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Making Friends in Miami

Miami presents its own special set of social challenges, there's also some unique opportunities.
April 24, 2007 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Local News  | 31 Comments

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From the Miami Relocation Guide.

The population of Miami was once described to me by a former resident as “Putting everyone you hate in one city, making it really hot, and then forcing them all to sit in traffic.” Essentially, everyone here hates everyone and the heat just makes it worse. This may be a bit of an overstatement from someone who had obviously had enough of the place, but it would still not be inaccurate to say that Dade County is not exactly known for its hospitable population. It would seem a daunting task, then, for someone new to the area to try and create some sort of social life when everyone they meet will dislike them for having a nerve to breathe their air. After all, it’s not Yourami, it’s Miami.

Meeting people is difficult for working folks no matter where you live. And while Miami definitely presents its own special set of social challenges, there are also some unique opportunities our city offers. The population here is extremely transient, which means that there are new people looking for new friends all the time. It is not some old, established city where families have known each other for generations, so your ability to create a good social life, while difficult, still depends on you.

NOT THE WORK FRIENDS YOU MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED

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If you are a typical white-collar worker, much of your social life may revolve around work. The problem, of course, comes when you can’t stand your coworkers and want nothing to do with them as soon as you pull your car out of the parking lot. Or maybe they just don’t want anything to do with you. Either way, the people you meet working in an office, or a similar-type environment, while possibly fun, will not change much from day to day. This is it may be advantageous for you to get a job bartending or waiting tables a couple nights a week.

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Yes, I know when you graduated college or got your MBA you swore you’d never do it again, but if you want to meet new people the service industry is a great place to be. The average term of employment is about three months, and your coworkers are generally very laid back and open to meeting new people. Since most of them moved here within the last calendar year anyway. And if you’ve ever worked in a bar or restaurant you know that there is nothing a server or bartender loves better than getting some drinks with their coworkers after a long shift. In addition to a steady stream of new work friends, you have new customers coming in every day. Chances are you will hate most of them like every other waiter in Miami, but sometimes if offers an excellent opportunity to make a new acquaintance.

This city’s over-abundance of service industry jobs makes it easy to find decent employment in this sector, even if you are only doing it as a social outlet and the $150 you walk with at the end of the night is used for the sole purpose of buying drinks afterwards. For tips on getting a job in this industry, check out our employment guide.

EVEN IF YOU CAN’T CATCH YOU WILL HAVE FUN

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Like many other cities, Miami offers a variety of sports leagues in which you can involve yourself to meet other people. The great thing about South Florida is that we have them all year round. So if you move here in the dead of winter you can pick right up on a softball team and have met a dozen or so new people right off the bat. The Miami Sports and Social Club offers teams in a variety of sports, from Softball to Dodgeball at all levels of competitiveness. If you are the hyper-competitive type who doesn’t like lounging around with a bunch of beer-leaguers, there is a division for you. Similarly, if you are the type who was the last one picked every time in Grade School but you still want to hang out and have fun, there are divisions that are really just more of an excuse to go to the bar afterward than play any actual “games.”

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If you don’t know anyone who is on a team, don’t worry. You can sign up as a free agent and be assigned a team who will be happy to have you. Most leagues are co-rec and are set up so that the ladies are included in every aspect of the game. The TMSSC also offers several parties, mixers, weekends and trips for its members that range from a bowling night to a camping trip in the upper keys. And, again, you can do these things all year round thanks to our fantastic weather.

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If real organized sports are still a little too competitive for you, Miami also plays host to several different divisions of the World Adult Kickball Association. Yes, that’s right, kickball. The same game you played at 9 years old on the playground is now a weekend recreational league of young (and not-so-young) professionals drinking beer and kicking around the big red ball. Leagues play on Thursday or Friday night or Sunday afternoon and usually feature a sponsoring bar that most of the league will go to afterwards. Each league also has a mid-season party which typically features free beer and pizza. I know many relationships and friendships that have started in kickball clothes (everyone gets a brightly colored T-Shirt) and if nothing less it is something mildly athletic to do with your weekends. For more information, visit http://www.kickball.com and search in the Florida Divisions. Miami’s are Grove, Coastal, and Fuego. Yes, Fuego.

Also, thanks to our unique geographic location, there area variety of recreational clubs you can join to meet people. Scuba Diving, Triathlons, Biking, Hiking, Boating and even skydiving have large clubs here that have outings and activities all year round. And while the humidity does make some of them rather difficult you never have to deal with any of those pesky rises in elevation that can hamper your stellar times.

YOU’RE NOT CLUMSY, YOU’RE “CHARMING”

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If you are not of Hispanic origin, you may be slightly intimidated at the prospect of taking a salsa dancing class. Especially if you are not of Hispanic origin and dance like it. But much like sports, there are classes for people of all ability levels and everyone there is probably equally as nervous as you are. Learning Salsa can be a great social tool for you in many ways: First, in your class you will no doubt meet a good number of people and probably get to dance with them. And even if you’re not very good, nobody is going to care. If there is one thing I have learned about Salsa instructors it’s that they appreciate anyone making the effort (and paying them to do it) to learn, and just hope that you try your best to improve.

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Second, once you actually learn how to do it, Miami has more Salsa Clubs than most countries in Latin America. So if you are comfortable with Hispanic culture, you can go out to any of these clubs and meet all sorts of people. Since salsa dancing actually takes some skill and is a little more graceful than the dry-humping done on the dance floors of most American clubs, a Salsa partner can actually gain a respect for you if you know what you are doing. Or, if you don’t. you may still seem like that charming gringo (or gringa) who at least tried. And can be taught.

KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSE AND YOUR FRIENDS CLOSER

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While it is often easy to meet people here in Miami, you must always remember that this town is American Mecca of shady and underhanded people. Many come from countries where corruption is a way of life, and those who don’t came here to escape something. So when someone seems a little TOO eager to be your friend, it is probably not because of your overwhelmingly magnetic personality. It is probably because they are trying to screw you. Either literally or figuratively.

If you come from a place where people are generally nice, you must learn to abandon your inherent trust of human beings and assume everyone is crooked until they prove otherwise. This may sound a bit jaded to some, but it is the best and only way to make sure the new people you meet here in South Florida actually are looking to be friends and not looking for creative ways to break into your house. It may be difficult, but the best advice is that if someone gives you a feeling that they are a little, off, in this town they most likely are. In addition to this large number of less-than-scrupulous individuals, you may also find a good number of people who enjoy partaking in illegal substances.

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One common media perception of Miami that actually has a glimmer of truth to it is that there are a lot of people here on drugs. This is especially true if you are making friends in the aforementioned service industry, but in this town it is not at all uncommon to be out with a group of lawyers, accountants or even doctors and have a bag of cocaine lying around. You may choose weather or not you want to be friends with such people, but eliminating recreational drug users from your list of potential friends will severely limit your opportunities. The best thing to do is try and separate the drug users from the drug addicts. For instance if someone offers you a line at their house one night when you are pre-drinking to go out, this is not necessarily a red flag. If he is offering you a line when you go into his office to ask a question about a presentation you are working on, this may be someone to avoid.

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This is not to say that everyone in Miami is an untrustworthy drug addict. It is a mere precaution to those of you who may not be quite so familiar with the permissive and underhanded lifestyle that is South Florida. There are good people everywhere, and the trick in Miami is to figure out who they are and make sure you keep them around. Whether you like to meet people playing sports, working, dancing, drinking or any other activity you enjoy, you should not let our reputation for surly residents scare you. Every city is what you make of it, and in Miami if you can find people with similar interests chances are you will discover we are not all as bad as we are made out to be.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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31 Comments on

"Making Friends in Miami"

Miami Fl Realtor says:

“Essentially, everyone here hates everyone and the heat just makes it worse.”

I completely disagree with this - I guess you haven’t been to New York! lol

But seriously, I find people in Miami to be very friendly for the most part - especially considering we live in such a huge metropolis. Granted, it’s not like Super-Ultra Friendly Minnesota but I find the people here very warm.

Salsa classes are a great way to meet people, I agree. Meeting someone that shares your interests is great - not only do you have instant conversation material ready for you but you have a ready made reason to get together again!

Posted on 04/24/2007 at 4:45 PM

Doug says:

Some cool suggestions—thanks, Matt! On the subject of living in an unfriendly city, having experienced life in both the smiley, how-do-you-do places as well as the don’t-look-at-me ones, I’d have to reluctantly say I’m a little more at home in the less “friendly” locales.  People in outgoing areas want to know what kind of day you’re having, but they’re a lot more concerned about who you’re doing it with, what farm animals it might involve, and how it will affect the community.  Community-focused towns often obsess over who’s “local”, mistrusting anyone unfamiliar whose ways might differ from their own.  In places where aggression is unacceptable, passive-aggression becomes a popular pasttime.  Moreover, in a place where you’re expected to say hi to everyone you pass, the ones who do snub you there are all the more offensive, while being in a place where everyone snubs you equally creates less tension (e.g, “do I say hi or ignore this person?), and leaves you with a feeling of much-needed space.

Posted on 06/30/2007 at 1:31 AM

shsh says:

this is the first time for me in miami i search for lady with me out and may be in thanks

Posted on 12/07/2007 at 2:04 AM

Rebecca of SunnyBrook Farm says:

Reading your comments about a line of coke with a drink prior to going out for the evening, compared with a line of coke before a work presentation; seems to me to be your encouraging or validating illegal drug use.
. To do so -to encourage, is a crime in Florida, and in the United Kingdom.
. In fact it is better to shun all people associated with drug taking; to not do what you say to do.
.

Cheers.
from,
del-boy.

Posted on 05/25/2008 at 5:02 AM

alaska says:

I am a very sociable person and i have no difficulty in making friends. If i manage to stumble upon interesting people, they are about to become the victims of my friendship.

Posted on 05/25/2008 at 6:27 PM

kristof van der borght says:

Hello ,

I would love to meet some nice people in Miami to go out with or have a drink or something when im there in August for my vacation smile

Kristof from Europe

Posted on 06/24/2008 at 8:25 AM

Alister says:

Some of the stuff you say in this guide is dead on. As a Miami native I think you really understand the way this chaos works. Some of the stuff you said was total bullshit, like about the DUI’s and the shady people. Just because you’re hispanic doesn’t mean you’re trying to fuck someone over. And cops give plenty of DUI’s in Miami. I hope someone reading this doesn’t think it’s ok to drink and drive and end up either dead or arrested because they thought it was ok in Miami. To be honest, you can never be a true Miamian until you embrace hispanic culture.  You seem to really love Miami but I think you have failed to make lasting connections here because you actually don’t care for hispanics which is probably 99% of the people you come in contact with.

So in true Miami style:

“callate la boca gringo mierda!”

Posted on 08/06/2008 at 7:35 AM

angeli says:

I would like to meet friends in miami beach. I will be there tomorrow saturday August 23, 2008.  please send me your photo and phone so I can call you as soon as I get there.

Thank you, Angeli

Posted on 08/22/2008 at 8:35 PM

michelle says:

hi friend my name is michelle wharton i live in Guyana and i looking for a job in miami florida as a house keper or a cook,

Posted on 09/11/2008 at 8:44 PM

Kevin says:

A lot of this seems REALLY exagerrated. The shadiness is a vast exagerration as is the rudeness. People in Miami aren’t any more rude than people in any other major city in the U.S. It’s a melting pot of cultures so, things can be frustrating sometimes, but they aren’t rude.

Posted on 12/08/2008 at 1:54 PM

michelle says:

Hi this is michelle from Guyans. i looking for friends

Posted on 12/08/2008 at 8:55 PM

David Garcia says:

Hi,

This is David from Barcelona, I´m thinking about moving to Miami for a job, I´d like to know a little bit about miami: the best area to life 4 a single, the cost of the live..etc!!
Thanks a lot 4 your comments!!

Posted on 01/10/2009 at 1:45 PM

Gus says:

Hi David, I suggest visiting our forum:

http://forums.miamibeach411.com

Many of your questions have been answered in detail.

Also, don’t forget we have a search box on the bottom of the page. Try searching for [moving to miami] and [cost of living].

Posted on 01/10/2009 at 2:10 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

We also have a guide as part of the relocation guide for the young and single people thinking about moving….

http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/index.php?/news/comments/miami-living/

Posted on 01/10/2009 at 7:06 PM

Mikko says:

Hi all,

I’m looking for to contact interesting people who live at Miami area. The main reason why i seek these connections is that i’m really interested about Miami and planning to visit this beautiful city. To make any Miami people to contact me i can tell you that i live in Finland, which is pretty far away from Miami, i’m 28yrs old and i’m male.

So hoping for your replays to my e-mail and if anyone knows better place to contact people, please post it to me.

With BR

Mikko

Posted on 03/17/2009 at 5:03 AM

elham says:

hi everybody
my name is elham. i’m Asian,32 single and female.i have plan to come and live in miami. i would like to find some friends from miami. both hispanic or others.
plz email me: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
i’m looking for your reply.
thx alot.
elham

Posted on 04/10/2009 at 11:44 AM

Fikru says:

Hi every body this is Fikru from Ethiopia I have plan to study my masters degree in florida international university after 4-6 months so i want to meet some one as a friend who can familarize me with the life life out there i prefer a female friend

Posted on 08/02/2009 at 6:53 AM

Gus says:

Hi Fikru,

The best way to meet people before you arrive is in our Forum:

http://forums.miamibeach411.com

Sign up and say hello!

Posted on 08/03/2009 at 5:32 AM

Liam Crotty says:

Matt—I’m fairly new to Miami Beach 411 but I’ve been reading many of your articles and I want to thank you for your candidness and humor.  You’ve got a unique combination of “telling-it-like-it-is” and doing it with some spicy humor.  Very informative.  Liam

Posted on 03/25/2010 at 10:53 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Thanks, Liam. Always appreciated.

Posted on 03/28/2010 at 4:02 PM

JOSE GOMEZ says:

Dear All, my name is Jose, I’m from Spain and just moved to Miami. I’d like to have some tips on how to meet people here in Miami since I’m a freelancer and don’t have many possibilities to meet friends at work.

Thanks for the advise, take care.Jose

Posted on 03/31/2010 at 11:20 PM

Lora says:

Matt, I love the way you write about Miami. It’s so straight, honest, funny and yet in a strangely loving way. My husband and I are considering a second home in the area and your articles are extremely useful. Thank you!

Posted on 07/25/2010 at 9:44 PM

britney says:

hi i will be miami march 5 for crusie,i like meet new friend from there who interesting let me know.Thanks

Posted on 01/06/2011 at 4:37 PM

suuny says:

i wanna good girl for friend ship contact me on my id

Posted on 02/25/2011 at 4:45 AM

Pierre says:

Hi everybody, we are 3 black guys coming from Paris in France to visit Miami and participate to the best of the best concert end of May.
This is the first time for us in this city and we would to meet people to go out and have some fun during the week may27 to june3.
Obviously we would prefer to meet some girls but it doesn’t matter.
We hope we gonna enjoy our trip thanks to you.
My address mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted on 03/02/2011 at 6:16 AM

ABOAGYE DAVID says:

HI EVERY ONE, MY NAME IS DAVID ABOAGYE FROM GHANA IN AFRICA.I AM COOL AND GENTLE GUY.I WISH TO MAKE CLOSE FRIEND IN MIAMI BECAUSE MIAMI IS A NICE PLACE I HAVE HEARD OFF.I WILL LIKE TO MEET SOMEONE VERY FRIENDLY, CARING AND HAVE RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER. A FRIEND WE CAN SHARE CULTURE, LETTERS AND MANY MORE.   

SO INTERESTED PERSON CAN CONTACT ME ON MY EMAIL(.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) OR (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

GOOD BYEEEEEEEEE AND I HOPE TO HERE FROM YOU SOON.

Posted on 03/25/2011 at 9:37 AM

Pat says:

I read some of these posts when I moved to Miami earlier this year and frankly made me a bit concerned about my decision. Thank goodness my experiences have been opposite to the general feel this blog portrays. It is true that Miami has a very large Hispanic population. All you have to do is read the census. If you are not open to other cultures, specially Hispanic and Haitian, then perhaps all the stereotypes that this blog provides may become accurate for you. To me it seems the author of this blog simply tolerates the people of Miami and not necessarily embraces them. The people I have encoutered in Miami have been friendly, warm, and genuine. While this is not the case 100% of the time, I don’t know of any place that can offer that and I have lived in a few cities and visited more places than I care to count.

We have to take ownership for making the best out of any situation. When we begin to feel so negative about other people and bringing up race too frequently as a possible culprit, then it’s time to take a deeper look at ourselves. Miami is lively, exciting, fun, and it is the people that make it, not structures. While some of the information here is helpful, I hope people looking for guidance about moving to Miami are not discouraged or become too guarded with the people of this great city. Based on this website, that would be especially the case with Hispanics.

Posted on 04/16/2011 at 12:08 AM

Dasha says:

Hello. My name is Dasha I am from Russia. Im 16. And now i in Miami and will be here from 4 june to 26 august. I really want to meet with somebody and find friends here. If you want to meet with me write me pls.

Posted on 06/16/2011 at 6:34 PM

Robert says:

I just moved to Miami a month ago—- this article is DEAD ONE and totally correct.
I hate this place… and I am out of here as soon as my employer send me back.

Posted on 08/08/2012 at 10:22 AM

Alejandro says:

Hii my name’s alex!! I just moved to miami from Italy and I really want to meet people,make some friends,I found it really hard,cause I’m not going to the university yet. I’m bored,so can u help me! I’m alone! And i really need to have fun! xD Thank youu!

Posted on 09/24/2012 at 8:49 PM

Roxanne says:

I moved to South Florida about a year ago and now I work in downtown Miami.  Let me just say your posts are 100% RIGHT ON! There are a lot of shady people in Miami and in SoFlo in general. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that until I have been taken advantage of a couple times.  I have traveled to different countries and other parts of the US but Miami… is my least favorite place.

In Miami, no one knows how to drive, they have big cockroaches, wages are low, cost of living is high….just overall not a very nice place to live. Stay away.

Posted on 09/14/2016 at 9:03 PM

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