All my friends have moved away so many times in this city

Our pal Honey In Yr Brain (not pictured) shares a bittersweet lament about San Francisco:

You can meet the coolest person who you love to slam 40z with AND are capable of sober real talk only to find that they are moving in a week…to New York…or abroad…or just home because they ran out of money. I realize this happens in every city but damn, I have never met so many people just to have them exit my life in like .0023232 seconds. I have heard “All of my friends have moved away so many times in this city” and “Man have you seen _____? He’s super bummed because like….90% of his friends moved away” or “I HATE THIS CITY. IT’S NOT AS GREAT AS IT USED TO BE. ALL THE COOL PEOPLE MOVED”.

It’s true. You hear it all the time. So many bomb people, and then poof they’re gone. Read on.

13 Responses to “All my friends have moved away so many times in this city”

  1. Steve-o says:

    On the flip side, there are always cool new people moving in, who in aggregate are probably about as cool as the movers-out, each a shooting star shaped like a snowflake.

    Nostalgia + Suppressed aversion to change = perception of perpetual decline

  2. david says:

    To look at why people move away, let’s first look at why people move here in the first place.

    There are a lot of people who move here from the rest of the country because they want to live in CA and SF is a major destination for that. A lot of them come here to escape their shitty hometown or shitty ex, or both. They come here and have fun but never really planned on being here long term and eventually get fed up with the cost of living and the lack of space and move away.

    There are also a lot of people who are from CA who move here after college. Living in the best metropolitan city that CA has to offer, having fun, working, making money, enjoying life. But they end up getting married and having kids and move elsewhere because of the cost of living, the lack of space, and the school system. Or if they’re not getting married and having kids, they move away because they don’t want to spend their whole lives in CA so they go on the big city express train–next stop is NY, or Chicago, or Seattle, or Portland, etc.

    And there are folks who are already on the big city express and this is just their latest destination.

    But ultimately, the reason people don’t stay is that it’s just too difficult to settle in financially, and people with kids are always going to want to live in the suburbs. And there’s also just the fact that if all your friends were to stay, you’d stay too…but if all your friends move, you want to move too. Hard to stop that trend.

    • Travis says:

      this is some goddamned insightful shit right here

    • Sweet T says:

      And part of the reason it’s so difficult to “settle in financially” is because people come here to party and goof off and extend their childhoods rather than work toward a career that might actually offer some financial comfort.

      • truth says:


        The reason is that median income of SF residents is around $90k a year. Housing prices make it really, really difficult to live in the city if you’re young and not a Googler. I came to the city, worked my ass off for four years at a real job and was well below the median when I left for grad school.

        • truth says:

          And by left I mean moved to Oakland.

        • Sweet T says:

          The median income of SF households is $81k. SF households; not residents. Which means that if you and your roommate together make around $40k, you’re at the median. Any ambitious, hip young thing out there with a four-year degree and a little ambition can find a “real job” with promotion potential that brings in at least $40k per year. Unfortunately, here’s how it typically plays out:

          We open on the El Rio patio, 4:30pm on a Tuesday.

          Hip Young Thing: Man, this freelancing gig for the Guardian doesn’t pay shit. I need to make some more money if I’m gonna’ be able to pay me rent.

          Less Hip, But Gainfully Employed Young Thing: You have a degree, right? There’s gotta’ be something else out there.

          HYT: Naw, there’s nothing in this economy.

          LH,BGEYT: Well have you looked?

          HYT: No I haven’t looked. There aren’t any jobs to look for.

          LH,BGEYT: There are literally thousands of employers in the Bay Area.

          HYT: I’m not a computer programmer or whatever. It’s all techster shit.

          LH,BGEYT: Not every job at a tech company is filled by an engineer, you know. Places like Zynga or whatever need copywriters and human resources people and all that, too.

          HYT: That’s corporate bullshit. I don’t want to work for the man.

          LH,BGEYT: Well, what about the state or the city?

          HYT: I said I don’t want to work for the man.

          LH,BGEYT: I thought corporations were ‘the man.’

          HYT: They’re all the same man, man.

          LH,BGEYT: I see. What about a non-profit?

          HYT: There’s too much competition in this city for that type of work.

          LH,BGEYT: Well have you applied to anything?

          HYT: No.

          LH,BGEYT: What did you do this morning?

          HYT: I woke up a little after noon…

          LH,BGEYT: …What time?

          HYT: Like, 1:30. And then I went and had breakfast with some friends, and bought some new sunglasses. After that, I went home and wrote on my blog for a bit, and then I met you here for a drink.

          LH,BGEYT: So, you didn’t spend any time looking for a job that will pay you enough to make your rent?

          HYT: There aren’t any fucking jobs that don’t suck. I just need to move to New York. It’s too expensive here.

          LH,BGEYT: Yeah. It definitely is.

          …AND SCENE…

  3. no.thanks. says:

    this is why i fucking drink so gotdamned much.

    the isolation!

  4. GG says:

    So based on David’s reply, which seems pretty accurate, the people moving away are those who are OK with going back to their shitty hometowns and people with kids who want to live in the suburbs because they’ve given up on life. Will we really miss them? I’m grateful every day for all the wonderful, interesting people in my life who can’t imagine living anywhere but SF.

  5. scum says:

    I was raised here and will never move.

  6. keyser says:

    I just moved here from Philadelphia, grew up and went to high school in LA.
    I just felt that Philly had jumped the shark years ago (copy cat DJ’s, no creative hip-hop scene, stagnant art scene etc)
    I fell in love with the charm, creativity and characters of SF.
    In SF I have had the most incredible 5 minute conversations with total strangers that don’t judge me, dont care what I do (jack of trades kinda) , dont care how much I make ( nothing as of now, I quit my job 3 months ago) its refreshing to say the least
    You just don’t get that in Philly
    So I drove a car full of what i could fit across the country
    I had a great life, job, family and many dear friends who I miss and my apartment was stunning (only $900 for a 1 bedroom !) and I still knew I had to leave Philly.

    My problem in SF isn’t the job market (although money is quickly dwindling) its the apartment hunt. Iv’e been looking for just a room not my own place, not a big room, not a room with a huge closet, just a room in a decent house with mature respectful somewhat clean people. Speaking of clean by the looks of the apartments in SF I have seen, I now consider myself almost a neat freak.

    Cost of living isn’t a problem for me. I have seen dozens of places just in the Mission for less than I was paying in Philly. I have focused on living in the Mission or nearby ( Potrero hill, hayes Valley, Castro)
    On craigslist I have responded to sublets, temporary and since I speak Spanish even Ads placed by Mexican families. I have a couple of friend that live here and they are keeping an ear out for me
    But after all the emails sent and creative responses and open houses……..Nothing

    When there is an open house, its a cattle call. 30 people show up and they shmooze and linger in the apartments trying to kiss up to the decision maker
    When people do reply to you on craigslist (about 10% reply rate) you get news that 2 or 3 really cool people are also in the running and so and so is a vegan or a friend so they have the inside track. You never hear back after that.
    Then there are the AD’s that sound like you are applying to the CIA, with 20 or more things that you have to adhere to (no animal products, must love dogs and cats (what about rabbits?) must work for non profit or related field, cleaning pie charts and chore wheels, meetings every other week), that makes you feel like you are jumping through hoops at a circus
    Im all for animal love, core values and organization but seriously my background check to volunteer for Big Brother was less demanding.

    I’m not stupid I get it. its supply and demand and there are a lot more people that want to live near the mission than are moving out

    But for the love of God I really dont care what you eat, what you wear (well maybe pantsuits) what your do on your own time as long as your cool and respectful and pay the damn bills
    I have met so many cool people in SF so I think it’s almost harder to find an asshole roommate than a cool one.
    But my experience with craigslist, I feel Sf has segmented itself into so many little micro groups that it gives of an air of almost elitism, which goes against everything that i think made Sf so great in the first place
    we are trying to live in these similar groups as opposed to living with unique different people which we can learn from
    Sorry for the long post but if u happen to have an crappy roommate, maybe u can kick them to the curb or LA and email me My mom thinks I’m cool. Maybe I will need a letter from her for the next apartment I inquire about.
    maybe it’s time to try something new, co-op, or maybe I should try Oakland or live on a farm with chickens, they wont care that I eat eggs. Will they????

  7. Nicky G says:

    I like it. It weeds out the weak, and the riff raff.

  8. todd says:

    i’d be your friend, but you’d probably move away.