Did you ever ask yourself why there are so many meetup groups and networking events around that revolve around the most superficial, short lived “where are you from?” and “what do you do?” interactions?
Aren’t you a bit curious why so many people in SF go out on one pointless date after the other, even if they don’t have time for or even real interest in dating?
The answer is simple – there is a serious, chronic lack of meaningful, close connections in this city. Moving in and out and moving around the country / world is exciting, but there is a price to be paid. There is no community, no roots, no real attachments and no incentive to invest in relationships that are so likely to be cut short by yet another relocation. Why bother and get to know your co-worker, if either he or you will be working for the next hot start-up next month or one of you (or both) will start traveling for work? Why bother and get to know neighbors who are working toward moving to a bigger place in East Bay or Mountain View
When a person doesn’t have a number of truly meaningful connections, they are seeking a multitude of easy to make, meaningless connections – from drinking buddies, dinner buddies, activity partners, book clubs, and hiking groups to three-minute chatter at a bar. Loneliness is one big reason Facebook and Starbucks made it so big. And Uber / Lyft is the latest business which, besides being a source of casual income and convenient alternative to cabs, allows drivers to have an illusion that they have a social life by giving rides to strangers they have never seen and will never see again.
Your chances of being invited to party with a group of strangers elsewhere, especially in Europe are far, far lower. Random strangers elsewhere, and again – especially in Europe – are very unlikely to express interest in who you are, where are you from, etc… This is not because they are closed-minded or unfriendly. It’s because they have a solid group of close friends who they have known since early childhood, so they have no real incentive to put an effort into getting to know new people. They have enough friends. They don’t have the same void as so many of us do that needs to be filled with that many happy hours and other types surrogate social life.