Bethnik's Blog

Feb. 12, 2013 at 7:39pm

Traveling Light in Tacoma

My husband and I moved to Tacoma in 2007 and we have found it very difficult to meet people and make friends here.  Yes, we have gone to various events and we provide business to many local restaurants and bars.  We have been members of the Grand, attend First Night, and have been on the Art Bus.  We have listened to bands at the New Frontier and the Den, have shopped at Vanity, Sanford and Sons and the Proctor Farmer's Market.  While we have led busy lives working in other communities, we have always come home here, not living like hermits.  I recently joined a running meet-up group, partly to have someone to run with while my husband gets back in shape, but partly just to see if anyone around here might be interested in hanging out.  We are both pretty cool, intelligent, funny people with a wide range of interests and enjoy living in the City of Destiny. 


I am wondering if others have had a similar experience or if anyone has any suggestions for us . . .

comments [6]  |  posted under Tacoma


by Erik on 2/12/2013 @ 11:35pm
Try going to the Historic Tacoma events:

by cisserosmiley on 2/13/2013 @ 8:26am
That list of Tacoma stuff is just the public sphere costume of Tacoma, socially required and sometimes cool but rarely more than today's equivalent of wearing a powder wig or parking a new car in your driveway instead of garage.  

by KevinFreitas on 2/14/2013 @ 6:53am
Hey Bethnik! I think you're running into a reserve that comes with people in the Puget Sound. Most are outwardly friendly but won't outright just ask you into their circle of friends.

That being said, I can only attest to how I made friends in Tacoma. It took time but they are solid friendships. Find, follow, and talk to people talking Tacoma on Twitter. Sounds weird going digital a bit but folks who are willing to put themselves out there in such a public forum about a place they love are likely more open to new friendships in general. Also, though you've tried lots of activities none of them strike me as particular conversation starting environments. My suggestion would be to get involved with groups that actually encourage people to talk like a book club at King's Books, quiz nights at various area bars, or events like Social Media Club Tacoma.

Hope this helps!

by cisserosmiley on 2/14/2013 @ 7:50am
Statistically, 21st century Americans meet friends through occupational settings & 'economic banding' (activities that cost alot so only people with similar $$$ as you will be there). What do you do for a living? How much money do you make? What neighborhood do you live in? Give me this info & I will tell you several folks in Tacoma who have statistical probability of being friends with you.

by Maria on 2/15/2013 @ 5:14pm
Bethnik, they call that reserve that borders on chill "the Seattle Freeze." We're not THAT city, but some of the same insularity is present here also.

I found that volunteering for things I love has been the best way to get acquainted with people. I do all the things you do: work in coffeeshops, go to music events, Third Thursday art walks, eat at downtown restaurants.

The best way has been to collaborate on projects, whether artistic or community-building. I've also made it a habit of inviting people to coffee or to meet for lunch and carpool to events. Otherwise, things never progress beyond just occasional greetings.

I've met tons of great people at church, but not everyone attends church.

BTW, I hope it's not discouraging to you, but research has shown people after college tend to stick with safe/easy social relationships. Work, kids, home upkeep obligations, etc. start to creep up and time/energy is less available.

Friends of a Certain Age: Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30?
As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.

This info just helped me to realize it's not just me or you, but society is set up this way a bit. (Please say Hi if you ever see me at an event. I'd love to chat!)

by Bethnik on 3/5/2013 @ 7:19pm

Thanks everyone.  Still a work in progress.  Kevin--I am getting involved in book groups and plan on the pub quizzes!  I don't really understand the Social Media Club or twitter ideas.  Maybe we could discuss at an event sometime.  Maria--funny, I am starting to volunteer and am hoping to make connections that way.  I'm too much of an introvert sometimes.  I will definitely say hi if I ever see you.  Please do the same!  (May try to get the hubby to do Knowledge night tomorrow at Doyle's).