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Making New Friends in Florence

Yesterday afternoon I rushed into my friend Anna’s office and proclaimed, “I have made a new friend!” I was positively giddy. I felt like a kid and I probably sounded like one. Maybe it’s just me, but I have found that as I get older making new friends is really difficult, especially when you are in a new city.

I met Anna three years ago when we started working together with students in Florence. Thus, through working together, our friendship developed naturally. But what if you move to a new city and decide (or need) to make new friends, what then? Are you the creepy girl alone at restaurants and bars? And when I do find someone I would like to befriend, I always fell like I am coming on too strong. I swear, it’s worse than dating!
The key to making new friends when you are older is putting yourself out there. This, of course, is not always easy. Most people who have met me would label me an extrovert — I can easily talk to anyone and I have a tendency to dominate/drive conversations. But I am actually a bit introverted. When I need to be I can be friendly and chatty, but if left to my own devices I would probably stay home in my macaron pjs in my adorable little apartment.
This year, however, I have put myself out there a bit more. Both Anna and I decided we need to make more friends (we tend to work too much and only hang out with each other). We have joined a gym and yoga studio where we have made several new girl friends (the gym/work out studio is a great place to meet new people and make friends). I also met up with Jennifer (my new friend that I proclaimed above) who I first “met” on Instagram.
I think Jennifer and I were both a bit nervous about meeting in person (again this can be worse than dating lol) but based on our social media interactions Jennifer seemed really sweet and I love her style. I think we figured we had enough in common that it wouldn’t be super awkward. The minute I walked into the bar, and spotted her in her amazing newspaper coat and bow sleeve dress, I knew we would get along. We sipped cappuccinos, shared our life stories, and then headed to a wonderful vintage expo for a little shopping.
Throughout the process of building this blog and engaging in social media, I have been surprised at the amazing, and very real, connections that can be made online. Of course this can’t replace putting yourself out there in real life, but it certainly helps. So I guess the moral of the story is this — yes, making friends when you are older can be difficult and awkward, but making the effort to take a class, join a gym, or meet someone who you have a lot in common with online is totally worth it!
Do you have any tips for meeting people and making new friends?