8 ways to meet new people as an expat in New York

By Charlotte Deprez Published 22/10/2019

As if moving to a new city wasn’t challenging enough, you’ll probably find yourself quite lonely in the early days. Picture this: you’re actually out of your comfort zone, and on top of that, you need to start making new friends from scratch. Well, if your new city is New York, it’s your lucky day!

In the Big Apple, people come and go all the time and, most importantly, almost nobody grew up there, which means that social groups are always in motion. Still not convinced? For the reluctant ones, we listed 8 ways to meet new people as an expat in New York.

What’s the best way to meet new people in NYC?

  1. Join Facebook groups
  2. Take a walking tours with a greeter
  3. Create a couchsurfing.com account
  4. Opt for coliving
  5. Attend events by yourself
  6. Build on shared interests
  7. Get involved in sports
  8. By socializing at work

1. Join Facebook groups

It might seem quite obvious given the fact that Facebook has been running our social lives for the past 15 years, but Facebook local groups are still very effective to meet new people.

Those groups can be about shared interests, for example, but they can also be for expats from your home country! Because obviously, it’s always easier to make friends who speak the same language and have the same cultural references as you, and it’s a very good start to meet new people fast.

2. Take a walking tours with a greeter

Walking around your new city by yourself is a good way to discover it, but taking a tour with a greeter is even better! A lot of newcomers choose that option to learn more about New York and its secrets, but also to meet locals. The best and most reliable website to request a greeter is bigapplegreeter.org.

3. Create a couchsurfing.com account

Although this website is primarily for folks looking for a place to sleep for free, users who cannot welcome anyone on their couch can still select the option “wants to meet up”. This is a way to say “hey, I’m a local and I’m available for coffee if you want”.

The person writing this article actually met real-life friends through that option. So even if you already have an accommodation, creating an account on couchsurfing.com is most definitely a good idea!

4. Opt for coliving

The first people you’ll socialize with when arriving in New York will probably be your one or two flatmates. If you’re really lucky, they’ll be fun and you’ll hit it off with them. But often, you’ll come to realize that you don’t have much in common, except for the fact that you’re living under the same roof.

What if I told you that you can have more flatmates, coming from all over the world? That’s right, I’m talking about coliving! Services like Cohabs have been increasingly popular among expats looking for comfort, design and quality in their accommodation, but also open-minded flatmates to share their free time with.

5. Attend events by yourself

Even if you’re an extrovert, going to an event by yourself is never easy. But are you really ready to miss out on that amazing art event just because you don’t know anybody? You’re in New York for Pete’s sake, the city where one of the most popular street artists is a naked cowboy. I.e. nobody cares.

The best tip we have for you if you decide to take that leap of faith : you’re probably not the only one. Keep an eye out for other loners (and we mean that in a non creepy way, of course) and reach out. You’ll realize that, in 99% of cases, people will be SO happy that you talked to them, because they would never have dared to talk to you first.

6. Build on shared interests

It’s always easier to break the ice with someone who shares your interests. Whether it’s photography, cooking, sports, arts,… Every week, a lot of events and gatherings bring aficionados together all over New York. The best websites to find them is meetup.com or citysocializer.com.

7. Get involved in sports

A good way to stay in shape and meet new people in New York is obviously to hit the gym! Join a spinning class, a soft ball team or take a membership to the local swimming pool. You’ll realize that naturally, when you see people once or twice a week, you end up talking and eventually making new friends.

8. By socializing at work

If you moved to New York, chances are that you did it for work. So on your first week on the job, make sure you introduce yourself to everybody and just ask if there’s a thirsty Thursday or any afterwork event going on in the upcoming days or weeks. Trust us, there will be!

About the author Hello there! I’m Charlotte, a 20-something based in beautiful Brussels and passionate about traveling, food and photography. Follow me on www.thetinynomad.com.

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