We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenny Yuen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenny, making friends as an adult isn’t easy. Any advice or experiences you can share?
I’ve moved quite a few times in my adult life, from California to Boston, to New York, back to California then to Paris and who knows where next! I can’t say I’m a pro at making friends but I’ve learned a few tricks. Some of the same tips that work for dating, also work for meeting new friends. That old saying of “you have to put yourself out there” and not expect your new best friend to come knocking on your door, I think is really important. When I moved to Paris, I didn’t know anyone but I had friends who had friends or aquaintances who lived in Paris and I asked them to put me in touch with them. I reached out and most were really open to meeting for a cofffee and sharing tips on the city. If we hit it off, we’d schedule another meet up and slowly over time a real friendship blossomed and this person would invite me into their circle of friends where I met other people that I’d invite to coffee etc. Some people i met, were friendly, but we didnt have much in common and we never met up again, but no hard feelings! It was nice enough that they agreed to meet up! I jokingly call this tactic “Friend poaching” haha! Except I’m not looking to steal a friend, just get to know more people. I’ve met some great friends that are now people I consider to be close friends. Another technique is to just keep showing up to a place or event! I found that familiarity helps people break down their walls and are more open to talking and meeting you. In New York, when a lot of my friends moved away and I was trying to make new friendships, I went to a few coffee shops or bars regularily and started to get to know a few of the staff and other regulars that went there. We’d just chit chat at first but over time, anyone that shared common interests with we’d start inviting each other to events and eventually start hanging out at new places together. I also feel like weekly meet up groups, classes or workshops can be great places too. I say weekly because it allows you to get to know the people in the group gradually and sometimes friendships natuarlly take place versus a one even thing and you’re trying to make a friend and then you come off as desperate for friends and i feel like no one likes that haha! Once you’ve met a few new potential friends, i feel like you really have to nuture the relationship too. Be in contact and initiate hang outs and communication, just like any relationship. That’s some of my tips for making friends as an adult!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an illustrator and I would describe the work that I create as girly and sensual. Clients come to me looking for something in that vein so I guess I’ve got that corner covered lol! My claim to “fame” or proudest accomplishmen at this moment was illustrating the “Cosmo Sutra” haha! Cosmo’s Kama Sutra book. I remember about 8 years ago I was at the Museum of Sex’s gift shop in NYC and I saw this beautifully illustrated Kama Sutra book and I said to myself “Man…I’d really love to do one of these and have a book at this shop.” I was drawing sexy girly illustrations for fun at the time and posting it to my Instagram. A friend of mine started a job a Cosmo and they were looking for someone to redo all their kama sutra drawings. She had seem my Instagram and she asked me to do them! I did them bi-weekly for a few years and evenually I was contacted to do a whole book! The proudest moment was last summer was going into the Museum of Sex with my husband and him pointing out the book on the bookshelf!! I had no idea it was there and it was such a great moment of “wow! it happened.” I know it’s just a silly dream but it made me realize that dreams can come true with hard work and of course a little luck! Currently, I’m trying to work on more personal projects or only working with brands I really love. It’s been hard navigating what that will look like. There are so many talented artists and desingers out there that I can get easily discouraged. I find it challenging to put down the social media, stop comparing myself to other artists, and tune out the negative voices in my head! I think what i’ve learned is that I’m my biggest enemy when it comes to acheiving something. Whevever i’ve been really confident and sure in my mind that I will achieve something, I’ve done it. If ever there was even a grain of doubt that I didnt work through properly, I misstepped and it stopped me short from accomplishing what i had initially set out to do. I’m always a work in progress!!! OH i just remembered a shout out I want to give: Andy J. Pizza from Creative pep talk! https://www.creativepeptalk.com/ I listen to his podcasts while i work and he’s so motivating! great tips for creatives, ive recommnded his podcast dozens of times!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m an Orange Country girl so I dont know much about LA 🙂 In Orange Country, Ive been going to the Lab Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa for like 20+ years now! It’s my favorite spot and the cafe and restaurants there I just love! I really enjoy the pelican hill resort in newport Coast, It’s defintiely fancy but i like getting a little coffee there and pretending im on a fabulous vaction. THe views are amazing! Further down in Laguna Beach I love Taco Loco on PCH. It’s a cute little food stand with a few seats outdoors. Im obsessed wtih the tofu mushroom burger. Also been going there for years!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I knowt his has been mentioned time and time again, but The Artist’s Way Book by Julia Cameron has been my go to whenever ive been in a creative funk!!