Six Ways to Make New Friends in Philly in 2020
Lots of in-person social engagements remain canceled, but there are still plenty of ways to connect with people who share similar interests.
Even in the best of times, Philly can be a hard place to break into. Philly in 2020? Forget about it. But there are still ways to find your people.
1. Harness social media for good
For all the perils and just plain old annoyances of social media (no one cares about your color-coded pantry re-org, Karen), these days it’s increasingly less weird to get to know someone on a platform like Twitter or Instagram before meeting in person. Facebook makes it especially easy, geo-targeting for groups like neighbors, runners and new parents.
2. Start a book club, or join an existing one
Some book clubs are an intense dissection of plot and characters, and others are an excuse to gather and gossip over a cheese plate. Whichever yours becomes, it’s a clever device to transform your acquaintances into friends via repetition (standing monthly dates) and a common theme. If you’d rather take cues from the pros, the Free Library’s weekly or monthly virtual book clubs are hosted by a librarian and draw readers from all over the city.
3. Go searching on Meetup.com
The platform is a simple way for people with shared interests to find or organize gatherings. Many groups that usually meet in person — horror-movie lovers, tango for beginners, the Main Line ukulele players — are gathering to screen movies, host classes or jam out online now, too.
4. Brace for parenthood
Expecting moms can start planting friendship seeds before baby arrives with prenatal yoga classes (Mama’s Wellness Joint, 1100 Pine Street, Washington Square West) or birth classes (Pennsylvania Hospital, 700 Spruce Street, Washington Square West). It’s normal to feel anxiety over the unknown of what’s to come in this new stage of life, which makes bonding with anyone in the same boat a little easier. Both orgs are offering synchronous online classes, too.
5. Join a rec league
Whether you were a D-1 athlete or a number one fan, groups like Heyday Athletic offer dozens of games for competitors of any ability, from soccer and lacrosse to dodgeball and darts. When COVID put in-person contact sports on pause, you could still sign up for fun (and equally cutthroat) virtual versions, like online trivia, Mario Kart tournaments or music bingo. As of June 22nd, they’ve reopened registration for in-person sports.
6. Become a wine expert
Online wine sales have skyrocketed as Philly residents have spent more time at home these past months. Connect with other curious red or white drinkers to learn the complexities of what’s in your glass at Wine School Philadelphia (109 South 22nd Street, Rittenhouse). They have a full catalog of online courses, with options that break down bubbly, the wines of Sonoma, or artisanal food and wine pairings, each for only $10 a pop.
Published as “Six Ways to Make a New Friend” in the June/July 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.