Unhappy in San Francisco—any advice?

I have been living in San Francisco for the past 6 months, and I can't say I am very happy. I feel like I'm paying an arm and a leg to live in a city with few redeeming qualities:

  • Very high cost of living
  • Sh*t on the streets: sometimes human, sometimes dog
  • Homeless people: no neighborhood is immune 
  • Rampant crime: self explanatory
  • Tech dominated culture (even more than I expected): i.e., you go to a bar and all you see are happy hours, teaming bonding events, tech bros huddled up in their respective company groups... 
  • Few women, even fewer attractive ones: it's not uncommon for my gym to be 90%+ men

I feel like I'm living in the matrix. Maybe SF is not fully at fault and I bare some responsibility, but I think it comes down to this: I don't feel like I'm living the best version of myself, and I don't feel like I'm able to grow as a person in this city. Does anyone have any advice?

I'm at a MBB consulting firm, so while I'm trying to go into PE, it's probably another 1-2 years away and the type of MM shops I'll realistically be competitive for may not be located in NYC or similar. Not sure what options I have / what other exit opportunities are available 

Comments (23)

Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Move to NYC.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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rrsmith, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Very helpful

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Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Very helpful


"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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InvestmentSpanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There are for sure shitty things about SF. But you can make it work. I've found that more so than anything else, the people you spend time with make or break a city.

I know people who lived in SF post-covid. And despite the crime + all the other issues you mentioned, they loved it. Mainly because they had a good group of friends.

Try getting more involved in the city and you'll like it more. I do running club, volleyball, pickleball, trivia nights, group tennis lessons, open water swims, etc and I've met so many people through these things. Having a bigger circle of friends does a lot for your well being and also makes it way easier to meet girls

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rrsmith, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's helpful. Thank you for your advice

Out of curiosity, do you live in San Francisco? 

InvestmentSpanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nah, different California city so I know plenty of former SF people 

Most Helpful
goliath2235, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Liberals destroyed SF. Move out while you can

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d4c, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm getting spammed on Twitter by SF boomers proclaiming "SF is back" citing a lame gen AI conference where interactions with 90% of them would make me want to die and the ratio is more illegal than a combinatorics math camp. Unfortunately these are the same boomers that enforce SF on a generation of younger people that obviously want to leave

In any case, sorry to hear that. I was in a similar spot. If you look at my history I was seriously considering getting a place in LA and commuting back and forth.

To help:

1. You need a car - SF sucks. The rest of the Bay is quite nice but you need a car to access. 

2. You have to lean into the nature part of things as that it is the most unique redeeming quality of the area. Or sports like pickleball or picnics or hiking / biking etc.

3. Try to make more friends who you click with. This is cliche and I'm sure you have tried but SF is really hard esp. meeting people who are not a part of the tech cult. Try to find hobby groups or finance circles.

4. If you can swing it I wouldn't LIVE in SF proper. Maybe some of the surrounding areas as you get way more space. Also I feel like people in SF proper tend to be the worst but that's my own opinion. I have liked the friends I made in Bay Area cities more than the SF diehards. Alternatively live in somewhere like Marina where you are much more insulated from the most terrible parts of SF.

5. Travel often. On the weekends go to LA, LV, Portland, Carmel, Napa, Tahoe, etc., tons of places to help reset yourself and not feel stuck in SF.

Good luck man. It was a grueling set of years and I hated it but I also realized I didn't try as hard as I should and honestly during the tail end it got way better since I had a solid group of friends and had gradually developed a set of activities and hobbies I liked that SF catered towards.

plskystks, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I strongly disagree with some of the points made above by d4c. The Bay Area is a steaming pile of dog shit outside of SF, you get the worst of burbs and city living if you go anywhere in south bay, oakland is pretty unsafe and not worth the $$$, Berkeley is cool for eating but other than that wtf?

I enjoy living in SF, but unless you value being outdoors often, I don't think it makes sense to pay the premium to be here. You should most definitely move to NYC, come back to SF when you are in your 30s and don't need nightlife.

Bizkitgto, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This isn't the 90s, there is no reason to live in San Francisco anymore. Just keep your head down, kick butt at work and transfer back to NYC, or wherever you want. If you have ever had an interest in a hobby or project, work on it now. Also, you are close to great skiing, start taking day or weekend trips out to the mountains while you can (many people would envy your position). Start spending more time in gym, get fit. Start learning how to cook properly, take advantage of the seafood and eat clean. Since you're more likely to spend more time alone, really use this time to level up. 

Danger Zone, what's your opinion? Comment below:

High COLA: Unavoidable to an extent but can be offset somewhat with roommates (know people paying $1-1.5k in rent at nice places with 2 other roommates). Rent in NYC will be more expensive and half as much space. When I lived there I paid 25% higher rent, lived in a worse building, and my apartment was slightly bigger than the kitchen in my studio here. 

Streets: I've been here the same amount of time as you and have only seen sh*t on the streets once. While that's not ideal my experience is that people complaining about the cleanliness here blow it out of proportion. If you think NYC will be better they leave piles of trash in streets and the entire city reeks of it in the summer.

Homeless: Personally, I don't think it's that bad and is overblown unless you live in the Tenderloin. Most of the people that I know who complain about the homeless here are sheltered types from the Northeast who have never spent any amount of time outside their bubble. These same people that I've encountered act like traveling to Tulum, Cabo, Cancun, etc. is like being in an episode of Narcos and think it's unsafe.

Rampant Crime: Where? The only crime I've experienced here is seeing people shoplifting. The news loves to write about the open air drug market but unless you're buying heroin I don't know how this effects you day to day. I drive a nice car (think A7/Panamera) and park it on the street and have never once had an issue with break ins.

Tech Dominated Culture: Hard to really change that given how prominent it is out here. It would be like complaining about the finance crowd living in NYC or media crowd in LA. I've never experienced any of what you mentioned. My entire social circle is predominantly all finance types (HF, PE, RE, etc.) with maybe 10-15% tech people.

Attractive Women: They're fine. You're not going to find someone with the high end looks of an LA or NYC but I think that at the midpoint SF girls are on par with NYC

bruce1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Personal anecdote on crime: I am in a nice part of town and my building has been broken into twice in the year I have been here. My sisters car has been broken into. My cousins garage broken into countless times. My GFs car crashed into by a drunk uninnsured homeless guy and the police said wow that sucks and let him drive off. My moped was stolen and vandalized, luckily I found it jacked up in an alley but cost a lot to fix. 

Homeless: Not that bad in my neighborhood, feels more segmented than other cities where the homeless are in every nook and cranny. SF does a decent job of keeping them all in the TL. I pay this one guy $20 every so often to sweep and clean my block, nice enough guy. 

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Ares12, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Get out of soma / fidi / downtown -> spend more time in marina, cow hollow, Russian hill. Simple as

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bruce1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Im in SF and yeah it kinda sucks. Only reason I live here is to be close to my fam. Only way I survive is to get tf out of town every weekend. 

I got a ski lease with some people and go to Tahoe every weekend in the winter and bought a cheap ass boat and go to the delta every weekend in the summer. Throw in some fishing/golf and bam youre busy all the time. 

One thing my GF and I do that has been kinda fun is to once a week pick a random neighborhood pocket and go check it out and have dinner/lunch. Found some really cool shops/restaurants like this. 

BTW I see shit on the street every day and im in a pretty nice area (marina/northbeach/russianhill). I don't understand when people try to gaslight me into thinking there is no shit on the streets like are their eyes not open?

Also buy a Moped - fun way to rip around and get anywhere in the city 15-20 min faster than in a car and way faster than bus. I leave my car in a parking space I rented from an old guy on CL near an east bay bart station which cuts out break ins/exorbitant parking costs/tickets etc.

Smoke Frog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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