How to Make Friends in Denver When You’re 30 or Older

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One of the really challenging aspects of moving to a new town as an adult is figuring out how to make new friends. COVID has also changed where Coloradans are hanging out and meeting in some subtle ways. As someone over thirty who runs a website and podcast about Colorado and Denver, I find myself having the conversation about friendships and making connections often. There are some special nuances to attracting adult friendships and I thought I would offer some insights into how to navigate this if you’re new to Denver.

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How to Make Friends in Denver

Denver is still very much a “big little city.” While there are moments when Denver feels like a big city to those of us who grew up here (during rush hour), it still in many ways has small time vibes. This can be both a benefit and a little problematic for new arrivals looking to make new friends.

  • Coloradans are very friendly– In fact, it can be a little unnerving to folks moving from cities where randomly talking to people you don’t is a thing. Or, being smiled at for no reason other than to smile. But, Coloradans can also be a little non-committal. It may take a couple of introductions before they decide to move forward with a friendship. This can be a little frustrating to people when they experience this and I wanted to put it out there.
  • Focus on your interests-Join communities that are aligned with your personal interests. There are a ton of free incredibly active Meetup groups that you can join. These groups range from singles communities, language groups, cycling enthusiasts and more. Whatever your interest is it’s likely that there is a group out there for you.
  • Start a Meetup group-In the event that you don’t find a group that’s to your liking, create your own community. Meetup groups are incredibly inexpensive to run (around $20 a month) and you can lead with what you enjoy. Just be prepared for some of the annoyances that come with leading a community.
  • Volunteer-Recently I volunteered at a local TedX event. It was a fantastic experience and the people that I volunteered with were incredible. We’re all looking to hang out again because we had such a great time.
  • What’s your favorite fitness focused activity? Denver and the state of Colorado are filled fitness focused folks. If you enjoy:
    • Hiking
    • Biking
    • Skiing/Snowboarding
    • Camping
    • Rock Climbing
    • Running
    • Yoga
    • Have gear, like to have discussions about gear join one of those communities and not only will have you have weekly activities to participate in but you’ll meet friends pretty quickly.
  • Attend an event-There are so many cool events happening in town and it’s pretty easy to meet people at them depending on the type of event you’re attending. Denver Start Up Week stands out as a great way to grow your business connections while having a great time.
  • Work from a co-working space-People are working from home more now than ever. Co-working spaces are a great way to establish a work home base and meet people with similar interests. I use a tool called Deskpass that allows me to book my spot at co-working spaces throughout the city. It’s a great way to balance out working from home.
  • Start a Content Curation Project-Before I would have said “start a blog” but it’s almost 2022. You could start a blog, vlog, podcast or a mix of all three. It’s a great way to meet people and typically creates a very easy “in” when meeting new people.
  • Own a dog-This is for people who truly love dogs and are pet people. Denver citizens LOVE their dogs. Dogs are family members vs. pets. People love connecting while walking their pets.
  • Join a faith based community-For folks that have a faith practice, finding a faith based community is a huge deal.
  • Go on a local adventure-Explore Denver like a tourist. Basically, avoid becoming insular within your specific neighborhood. Better yet, design that adventure and take your Meetup group friends with you.
  • Join one of Denver’s many “underground communities” From roller skating, cycling in mass with Denver Cruiser Ride, dance communities, or skateboarding enthusiasts there are fun people to hang out with

Finally, be open to fostering friendships with folks who are younger and older than you. Some of my favorite people are 20 years older than me and kick my butt every time we go hiking. Making friends as an adult new to Denver can feel a little intimidating. But, if you have a plan and put yourself out there you will absolutely meet some great new friends.