A work friend from our San Francisco office is in town for the next three weeks to train one of our new technical support engineers based out here, so we decided to plan for dinner together tonight to catch up. She was born in Korea, raised in Queens, and then eventually moved to San Francisco, where she’s lived on and off the last 10 years. She went to culinary school, was a line cook, decided she didn’t want that life anymore, went to dev boot camp, and has since been a lead technical support engineer in our SF office after being “discovered” while working as a Lyft driver in San Francisco by our head of solutions architects. She said that San Francisco softened her, and if she came back to New York, she’d probably get too hard and angry all the time. She said she could see elements of the SF and New York personality in me. We basically switched places. I love her edginess, her bluntness, how she really breaks all the stereotypes when it comes to being an Asian woman. She is opinionated, feeling, empathetic. But she knows she needs to be heard and says difficult things when they need to be said. She really DGAF. I need more friends like her.
While having dinner with her tonight, I realized even more how frustrating it is to make friends in a city as big and crowded as New York. Really, the only quality time you get to know people when you work full time is at work. But you don’t really want to just be friends or get too close to your work friends. I somehow have work friends I spend time with when one of us is in the other’s respective towns here or in San Francisco. Then, I thought about our couple friend who moved from here to Sacramento earlier this year, and while they are closer to their family, they said they haven’t made any friends in the area. Either way, whether you’re in a big city like New York or a smaller, small-town-minded city like Sacramento, it’s always going to be challenging to make friends once you are out of school. Plus, at our age, people are juggling with different life stages and choices, so that makes it even harder. But that makes me appreciate these times more when I can find commonality and have fun with visiting work colleagues. There is some distance there, but we can still find areas to bond over.