Cold weather makes us all want to hibernate under a blanket on the couch, but we still need human connection. For those new to Pittsburgh, young adults or anyone in a more solitary career path, making and keeping adult friendships can be difficult. Especially since the pandemic, many of us no longer go to a physical place on a regular basis to make friends based on proximity.
Fortunately for friendly Pittsburghers, there are plenty of groups, activities, classes and more where you can meet like-minded individuals.
Remember where you met some of your current friends? Odds are at least one of them is from your school days. Pittsburgh organizations of all kinds offer classes for adults, from how to use a sewing machine to making bread from scratch — they could be the place you’ll meet your new best friend. Check out Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media’s courses and workshops at Contemporary Craft — or the pottery and ceramics classes at Fireborn Studios.
Looking to improve your culinary skills while meeting new people? Gaynor’s School of Cooking in the South Side offers classes for adults. Learn how to prepare a stunning charcuterie board, craft French desserts, make Cajun soul food and more. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens also offers a culinary arts program that features lessons on how to make a classic quiche, veggie korma and more.
Clubs & groups
Some of Carnegie Library’s offerings include language learning groups, game night groups and knitting clubs. Or, embrace your inner bookworm and join a book club. Different branches meet on different days, and some meet virtually. Next up are discussions of: “What the Fireflies Knew” by Kai Harris, “Dirt Creek” by Hayley Scrivenor and “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead” by Olga Tokarczuk.
If you’re more of a self-described nerd who may be interested in “speed friending,” check out Nerd Nite Pittsburgh. The group hosts events at Spirit in Lawrenceville that it describes as “a comedy show that’s a mix between stand up, TED talks and a social mixer.”
The evenings begin with an optional round of speed friending — speed dating for friends — for a group of 60-80 people at a time. If that sounds scary, ease your nerves with Nerd Nite’s FAQ section.
If you’re missing the hole in your heart left by high school or college sports, try joining a recreational sports league. Pittsburgh Sports League (PSL) has leagues for basketball, bowling, broomball, cornhole, darts, dek hockey, dodgeball, flag football, kickball, running, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. Many spring leagues begin on March 27.
Many other organizations have sports teams for adults year-round including the Jewish Community Center, Pittsburgh Curling Club, Pittsburgh Flag Football League and more. Three Rivers Rowing Association offers a Summer Rowing League and Beginning Adult Learn To Row sessions if you’re more interested in water sports. VisitPITTSBURGH‘s roundup of sports leagues in the city is an excellent place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed with choices.
One reason that making friends as an adult can be challenging is that it can be tough to know if your values will align with others right away. Find a group of like-minded people by volunteering your time at a local nonprofit organization that means something to you.
Whether you’re restocking the shelves at the Free Store Wilkinsburg, helping shoppers at the Bloomfield Saturday Market or teaching kids at Boys & Girls Clubs, you’ll meet people and make a difference in your community at the same time.
Pittsburgh Cares is a great place to begin if you are new to volunteering — the website and volunteer portal collect information from all kinds of organizations and house it all in one place.
If walking up to a complete stranger and introducing yourself sounds intimidating, why not meet them online first?
An excellent way to do this is Facebook groups or other locally-focused apps like Nextdoor. Join a Facebook group for your neighborhood and try posting about a dog walking group, book club or another type of meetup.
The Pittsburgh subreddit is also a good jumping-off point for meeting new people online, and they often host meetups IRL.