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Old 07-09-2011, 01:01 PM
 
310 posts, read 589,194 times
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I just read through a very similar thread to this on the San Jose forum and, to be honest, the answers were pretty depressing (for someone who is considering moving to the area, and won't know many people).

I pose this question this question because I've spent most of my life in the Midwest, where I have a fairly strong circle of family and friends, and I'm starting to question how much I'm really going to miss that if I just pick up and move to the Bay Area. It's kinda frustrating, because I really think the Northern California lifestyle appeals to me almost every other way. At this time, I only have 2 cousins in the area (San Mateo & Marin) and 1 good friend, but he lives WAY up in Clearlake. My pending move to SF / OAK, while much desired, is still optional...if you see where I'm going with this.

So.....the general feel from the SJ/SV forum is that, for new arrivals, establishing new friendships of any substance can be very difficult because:

a) many folks are workaholics and only really establish meaningful connections of any kind with co-workers

b) for DINK's and especially for singles, it's tough because so many social activities for 30's and older revolves around their kids' activities, school friends, etc...

c) established locals (again, basically talking 30+ here) tend to stick to their established cliques and aren't really looking to add new friends to their circle...kinda like that Seinfeld episode where the guy approaches Jerry about joining their circle of friends and Jerry responds: "I'm sorry. I'm sure you're a very nice person, but we're just not hiring right now." LOL ...funny, but...true?

d) many locals prefers to only socialize with their college friends (esp. Stanford or Cal) or their early career buddies

e) Meet-Up groups being an idea to meet new people, but opinions are out there that these tend to be more just for organizing events and activities among those with similar interests, and not really for establishing real friendships (opposing views or experiences of Meet Up groups welcome!)

f) certain ethnic groups (i.e. East Indian, Asian) tend to really stick to their own "people" socially, outside of work

g) neighbors: you may get lucky and get some cool, friendly ones...but for the most part they tend to be aloof and not interested in establishing any more than the most cursory "friendship"


** The questions being: Do the above characterizations and challenges apply also to SF / OAK / East Bay, as they seem to for SJ/SV? Any recent transplants (maybe < 5-7 years) that can share your experiences on this matter? Any other ideas for Bay Area newbies to establish real connections / friendships, outside of work or school?

Just to be clear...I don't live in the Bay Area yet, so this is NOT a complaint thread. I'm just asking for any insights / experiences / comparisons to SJ/SV issues mentioned above, but specifically for SF / OAK / East Bay. Lastly, for the purposes of responding to this thread, please assume that the new transplant is relatively outgoing, friendly, tolerant, open-minded, not a d-bag, nature / outdoor enthusiast, and willing to try new things, be active in the community, etc...i.e. at least do their part!

Thanks!!!

Oak2Oak

Last edited by OakAve2OakLand; 07-09-2011 at 01:16 PM..
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:32 PM
 
Location: The Bay
6,915 posts, read 12,998,131 times
Reputation: 3072
Quote:
Originally Posted by OakAve2OakLand View Post
I just read through a very similar thread to this on the San Jose forum and, to be honest, the answers were pretty depressing (for someone who is considering moving to the area, and won't know many people).

I pose this question this question because I've spent most of my life in the Midwest, where I have a fairly strong circle of family and friends, and I'm starting to question how much I'm really going to miss that if I just pick up and move to the Bay Area. It's kinda frustrating, because I really think the Northern California lifestyle appeals to me almost every other way. At this time, I only have 2 cousins in the area (San Mateo & Marin) and 1 good friend, but he lives WAY up in Clearlake. My pending move to SF / OAK, while much desired, is still optional...if you see where I'm going with this.

So.....the general feel from the SJ/SV forum is that, for new arrivals, establishing new friendships of any substance can be very difficult because:

a) many folks are workaholics and only really establish meaningful connections of any kind with co-workers

b) for DINK's and especially for singles, it's tough because so many social activities for 30's and older revolves around their kids' activities, school friends, etc...

c) established locals (again, basically talking 30+ here) tend to stick to their established cliques and aren't really looking to add new friends to their circle...kinda like that Seinfeld episode where the guy approaches Jerry about joining their circle of friends and Jerry responds: "I'm sorry. I'm sure you're a very nice person, but we're just not hiring right now." LOL ...funny, but...true?

d) many locals prefers to only socialize with their college friends (esp. Stanford or Cal) or their early career buddies

e) Meet-Up groups being an idea to meet new people, but opinions are out there that these tend to be more just for organizing events and activities among those with similar interests, and not really for establishing real friendships (opposing views or experiences of Meet Up groups welcome!)

f) certain ethnic groups (i.e. East Indian, Asian) tend to really stick to their own "people" socially, outside of work

g) neighbors: you may get lucky and get some cool, friendly ones...but for the most part they tend to be aloof and not interested in establishing any more than the most cursory "friendship"


** The questions being: Do the above characterizations and challenges apply also to SF / OAK / East Bay, as they seem to for SJ/SV? Any recent transplants (maybe < 5-7 years) that can share your experiences on this matter? Any other ideas for Bay Area newbies to establish real connections / friendships, outside of work or school?

Just to be clear...I don't live in the Bay Area yet, so this is NOT a complaint thread. I'm just asking for any insights / experiences / comparisons to SJ/SV issues mentioned above, but specifically for SF / OAK / East Bay. Lastly, for the purposes of responding to this thread, please assume that the new transplant is relatively outgoing, friendly, tolerant, open-minded, not a d-bag, nature / outdoor enthusiast, and willing to try new things, be active in the community, etc...i.e. at least do their part!

Thanks!!!

Oak2Oak

That's the thing about the Bay Area though... all the points you just learned from the SJ board mainly apply to the SJ area. The Bay is basically three metros in one... SJ, SF/OAK and the north bay all offer VERY different lifestyles. Most of the points from the SJ board you cited don't really apply to SF/OAK.

What is a good idea though is to get involved in social groups (ie theater groups, book clubs, biking clubs, etc) of which there are a lot more in the east bay/SF than in SJ. As I told someone else, the Bay is what you make it... if you expect people to come to you without putting in any effort to meet people then you'll probably not like it here that much.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:41 PM
 
310 posts, read 589,194 times
Reputation: 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineties Flava View Post
That's the thing about the Bay Area though... all the points you just learned from the SJ board mainly apply to the SJ area. The Bay is basically three metros in one... SJ, SF/OAK and the north bay all offer VERY different lifestyles. Most of the points from the SJ board you cited don't really apply to SF/OAK.
Thanks Nineties...that's exactly why I created an almost duplicate thread in THIS forum about the same topic. I didn't want to just automatically assume that the social issues that transplants were experiencing in the South Bay and Silicon Valley also applied to SF / Oakland / Outer East Bay, just because they're considered to be in the same MSA.

If you're basically saying 'Yes, there IS a difference, in fact a big difference'...then I'm glad I started the thread. Other potential transplants might read the SJ forum thread on assume it applies to the whole Bay Area.

In fact, now it seems that this topic even serves to really help define the lifestyle and socio-cultural differences between the 3 areas, as you mentioned. It's interesting, and I think it's rare to have such stark differences in these areas among different parts of the same metro. I would guess the geographical seperations of the Bay Area really contribute to this...along with the tech-dominated lifestyle that one finds in SV.

If anyone can mention some specifics of the differences Nineties is referring to, this would be very helpful too!

Anyway, thanks for the shift in perspective (and reason for optimism?) ...maybe I'll pick up my Sharks jersey from the dry cleaners after all.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:03 PM
 
2,744 posts, read 5,147,751 times
Reputation: 3619
Quote:
Originally Posted by OakAve2OakLand View Post
The questions being: Do the above characterizations and challenges apply also to SF / OAK / East Bay, as they seem to for SJ/SV?
From my experience the people in the SJ/SV area are more friendly than SF. The farther you get from SF the friendlier the people seem to be. The friendliest people I have encountered in the Bay Area were on trips to Vacaville and Livermore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OakAve2OakLand View Post
Any recent transplants (maybe < 5-7 years) that can share your experiences on this matter?
After living in SF for 6 years I have zero friends here. In comparison after only a few months in the NJ/NYC area I had a few good friends and knew most of the neighbors on our street. Our next door neighbor in NJ even brought over a cooked lunch for my son on the day we moved out. In Atlanta after 6 years I had tons of friends and literally knew hundreds of people. In Orange County I had many good friends,we helped each other out a lot and I still keep in contact with some of them.

The neighbors in SF are especially unfriendly and half of them will ignore you if you say hello or wave. I was at first shocked by this behavior since everywhere else I lived the people were much more friendly. I was wondering what was going on? I found others have had similar experiences as posted here:

San Francisco City Life

"Everyone has pretty much retreated psychologically. Cold, frosty, snobbish, indifferent, insular ...... The only city in the country where a greeting is ignored, a friendly smile returned with averted eye contact, small talk impatiently met with sarcasm."

Now I would not have believed this if I had not experienced it myself on a daily basis in SF. I am looking forward to moving out of here at the first available opportunity. I do not recommend moving here unless it is a must for job purposes.

Last edited by capoeira; 07-09-2011 at 03:13 PM..
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:15 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 11,892,467 times
Reputation: 2947
a) the dirty little secret of the Bay Area is definitely that a LOT of people work insane hours, like at least 60 hours a week, so they can have the types of jobs that let them afford to live here. I think you see this more in Silicon Valley but there are a lot of people in the SF/East Bay area who do this too. So you get a lot of people who work so much that they never want to do anything and just want to go home and crawl into bed. And people who don't work insane hours often commute long distances to work so they might as well be working long hours. But I think this is becoming pretty typical in any big urban area, people commute long hours and employers would rather hire fewer people working longer hours now so they only have to pay for one set of benefits rather than two peoples' benefits. So yes people here can be stingy with their time and flakey about scheduling things, and I think that even people who don't work long hours or commute a lot start to also get infected with the same attitude as people who do, that they're "sooo busy" and act like their time is really important even though they're just going to go home and watch TV or **** around on Facebook. Again though I think you will see this in any big urban area.

b) People with kids are hard to spend time with but that is the same anywhere in the world. People in SF and the urban East Bay are a lot less likely to have kids than in Silicon Valley or somewhere like Pleasant Hill, it's just too expensive and the schools are too lousy. People also tend to wait longer to get married, so I think you'll find plenty of people in their 30's and 40's in SF and Oakland who aren't married and/or don't have kids.

c) really though I think it depends on your personality and how outgoing you are and I think that is the same anywhere. When I lived in Chicago or Orlando I didn't really have any more luck making friends or meeting people, the "I'm sooo busy" or "I'm really important and there's somewhere else I really need to be" attitude that people have these days seems like a universal American trait. I think it may be a little exacerbated in the Bay Area due to crazy commute times and people working too much, but not a lot.

d) lastly, it's a big urban area especially in SF or Oakland so people are not going to be super outgoing to strangers and might seem cold. You'll see the same thing in Chicago or Paris or London or whatever. I think people in SF especially are wary of strangers because there's so many crazy people that you never know if you say hi to a stranger you might get yelled at or assaulted. In Oakland they're pretty laid back, people will just start chatting in the checkout line or say hi to you in the morning on the street, it's kind of weird but cool. I think that people in Chicago or the East Coast can seem more gabby and gregarious but I think it's mixed with a kind of aggravating, brusque urban rudeness that you never get in SF, people here just kind of try to avoid one another. But if you can get to know people and get them to open up they are the same as anywhere else.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,093 posts, read 31,780,307 times
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Meetup works, I have made a few friends that way. People generally make friends based on common interests. (I live in Oakland) I find people to be pretty friendly. For example, some of my nieghbors made friends at the bus stop. They have a whole circle of 5 or 6 women who meet up regularly and have brunch etc. I find that South Bay/SV people generally have a closed circle of friends. East Bay people seem to have a mix of friends from college, high school, work, random activities etc. I meet new people pretty frequently. Sometimes you do need to be a bit aggressive about scheduling outings. People tend to be busy so they unintentionally forget about you...
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:40 PM
 
Location: Paso Robles, CA
63 posts, read 102,250 times
Reputation: 32
My daughter moved to the Sunset Dist, SF a few years ago for school, didn't know anyone. She knows her neighbors in her building, names and faces, that's about it in her neighborhood. But, when she got there she joined Yelp, which has a lot of events around the peninsula. She goes to those and has made some good friends. A couple fell by the wayside, but even of all the friends she made at school whom she no longer associates with, the Yelp friends are still there. It's not just the Yelp events, either, she likes to entertain, so every time we go up to visit we run into at least one of her friends, if not a whole mess of them. It's a very interesting crowd from a variety of backgrounds from all over SF/East Bay.

You can make friends there, you just need to find the right venue.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:14 AM
 
Location: OAKLAND CA
323 posts, read 643,416 times
Reputation: 194
I think that internet has turned people away from human to human contact. That said there are groups that are accessed via WWW-yelp, meet up etc that promote social interaction.
As an adult we tend to become isolated and tired. Its almost easier to watch TV or surf the net than it is to go out and extend yourself.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:51 AM
 
Location: A bit further north than before
1,603 posts, read 3,312,697 times
Reputation: 1306
I think C-D brings out the Chicken Little in people. You can safely ignore a lot of what you read here....

Here's the thing - it's hard to meet people in a big city. It's hard to make new social connections in your thirties. And it's hard to meet people when you move cross-country and have no social circle to plug into. None of that is Bay Area-specific, it'd happen whether you moved to NYC, Chicago or Ulan Bator, Outer Mongolia. Don't let that stop you from pursuing your dreams, living in different parts of the country is, IMO, the best thing you can do for personal growth and development.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:23 PM
 
77 posts, read 296,066 times
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You just have to put yourself out there. You can't just sit alone in a cafe and wait for someone to come up and talk to you. YOU have to be the one asking coworkers to hang out. Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Some relatives of mine moved to a cool apartment complex in Emeryville and have become really good friends with their neighbors. Host something kind of funny like a cook-off or a bbq. You'll have to be the outgoing one.
I disagree that Bay Area people are not friendly. Everywhere I go hiking people say "hello" when passing by. Strangers compliment you. People are typically open to answering questions if your lost.
It might be different from what you're used to in the Midwest, but it's a different culture. You'll be fine!
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