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Old 07-15-2009, 07:25 PM
 
207 posts, read 734,084 times
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I'm a female in my early 30s who's going to be moving to the TC in September to attend grad school. I am a little concerned about some of what I've read about Minnesotans being somewhat distant and difficult to make friends with. I understand that it has a lot to do with people having lived here all their lives and thus having full lives with a solid social circle. But I'm just wondering if anyone has tips on what a person should do if they want to make new friends. I know general advice about how to make friends in new places may very well apply, but since I'm moving to Minneapolis, I thought I'd ask you folks.

You see, I hope to make friends outside of school because a) I will be older than most of my classmates and for various reasons I anticipate that I will not have that much in common aside from schoolwork; and b) I don't want my life outside of school to be all about school (i.e., conversations about grad school and the life of a grad student, etc). I'd like to meet people who are funny, smart, interesting, around my age... I have already thought about volunteering somewhere, such as the Institute of Arts. I also am thinking about joining a running club. I might be interested in joining other outdoor activity clubs, if my budget permits (maybe in future years). Any other suggestions or ideas or insights?

Thanks!
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:28 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 25,026,743 times
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Those all sound like good ideas. I've in the past had good luck meeting people through volunteering, although at some of the larger museums (not sure about the MIA in particular) it can be more difficult to break into the inner circle of volunteers. I'd certainly still pursue it if that's where your interests go, but based on personal museum experience I think you'd have an easier time from the friend-standpoint if you found a slightly smaller place. They also tend to be a bit less regimented, so you'd have a better chance of being able to do a broader range of things.

If you're interested in local issues (or become interested after you move) there are always local neighborhood groups that need people, too. (although I'm biased - I think more neighborhood groups need more young people and more renters to balance things out. Still, you'd meet a nice range of people in your neighborhood.)
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:10 AM
 
207 posts, read 734,084 times
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Thanks!! I did a search of the Minnesota forum and found this interminably long thread entitled, 'Is it really that hard to make friends in Minnesota?' I read the whole thing...probably not such a good idea (scared me a bit), but now I feel like I really do need to plan ahead and find good ways to get involved and meet people. I also now also know what lutefisk is (there's a funny sub-conversation about it running through the thread)!
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:35 PM
 
77 posts, read 356,209 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabel_009 View Post
You see, I hope to make friends outside of school because a) I will be older than most of my classmates and for various reasons I anticipate that I will not have that much in common aside from schoolwork; and b) I don't want my life outside of school to be all about school (i.e., conversations about grad school and the life of a grad student, etc). I'd like to meet people who are funny, smart, interesting, around my age...
Will there be postdocs in your department? If so, I'd suggest trying to hang out with them instead of grad students. They're probably going to be much less inclined to talk about school in off hours and they're going to be your age.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:02 PM
 
207 posts, read 734,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
Will there be postdocs in your department? If so, I'd suggest trying to hang out with them instead of grad students. They're probably going to be much less inclined to talk about school in off hours and they're going to be your age.
Hmmm...yes, and there are upper year grad students who are about my age and may have more in common with me. We shall see if I can break the ice with them. It might be difficult though because I've heard that people tend to stick with their own cohort...but I think it's worth a shot.
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:01 AM
 
7,509 posts, read 8,887,684 times
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Isabel.

You have a good start with your ideas.

From my handle, you can tell that I don't have a lot of experience living outside of our fine state. It's my theory that most of what is going on is that Minnesotans have their core circle of friends filled. And while they are "nice", they are not looking to fill any more spots with ease. There is not some MN club. It's a simple matter that if we have enough friends in our mind, we tend on subconsciously close the door. Looking back and digging a little, I remember doing it myself several times.

Since I have read the thread that you referenced, I've paid close attention to what it takes to make friends and when it occurs. I've concluded there is something to it. In the past when I politely shut the door, it was because I saw the other person coming on a little too strong as a friend or I felt I was too busy. I could describe the specific examples if you like. So my message is don't push too hard. It sounds odd to become strategic but I really do think you need to be.

So for fun, recently I've tried to "bust into" some friend groups that were acquaintances before. Just realize that once you find someone that enjoys your company, they may not reciprocate an invitation even though they say yes to a lot of your invites. Keep on asking and eventually the calls will sparsely return. If your pseudo-friends that are in development have Kid's, those return invitations will be much slower than if they don't have Kid's. I'm at the age where parents are "empty nesters". Entering into those circles are much easier.

I've found it takes a weekend trip or a vacation together in order to have stronger bonds. In fact, the circles that I have recently "busted into" have been at our cabin twice. Still, we have to initiate most of the activities. But we are becoming friends with some of their friends so we have gotten a invitations into the larger group events.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Cathedral Hill, St Paul
200 posts, read 558,377 times
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Hi Isabel. I know you don't want your life and activities to be all about school, but it will certainly help you get a start in terms of meeting people. I also have some other ideas that I will send a DM to you about. Please don't get discouraged before you even arrive!
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:05 AM
 
207 posts, read 734,084 times
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Thanks for your observations! I think coming on too strong is recognized universally as a sign of desperation and scares people off. And you definitely won't be seeing me being pushy or anything like that -- if anything I'm likely to err on the opposite side by not being forward enough. I like spending time alone (at home with my partner) and it's easy to fall into a routine where making plans with others actually seems burdensome or stressful. This might sound strange or familiar to some people, I don't know. I do have a bit of social anxiety. But I also recognize that when I'm around people I often have a lot of fun, so I think it's worthwhile to get a new, more social routine. Moving to a new city is a good opportunity for that. I just need to follow through on some of my ideas and the great ideas that have been suggested to me so far!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MN-Born-n-Raised View Post
Isabel.

You have a good start with your ideas.

From my handle, you can tell that I don't have a lot of experience living outside of our fine state. It's my theory that most of what is going on is that Minnesotans have their core circle of friends filled. And while they are "nice", they are not looking to fill any more spots with ease. There is not some MN club. It's a simple matter that if we have enough friends in our mind, we tend on subconsciously close the door. Looking back and digging a little, I remember doing it myself several times.

Since I have read the thread that you referenced, I've paid close attention to what it takes to make friends and when it occurs. I've concluded there is something to it. In the past when I politely shut the door, it was because I saw the other person coming on a little too strong as a friend or I felt I was too busy. I could describe the specific examples if you like. So my message is don't push too hard. It sounds odd to become strategic but I really do think you need to be.

So for fun, recently I've tried to "bust into" some friend groups that were acquaintances before. Just realize that once you find someone that enjoys your company, they may not reciprocate an invitation even though they say yes to a lot of your invites. Keep on asking and eventually the calls will sparsely return. If your pseudo-friends that are in development have Kid's, those return invitations will be much slower than if they don't have Kid's. I'm at the age where parents are "empty nesters". Entering into those circles are much easier.

I've found it takes a weekend trip or a vacation together in order to have stronger bonds. In fact, the circles that I have recently "busted into" have been at our cabin twice. Still, we have to initiate most of the activities. But we are becoming friends with some of their friends so we have gotten a invitations into the larger group events.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-20-2009, 03:16 AM
 
23 posts, read 116,913 times
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I'll be your friend. lol.

Actually, I think the same goes for many places. I'm a Minnesotan, who plans to start grad school in Iowa, and there is a thread there saying people can be standoff-ish, and everyone has their friends from school, and their clique. I don't actually believe it though. I really think, that if you are a nice and outgoing person, you can make friends anywhere. Minnesota and Iowa are no different. It's definitely harder to make friends when you are a bit older. Many people are married with children, and don't have the time to hangout for coffee. I'm sure you will meet many people, especially from your department.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:24 AM
 
10,629 posts, read 25,026,743 times
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I think the school environment is going to be different, anyway, even if you don't end up being friends only with those from your department. I think (and this is just a theory) that a lot of the people with the most problems are probably a bit older and are moving to neighborhoods where most people have kids and have a busy life (because kids today seem to have so many scheduled activities, and the parents are often busy bringing them from one place to another on top of managing their own non-kid lives). The school setting is going to have a different vibe, especially if at a large school. Some people will still have busy family or personal lives, but you will share a common bond of participation in academic life with them. (and as a parent of a toddler, let me be the first to say that while I love talking about my kid, I also have a strong need to talk to people about other more intellectually-stimulating topics as well. Given your age bracket you'll probably meet other people around your age that have kids yet are eager to make non-kid-related friends; their schedules may not be as open as those without kids, though.)
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