, checkout classes offered at the Comedy Store, Stand Up Comedy Clinic, Stand-up Comedy Workshop, and Flappers.
3. Hipcooks Los Angeles
Hipcooks is part cooking class, part dinner party. It’s hands-on, not too precious about technique, and encourages a casual, fun environment. The group dynamic encourages meeting and talking to new people. The classes are for all skill levels, so don’t feel pressured to show up Masterchef ready.
4. Trivia Nights
There’s a pub trivia night almost every night of the week in LA. Check your local watering holes to see if they host a weeknight event or check Action Trivia’s LA map. Once you spot a group that looks inviting and maybe just a little overwhelmed, just ask if you can join in. If one turns you down, ask another group. It’s meant to get people talking to each other.
An intramural “social sports league”, Zogsports focus more on the social aspect of the game and don’t stress about competitiveness or athletic ability. The games end at happy hour and each team plays for a charity. Zogsports offers Basketball, Bowling, Dodgeball, Football, Kickball, Soccer, Softball and Volleyball teams.
6. Volunteer Match
Taking the guesswork out of volunteering, LA’s Volunteer Match organizes listings of volunteer events chronologically, specifying one-time events and on-going volunteer needs. It makes it easy to jump in for a day and check out a volunteer opportunity without a big commitment.
7. Sports Teams
Connect with other transplants by searching out your hometown’s sports team. The big ones have entire bars dedicated to them: Sonny McLean’s is a famed Red Sox Bar, West 4th/Jane is dedicated to the New York Mets, Rush Street is Chicago Bears cave, the list goes on.
8. Sunday Assembly
If you’re jealous of the social structure a church brings, but you don’t want all that religion stuff that goes with it, check out the Sunday Assembly. The secular group gets together Sunday mornings to sing pop songs, hang out in multicultural and multigenerational circles, and work on community service projects.
9. Friends of Bill W
While plenty of large private sober parties are word-of-mouth through members of LA’s large AA network, there are several public sober events each week. Daybreakers, sober dance parties, are a great way to mingle and start off the day energized. Beit T’shuvah has weekly activities for members in recovery, including group surfing and sober birthday celebrations. LA is a health-crazed town and with the high calorie count of booze, it’s very easy to find people off the sauce.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous way to make new friends in a new city, Meetups are lively and diverse in LA. Keep in mind that since each group is managed and attended in its own unique way, a dud Meetup group doesn’t speak for all of them. Poke around, join a few, and get out there. The right social group is out there.