I moved to Boston about a year ago, and I still feel like I have no friends. I’ve tried all kinds of stuff–signing up for a kickball league, going out for meetup nights, etc. etc., but nobody I’ve met has become more than an occasional “let’s grab a beer” acquaintance. How can I find people I like and who like me for more than just a drink every once in a while? I’m starting to think I should just call it a wash and move somewhere I know more people.

-Sick of being solo

It’s great that you’re being proactive. That’s step one to finding your footing in a new town. But I still have a couple important questions:

1) Are you looking in the right places?

2) Are you coming on too strong?

The first question is simple: joining a kickball league is a standard “you’re a Millenial, meet new people” activity…but are those the kinds of friends you’re trying to make? If you’re looking for a group to watch a game with on Sunday, or sing karaoke with on Thursday night, you might look in a different place than if, say, you want someone you can really open up to about your issues with your parents. It sounds like you’re not particularly thrilled by making new acquaintances, even when they’re friendly enough to want to grab drinks with you on occasion…which begs the question, are the kinds of people you want to meet going to go to a “meetup night?”

If the answer is no, or if you’ve just been striking out, look for something different, and more niche (think book or writing group, crafting circle, or comic-con fans). Don’t just be out to find people, plan your attack so you can find YOUR people.

But (2) when you do, try not to give off the scent of desperation. In a lot of ways, friend-dating is harder than real-dating, since you can’t pave over differences by simply wanting to fuck. And just like real-dating, people are often put off by the new friend who’s coming on too strong. Absolutely call the person you clicked with and plan an easy, low-pressure activity you’d both enjoy…just don’t tell that person you’re “SO GLAD YOU FOUND SOMEONE SO AWESOME” and then tell her every single detail of your love life. Close friendships take time to develop–you have to be willing to have a few semi-awkward moments when conversation dies, or to go out with a group of people you don’t know in order to spend more time with the one you clicked with, to move things to the next level.

Finally, don’t knock all those occasional-beer moments. Sometimes that’s all they are–a way to spend an evening away from your TV and night pants. But one of them could slowly develop into a more solid friendship…or s/he could bring a¬†friend you totally, instantaneously click with.

At the very least, you’ll have an excuse to drink beers.