Six years ago, I flipped my life and moved back home from Boston to Pittsburgh. I was about to go through a divorce and start my life over from scratch. No home, no job, and no significant other. The worst thing is that I wouldn't have my friends either.
I had moved to Boston in 2004 and had found I never really fit in there. I worked really hard and attempted to make a new life and after nine years it didn't work out. I didn't have many friends or people who stuck by me when my marriage went really south. When I left Pittsburgh I had a going away party and there were tears and lots who said they would be around for late night phone calls and everything else. In the end, people move on. Friends get married and have kids and move far away and on with their lives.
So here I was freshly alone and without anyone but my family back in my home. Familiar yet strange. I had to find a hive. A hive is like a beehive. They are people like you that do nothing but enhance your life. It is a concept that has taken more shape in the last decade or so. We crave to find others that are positive in our lives, not just people that like the same type of music as us. I craved to find friends that loved art, entrepreneurship, and craft beer.
First, I found a place to hang out. During the day it was coffee shops and the gym. The idea was I would eventually find someone with the same interests as me. At night it was a local bar. Now you may say that is seedy or not ideal and not your thing, it just happened to be OK for me. I became friendly with the doorman and most nights he walked me to my car. That is where I met my first new friend. We had the same love of art and music. We always laughed at the same things and we spent a huge chunk of time bringing each other up.
Next, I found a hive in an online community. This wasn’t your average community, they had meet-ups and nurturing rules for the Facebook Groups. I joined the ones that I had a common interest with and were mostly entrepreneurial. I joined a business group, podcasting group, and blogging group. Most of the people in the group I ended up meeting in person and working with or collaborating.
The toughest part of all of this is that my divorce made me an introvert and shy. I hated meeting new people or going to events and I still struggle with this now. It causes anxiety and stress and most of the time I sit next to the punchbowl waiting for someone to say hello. The good news is that sometimes in these awkward social moments there is another introvert that is feeling just as rough as you.
So if you are interested in finding a new friend, look to your local Facebook group or coffeeshop. If you are an introvert or just shy remember that there is someone else there just like you, or the online community is a great way to start because you find out about people before meeting them.
Amanda Narcisi is a native of Pittsburgh and loves to spend her time exploring the city and eating at local restaurants. She is the editor in chief of BOLD Pittsburgh and spends all of her time writing, and spending time with her boyfriend and cat.