How To Make Friends In The Bay Area, How To Meet New People In San Jose; Is Hard Making Friends In The San Francisco Bay Area?


Spend enough time in San Francisco and you will hear enough complaints how things have changed for the worst over the years and how hard it is to date and make friends.

I wrote extensively about the dating scene in San Francisco in a previous post. It’s brutal, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you have to struggle. There are plenty of great groups, volunteer opportunities, classes, team, events, social functions, trivia nights and more to meet people from all walks of life.

With that said, it’s going to take some time, effort and focus to find such opportunities, get you off your keyboard and go out and try these things yourself. Additionally, appearance matters, first impressions can make or break you. Approachability is needed as to be able to introduce yourself to others.

Related read: moving to San Francisco tips, guide

That means paying attention to what your grooming habits, haircuts, outfits, posture, facial expressions, and communication skills signal to others. In my coaching sessions, I help people adjust to life in SF by helping them expand hobbies and interests, help them find communities that fit their lifestyle and be more efficient with meeting people and making friends.

Below are some exhaustive examples of where and how to meet people all over the city. Be sure to check out my weekly email newsletter below of fun, unique, quirky events in/around SF (food, drink, pop-ups, classes, music, art, crafts, festivals and more).

Related read: Where To Meet VC’s, Founders & Entrepreneurs


Places To Meet People In San Francisco, Ways To Meet People In The Bay Area, How To Make Friends In SF

For those seeking help with their dating woes, check out my services here. Services span on where to live, places to meet singles, grooming, styling, lifestyle choices, hobbies, interests, conversation skills, help with dating apps, photos, identifying blind spots. Specialty working with introverted men, engineers, successful women, gay men and those seeking relationships.

If you are new in town or looking for fun events around the Bay Area, check out my weekly curated list here covering food, drinks, pop-ups, shows, volunteer efforts, cultural events, music, art & more.

Related read: Best Dating Apps in San Francisco


San Francisco, Transamerica Pyramid, Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower

Is It Easy To Meet People In San Francisco? Is It Hard To Make Friends In SF? 

Before learning to date successfully, you must prepare yourself physically, mentally, and socially so that you are confident, have a good social circle, have things to talk about, and know where to go on dates.

To do that, it helps to know where to go, how to meet people, where to get recommendations, and how to be comfortable in your own skin. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

If you meet someone who seems great on paper, but you have nothing to talk about, struggle with appearance and wardrobe, don’t know where to go on a date, you’ll likely struggle with dating here in San Francisco and beyond.

Many people have enough friends in town that they don’t actively seek others unless it happens organically i.e. mutual interest, friend etc.

Meeting people is not just know what to say or how to say it but also reading people, understanding environments, having things to reference, being able to pivot conversations effortlessly and connecting with others.

Even if you are an introvert, you still need to be able to express interests, enthusiasm, opinions, observations, and curiosity to have a chance to progress superficial chats into more thoughtful conversations.

Related read: Social Activities/Events To Meet People

Surround Yourself Around The Right People, How To Make Friends In The Bay Area

People want to surround themselves with others that can make them laugh or smile, teach them something new, or introduce them to others. Being just nice is not enough except for maybe niceguys on Reddit.

Developing skills, curiosities, hobbies, interests and passions is the best way to draw people to you. Think of how you spend your life.

Are video games, books, smarts, and achievements going to attract people? Not necessarily, but if you can convey passion, mastery, approachability or domain expertise, then you have a chance.

Knowing how to use a food ordering app, how to look up things on Yelp, and wandering aimlessly down the street are not personality skills. Being on the quest for the best street art in SF, knowing where to go for the best live music in San Francisco or knowing where all the best POPOS are in SF are much better things to acquire that can spark interest in others.

Practicality, accessibility and familiarity are key components of figuring out what people are interested in and how easy it is to share this commonality.

Related readDating In Silicon Valley | Seattle | Austin  | Los Angeles  | NYC


Practice Makes Perfect: Patience, Discipline & Trial and Error; How To Meet New People In SF

Once you have a list or starting point to explore things around you, it will take patience, perseverance, thick skin, and luck to go through things one by one and by trial and error, become and expert in your domain.

Part of the process is having bad experiences you can laugh at later, reflect upon and possibly use in witty banter. Too many people often dismiss something after one attempt. You have to give things and honest effort, get recommendations and be willing to try different approaches.

Take me for example, I took salsa lessons for years all over the Bay Area and sucked at it despite many years of lessons, failures, inability to follow directions and teachers that were too stiff and narcissistic. It wasn’t until I found a few instructors I liked and stuck with them that I eventually learned the basics enough to go out dancing socially.

After that, it took lots of trial and error to discover the best clubs to go dancing and eventually find the bands that I enjoyed and loved.

I could have given up after a few lessons or failed to master basic rhythm techniques, but I had no shame and didn’t care what others thought. (I eventually got better and taught lessons myself in SF back in 2009).

I don’t aim to be the best at everything or everything but enough to become a subject expert to find people with similar interests and passions.

I may know absolutely nothing about you or see eye to eye on politics, religion, economics, social justice etc. but I can be certain I can bond with you over beer, Cuban salsa music, the best cocktails in SF, the best views in the Bay Area, best camping sites in Northern California, restaurants, Bay Area Rap History, local, domestic and international travel, SF vs. LA vs. NYC topics, dating apps, sports, data science, hiking or several dozen other topics because I know them well enough and confident in my ability to seek out your expertise, compare notes or have healthy arguments.

Harder to do this if you don’t bring anything to the table – good conversations require back and forth as well as equal contributions, effort, energy and passion. 

Related read: Meeting Singles In San Francisco


Singles Events In San Francisco, Meet Singles Bay Area, Social Events, Clubs For Single People


What Inspires You, Interests You: Passions, Beliefs – How To Make Friends In San Francisco

This is often the first thing I ask of all clients to see what sparks their interests. Knowing what piques your interests, what perks up your ears, what you geek out on, and what makes you curious are great ways to build a list from which you can expand on.

Individual hobbies and interests are great but it is social activities, group functions, multi-player experiences, and communal environments that connect people.

Not everyone is a social butterfly, but you do need to step outside your comfort zone. Taking new routes, getting off your phone, asking for opinions, talking to elderly, baristas, drivers etc. is a great way to obtain recommendations and build familiarity.

Don’t know what you like, then trial and error your way until you have some things to investigate.

The other approach is to learn what does the area you live around you offer. I lived in LA and NYC and I gave up on beaches, rooftop bars, late-night dining and Korean food because those places have all that – San Francisco doesn’t.

What San Francisco does offer is hiking, street art, restaurants, cocktails, beer, art, live music, coffee, scenic views, daytrips, outdoor fitness and so much more. Start with what your area offers and research the best of each niche item.

Everything is subjective, so it pays to be specific. Take cocktails for example, some people value quantity, price, ingredients, views, ambiance, crowds or even specific drinks. Unless you get specific, you will never reach a consensus on the best of X.

No one place can meet the expectations across all these factors so finding out what is important for you and what you want to prioritize will help in figuring out what are the best places for you to explore.

Related read: Meet People Effortlessly (In Marin/SF)


Things I Look Out For When Recommending Places – Where Do Singles Meet in San Francisco

The places listed below offer a unique experience to San Francisco. It’s easier to bond and connect over specific, unique places and experiences than something generic. If something is unique or limited in offerings, it is usually more treasured (look up the scarcity effect).

The other thing to consider is the concept of individual vs group activities and hobbies. A hobby or interest is hard to bond over if it is typically done in homes or individually. You need a good balance of hobbies to be readily able to join others and invite others to join you.


How To Look Approachable, Dress For The People You Want To Attract In Life;

The next item to consider when getting ready to put yourself out there in the real world is to look approachable. This means everything from wardrobe, eye contact, body posture, facial expressions, positioning and energy.

Low-effort, low-energy people are generally not as interesting to talk to and engage with. You don’t have to be an extrovert to succeed in this detail but you do need to show enthusiasm, passion on things you geek out on. This will take time and patience, as different people will respond differently to you.

Context also matters. It’s hard to bond over swing-dancing at a cafe but if you attend the weekly social gathering in Golden Gate Park you have more chance of succeeding.

Some things you can do to become more approachable is to smile, look energized (work on your metabolism, watch what you eat, exercise more often), wear clothing that people can identify with (local sports team, college alma mater hat, local brewery shirt, a souvenir from traveling, a t-shirt from your favorite podcast, stickers on your laptop, book, your portable coffee tumbler or water bottle).


How Do I Socialize In San Francisco? Conversation Starters, Accessories & More

Every item conveys some aspect of your life, your experiences, your travel, your hobbies or your background. Wearing things that are cliche or too local and common like Allbirds shoes, Twitter backpack, Uber fleece, or VC vest is nothing to be proud of – no one cares about these things unless you are looking to network for jobs. These don’t make you unique.

Having a sense of style is one way to make up for your lack of energy, trouble making eye contact or trouble starting a conversation. Dressing with purpose goes a long way in SF where so many people have given up and dressed up in the same clothes for walking the dog, going to work, and going to dinner.

Inject some color and patterns in your wardrobe. Make sure your clothing matches your age and ideal maturity, not just what is the most comfortable. No one has ever said nice Birkenstocks or nice generic company t-shirt to anyone, ever.

People will recognize shoes, bags, blazers, shirts, hats, dresses, watches, suits etc. This doesn’t mean you have to dress totally stiff but you can mix and match accessories with more casual attire.

You also don’t have to spend a fortune to accomplish these looks but you do need to get help to pick items based on your lifestyle, who you want to attract, your age, skin tone, hairstyle, physique etc.

Related readDating In Silicon Valley | Seattle | Austin  | Los Angeles  | NYC


Bumble BFF San Francisco, App To Make Friends In San Francisco

Mostly couples seeking unicorns, gay guys looking to hit on straight guys, crypto scammers or straight guys looking to date women. Read more on my review for Bumble BFF here.

Image Consultant: Wardrobe, Social Skills & Lifestyle

Eddie is an image consultant in San Francisco with clients in NYC, LA, and beyond. He assists clients w/ fashion sense, social skills, hobbies & interests, etiquette, being more approachable around others & making friends.

Ways To Meet People In San Francisco, Make Friends In The Bay Area

1) Express Interest, Enthusiasm & Appreciation

Not everyone is a mind-reader. You must make something known verbally, sometimes to be heard or recognized. Even if you are by yourself, this is quite easy to do. If you are at a bar, compliment the bartender, ask about the ingredients (but only if they are not super busy).

If you are with a friend, mention how much you enjoy your dish or comment on other people’s dishes (ask about their order, what they think or how good something looks). If all else fails, take an improv class.

2) Take Different Routes, Explore New Neighborhoods

You need to have things to talk about when you meet others or else you will just stand there awkwardly silent.

Take the time to explore one neighborhood in detail. Check out a few businesses, look for interesting streets, find some art or interesting homes, and wander aimlessly.

Some of my favorite neighborhoods are Bernal Height, North Beach, Inner Richmond, Outer Sunset, Hayes Valley, NOPA, Cole Valley, Mission, Dogpatch and Nob Hill. Become a regular.


3) Stay Current, Connected With Local Happenings, Events & News

Stay up to date on local news and events around you. Subscribe to email lists, get memberships to museums, gloss over newsletters like this one!

Many venues offer unique, one-off experiences for classes or member events. Check out after hours at museums and openings at art galleries.


4) Join Your Local Alumni Chapter

See if your school has a local alumni chapter in the area. These groups are great for happy hours, game watches, volunteer events, outings and more.


5) Balance Trying New Experiences & Becoming A Regular

Go to festivals, picnics at parks, check out live music in the parks, explore neighborhood street fairs, ask someone for the wifi password, ask someone to take a photo of you while out at a scenic overview (or vice-versa), ask for recommendations on what to order, ask if a seat is taken, ask someone to watch your seat.

Find ways to organically increase conversation and engagement with others. If you are a single parent, join a local group in the neighborhood. 

Similarly, become a regular so people recognize and might be more confident in talking to you. There are ways to make yourself more approachable and I highlight those ways in my image consulting services.


6) Get A Pet

Not a cat but rather a dog and hang out in dog parks. But don’t get a pet for the sake of meeting people – be prepared to be a responsible owner. Don’t be one of those jackass wfh folks who returned pets after they had to go back to the office or underestimated what it took to get a pet. Also, don’t get breeder/IG dogs – get a rescue.


7) Learn To Cook Or At Least Shop Well

If you attend a potluck or party, bring something to share and make sure its good. It will show you have good taste or cooking skills.


8) Work In Public, Outdoors, Parks and Cafes

Find a cafe, park or public space to work from occasionally. The more time you spend outside your home the more likely you are to meet others.

I take this to the extreme as I do most of my work away from home or an office and have managed to curate the most exhaustive list of co-working spaces in San Francisco, Marin, Berkeley and Oakland.


9) Never Turn Down An Invite

It’s too easy to be non-committal or unsure if you are available – this is total BS. Try something new, meet friends of friends, go to places where you don’t know anyone. You might discover a new venue, hobby, friend or miserable experience that you can laugh at later.


10) Build The Courage To Do Things On Your Own

Years ago, I bought a one-way ticket to your Europe and ended up meeting lots of amazing people and getting invited to dinners, drinks dancing and events just by positioning myself, asking questions (take a photo of me, asking for directions), wearing the right clothing, sitting at busy locations etc.

I am not an extrovert by any means but I do put myself out there in small groups, and selective environments and have lots to talk about. None of this would have been possible had I waited for others to make a move. Sometimes you have to fight that urge to stay home, try something new.


11) Quit Your Job

If your job requires a long commute or long hours, consider quitting your job that provides something more fulfilling and better work-life balance. What good is a high-paying job if you can’t enjoy your life or your neighborhood.

Tech life cut people off from many social interactions with their communities (catered lunches, on-site gyms, happy hours, private bus commutes etc.). Re-integrate yourself with people and neighbors around you. Similarly, working for specific companies can be a turn off for people (friends, romantic interests).


12) Move To A Building With Lots Of Communal Spaces, Private Events For Residents

Many newer buildings in SOMA have private yoga classes, community BBQ pits, rooftops with pools or sunbathing, workspaces so you can meet others.


13) Get Roommates

It might be tough to date with roommates, but if you want to take baby steps, this is a great way to meet people, assuming you have good judgment. Use the extra money you will save (vs living alone) to do more activities.



Best Hobbies To Meet Singles, Best Activities To Meet Men, Women

Rock-climbing and tennis. After that, art galleries, ceramics classes, cooking events, working from cafes.


Where Do Single Live In The Bay Area? Where To Meet Women In SF

Not Marin County, not Palo Alto, not Mountain View, not Fremont, not Walnut Creek, not San Jose. Try Oakland and San Francisco.



How To Meet Men In San Francisco? How To Meet Single Men, Women In The Bay Area

Contact me for a consultation. I will curate places, events, locations, bars, volunteer opportunities and more based around interests, location and availability. Check out some tips in the meantime here for weekly events, pop-ups, classes and more. You can hire me directly for offline coaching to meet men and women organically as well.

The more you invest in exploring the surrounding things, the more likely you are to run into others with similar interests and in turn, learn to exchange ideas, hobbies and interests so you can build your lists.

These things take time – it doesn’t happen overnight. You also have to be engaged in the things you take on and cannot take them on with a superficial interest otherwise people will see right through you.

If you go to a new place, there is no guarantee you will meet people or that the place, night will not suck. That is life. There is no guarantees in life.

Knowing how to screen/read people is an invaluable skill most people do not have whether it’s judging character or assessing something more from a dating perspective.

I offer coaching services for those new to the city. Some examples of offerings include personalized tours, styling consultations, custom guides for your lifestyle as well as access to my personalized list of events, bands, recurring events and more. Contact me today for your consultation.

Related read: Where To Meet Single Men/Women In SF

How To Make Friends In Marin County, Where To Meet People In Marin County 

Dating Coach Services

Photos, Profile Reviews, Image Consulting, Date Ideas, Meeting Singles Offline, Social Skills, Screening Profiles, Reading People & More. Clients: Women, Men, Gay & Straight Individuals Seeking Relationships

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a dating coach for men & women in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, & beyond ), as seen in the NYT & Bumble). He helps w/ profiles, photos, wardrobe, messaging, date ideas, red flags, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, social skills & offline efforts.