How do I Make New Friends After Olin? By Boris Taratutin and Matt Ritter

Two Olin alumni sharing thoughts about starting over post-Olin, in
a new city, new job, making new friends...

 

 

Question from Boris Taratutin, '13   

Thumbnail image for Boris.jpg

 

 









Matt!

 I just graduated and have found myself in a new city, and with six months that I vowed
to take off before my next after-college solid commitment. I want to do
something awesome with it, and part of that plan was moving to a cool, hoppin'
city (in this case, San Francisco), and seeing what trouble (awesomeness) I
could get into up here.
I've started connecting with the Olin network here, which has been /terrific/ -
Oliners are so willing to help you out; whether it's finding a job or letting
you stay on a couch until you find your own place, but I'm still having trouble
adjusting to the city. 

How do you meet awesome people in a city?  That involves finding them, AND convincing
them to be your
friends.

 

 

Matt Ritter Response, '10    

Matt.jpg

 

 

 







Hey Boris!

I
found myself in shoes similar to yours, in the sense that they were located in
a hoppin' city (Cambridge) and pointed toward adventure. That was in May of
2010. Since then, I've rafted on the Charles, danced all over the place, and
made 276 friends (on Facebook).

 

July4.jpg 

A beautiful
4th of July sunset on the Charles, courtesy of Project Best Idea Ever and
Artisan's Asylum 

 

Cambridge.jpg

 

Cambridge
City Dance Party, held in front of City Hall

 

 

You're
right to make the distinction between finding people and building deeper
friendships. Finding people is easy enough (in a city, at least. I was
committed to living in a dense urban area post-graduation, largely for this
reason), but making real connections is quite difficult. The first thing that I
came to realize is that it's just never going to be as easy as it was in
college. It's important to understand how utterly bizarre college is, relative
to the lifestyle that people spend the next ~43 years in before retiring.

 

And
at Olin, doubly so!  For example, remember how people would complain about
having to walk over to West Hall, or all the way in the AC? Let me show you
what that ~200m looks like on a map of the Boston area, centered on the Kendall
T stop:

 

Map.png



Your
friends, co-workers, meetup groups, and statistically significant others are
going to be much further away than they've ever been, and you'll find that the
activation energy to make something happen is quite a bit larger. Also, people
are in a far wider set of life stages. Some have moved in with the person that
they are going to marry, some already have children. Some are working
exceptionally hard on a startup, and others just need to wake up early on
weekdays. The relatively synchronous (and flexible) lives that we enjoyed in
college are much more responsible for its spontaneity than I
realized.

 

The
upside is that there you have a lot of time to experiment. Here are some ideas:

  • Regular, well-scheduled events. Email
    still works in the real world, of course, and you can even create a Google
    Group for your social circle if you want. Just try to get your Friday
    night dinner party invitation out on Tuesday or Wednesday. Better yet,
    have something every week, so it's part of people's routines. They won't
    come all of the time, but if you have about 20 friends who each drop by
    every once in a while, you'll usually have some company.

 

  • Meetup.com, sports leagues, and other informally
    organized events. The quality can vary dramatically, but these can be
    awesome. Join lots of mailing lists, follow lots of organizations on your
    social media network of choice, and just generally keep your ear to the
    ground. 

 

  • Your company, and your friends'
    companies. One of the advantages of working at athena has been the
    opportunity to meet a wide selection of the 1,000 Watertown employees.
    When I was freelancing, I took every opportunity that I could to meet the
    full-time employees of the companies I was working with.

 

  • People gather around themed spaces. If
    you want to meet makers, go to makerspaces. If you want to meet
    programmers, go to hackathons. To find dancers? I guess you could try book
    signings or something. Ask everyone where else they go, until you keep
    hearing the same suggestions again and again.

 

  • Just keep going out. It can become one of
    those things that you want to do in theory, but procrastinate on in
    practice, but once you find a social rhythm for your week, it's totally
    worth it.

 

Best
of luck, and keep me posted!

 

 
     -Matt

Posted in: Alumni Speak