Breaking the Bay: 3 tips for San Francisco Newbies

Group of Friends Having Fun | Karina Louise Photography

If you have spent any time at all in the City you can tell it’s changing. Whether you have been here for a month or a year, its obvious that people seem to be arriving in droves. As of April of 2014, San Francisco’s unemployment rate was reported to be 4.4% as a result of an obvious tech boom and a not so obvious manufacturing boom. The cost of living is making a good job really important to survive. Set aside space constraints and gentrification debates and what does that give us? People moving here to work and then working so hard that there is no time to become part of a community. People are so busy making a living they forget to make a life.

So, you’ve just been hired for a job at Google or Facebook or Apple and it’s really exciting. Congrats! You’re in an amazing city with a great job, and now you’re wondering. How do I meet people? Who am I going to explore this city with? As a social media photographer I get this question from my clients all the time. So I decided to put together some tips to help navigate these new social waters.

A Family of Transplants

It’s so rare that I meet someone in San Francisco who is actually FROM San Francisco. Everyone seems to have moved here from somewhere else and is really happy to be here. As the economy continues to boom it feels like there are more and more transplants everyday. This is OK but only if you embrace it and realize that part of the fun of the Bay is the diversity that it provides. You bring something unique to the area and the area has something, or many things, to offer you that you have probably never experienced. So branch out. Go to a cultural exhibit or a restaurant serving some kind of food you have never tried. Enroll in a strange class or sign up for a seminar about something you know nothing about. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a wonderful way to make new friends.

Lookout at Ocean Beach | Karina Louise Photography

Online Dating Isn’t About Love

As an online dating photographer I meet tons of people who are new to the city. I’m realizing that for people in their 20s and 30s online dating isn’t just about finding love. It’s also about making friends along the way. It seems that although people are friendly here, we rarely meet new friends on the street or at a café (like you might in NYC or Europe). Everyone is working to keep up with SF cost of living- busy, and on their phones. The way to meet and actually make plans with someone is online. There are tons of interesting and fun folks in the Bay Area and they’re all online. Whether it be OkCupid, Match, Tinder or Meetup. Get out there, and take the pressure off. If you know right away it isn’t your soulmate, don’t bolt for the door; perhaps he or she will be your next wingman.

Find Some “Oldtimers”

In an ever-changing metropolis like ours it’s sometimes rare to find people who have been here for a while. But they exist and they often offer a wealth of knowledge and perspectives on what the Bay Area has to offer. Once you arrive, try to find out what locals actually enjoy doing- not the flashy things that catch the eyes of tourists. By doing this, you may find that you fall into a cool group of folks who have lived here for years. And, if you are so lucky to have lived here for a while and have a great group of friends, do a good deed and reach out to someone by inviting them to the next fun event. We all know what it feels like to be new in town!