How To -NOT- Make Friends In New Orleans
If your goal is to actually make friends in New Orleans, you might benefit from doing the OPPOSITE of what I do.
The biggest concern most people have when moving to New Orleans is whether they will find a place to live where they feel safe. The SECOND biggest concern most people have when moving to New Orleans is whether they will make friends and create a support system so that they can enjoy their lives here. I have made ONE friend in New Orleans and this is how we met.
I moved into my first long term rental and introduced myself to Mrs. McGee, an older woman who lived directly across the street. She was welcoming so I told her that I can run errands for her if she ever needed it. She took me up on my offer and I was happy because, living alone in New Orleans, I don’t have anyone to show love to. As the months wore on my trips for her became more consistent and we would sit and talk before and afterwards. I grew to love her. I would call to check on her for no reason, she would send me plates of food and even gave me a stern lecture about the Covid vaccines. I know she cares about me and I care about her and I am grateful to have this ONE friend in the city.
Other than Mrs. McGee, who is nearly 80 years old, I have ZERO friends in New Orleans. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing but when I read the surveys of everyone asking how to make friends I take a second to examine my own life. Taking a moment to think about WHY this is my truth, I realize that having no friends is really all my fault. It may even be subconsciously intentional. If your goal is to actually make friends, you might benefit from doing the OPPOSITE of what I do. Check out the main reasons why I don’t have any friends in New Orleans after living here for nearly two years.
I have no patience.
We live in the Big Easy and as such most everyone in New Orleans takes it really easy, so easy that their slow pace is infuriating to a hyper active, socially anxious, obsessive freak like me. I’m always in a hurry to complete my projects, to have new experiences and when I eat- I finish in 5 minutes or less! This attitude does not work when trying to connect with people in New Orleans. People in New Orleans are vibing and enjoying every last bite of life.
If you want to make friends in New Orleans, you need to slow down and kind of take life for granted. If you know tomorrow IS promised to you, how would you go about your life goals? You’ll get to them… one of these days. There’s really no rush. When you adopt this attitude you will be less likely to pass up on connections that could last a lifetime.
I like doing things by myself.
You can catch me all around the city, tasting good food, having picnics and trying out new activities all by myself. Why? Because I prefer doing ONLY the things that I want to do, on my own time and at my own pace. I don’t like to compromise either just for companionship. I never invite anyone to do anything with me. I never invite anyone to come hang out at my house. To make it clear, I am basically a hermit. My solitude is intentional.
If you want to make friends in New Orleans you have to be open to compromise and waiting on others to have time to join you for activities that don’t always center around your interests.
I don’t have regular activities.
Whenever I find a place I love to visit or an activity that I find to be fun, I’m interested for about 1 month at the most and when I am there I pretend that I am invisible because I don’t want to talk to anyone on a regular basis. Why? Well, I could attribute it to my social anxiety but really it’s because I don’t like long term commitments. I like to taste, see and explore and after I’m done, I move on without looking back. I have not worked a regular job in 8 years. I have not had a loving, committed relationship in nearly 20 years. I don’t do anything that requires me to show up at a certain time and do the same things over and over again with the same people.
If you want to make friends in New Orleans it is a good idea to join an activity or get a job that allows you to be around the same people for an extended period of time so that you can have the opportunity to make a friend. Making yourself invisible or only doing one off gigs won’t allow you to bond with anyone enough that they understand your quirks and see your character. If you want to make friends you have to stick around long enough to allow people time to get to know you.
I am free to be myself.
There is a certain freedom that comes with living in New Orleans. You immediately recognize that this is a city that doesn’t demand that you be a certain way. I have always lacked a filter, but after moving to New Orleans I became the most unfiltered version of myself and most people hate it. I am really cool online but in person, most people react like— WTF?!!!
I never try to impress anyone. I never try to be accepted by anyone. I don’t have to ask anyone permission to reach my goals so I have no desire to be approved by anyone. I flitter and I flutter and I’m weird and I am manic and I am anxious and I have finally found a city where I want to create a foundation for my life and I love it! My neighbors don’t bother me. No one corrects me or tells me I’m going to lose anything because I am not following their agenda. I am so FREE to be myself here in New Orleans that I am the most hardcore version of myself. In New Orleans I am able to act like the person I am when no one is around- all the time. I realize being myself means some people won’t like my attitude, the things I am passionate about, my vibe or my presence and I am okay with that.
If you want to make friends in New Orleans it is okay to be yourself, however, practice some type of restraint and social decorum. Friendships are partnerships where people compromise and respect each other. People who want other people to like them behave in ways that are likeable. Be someone you would like to be around and making friends in New Orleans should come easy.
I’m hyper focused on my work.
I am a very busy woman and after years of honing a lifestyle where I support myself without asking anyone for permission I realized that social activities take time away from achieving my goals so I intentionally limit the number of people who can contact me for reasons that are not business related. I never walk up to people and introduce myself. I don’t offer coffee dates or ask to hang out unless I am doing an interview. I am open to meeting people but I have no desire to develop long term relationships. It distracts from doing the work I believe I am sent to this world to do. I am obsessed with my work and I understand that most people in New Orleans are obsessed with enjoying life. I clash with most people because of that.
If you want to make friends in New Orleans you have to open yourself up to doing things for no reason other than enjoying yourself. People don’t move to New Orleans to work hard, they move to New Orleans to LIVE hard.
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Have you made friends in New Orleans yet? How did you meet your first friend?