Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New friends/ Expensive City

I have been in Boston for almost a year now and am still sadly short on friends here.  It’s not the first time I’ve moved to a new place, far away from family and those few steadfast friends, and had to create a new network but it is the first time I’ve tried to do that on a budget.  Coupled with the fact that I’m working non-stop, live in a bedroom community, and other than my professional society don’t belong to any groups, I’m finding it really challenging to get a network going here.  And a network of people I can trust in the area is really important to me… I’ve realized that the one thing that has always made it ok to be so far from my family and close friends is making some new connections!

I have been able to reconnect with a woman that I met a few years ago in Florida.  We are in the same profession and met at a conference, subsequently we worked for the same company in different offices and stayed in touch periodically.  Although we were never more than acquaintances in Florida, when I stumbled upon her name here in Boston I was thrilled to see a familiar name and sent her an e-mail. Since then we’ve met up a few times for happy hour, which is sort of expensive with the commute and high drink prices but I figured worth it if it would help me connect here plus she’s genuinely fun to be around. 

Last week she invited me and S to meet up for brunch at a restaurant near her house, which I gladly accepted since it would be the first time our partners would meet, a sure sign of friendship!  I was also partially relieved since brunch is the least expensive meal of the day so how bad could it hurt the bottom line.  I found out the hard way that brunch can indeed hit the wallet hard.  When I first opened the menu I just about gasped out loud at the prices and pondered if I could just order water and a cup of $8 yogurt and pretend that I wasn’t starving to death while everyone else ate full meals.  In the end my hunger and desire to just enjoy the time with new friends won out.  S and I left the restaurant $70 poorer but with new friends by our side and some good lessons learned…
  1. When someone has invited us out, check the online menu first so we can make a better decision about whether to go or not
  2. If the other party is open to it, suggest another place that is more affordable
  3. Eat a little something before going so our stomachs aren’t overruling our decision to stay financially solvent
  4. And lastly, be the inviter not the invitee… during brunch the couple mentioned having never gone on a bike trip along the river or picnic at one of the public parks both of which are very affordable and fun things to do here in Boston so I jumped on the chance to invite them to do that with us soon!
Other than those things how else do unmarried, childless, 30-somethings make new friends in a big city without breaking the bank?  I’m at a loss but I think I should make it my May goal to find out… 

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