Josh Chetwynd

A.E. Araiza/Arizona Daily Star

Do you of any good pickup places in the Foothills? A nice place to meet someone, strike up a conversation, and possibly exchange phone numbers?

My husband Mike and I are happily married, so I'm not referring to Level Bar and Lounge at St. Philip's Plaza or the bar at RA Sushi at La Encantada.

I'm talking about picking up new friends. I think most people, whether recent transplants to the area or born and raised in Tucson, are open to becoming friends with someone new. In this Facebook era, where people have 200-plus friends, the more the merrier, right?

The workplace can be a great spot for building friendships, but that isn't a good option for us. My husband has his own business and employs one secretary. I am an at-home mom.

Our neighborhood isn't a hot spot, either. We know and like most of our neighbors, but most are empty-nesters and retirees who are at totally different points in their lives.

Our boys, however, have provided Mike and me with a lot of good opportunities to find friends. We meet people at their schools during drop-off and pick-up, while volunteering, and at school-sponsored family events.

We chat with other parents at their sports practices and games. We set up play dates with the boys' friends and get to know their parents.

Sometimes friendships start unexpectedly at random places. I met a friend at the Dusenberry-River Library as our children were picking out books. Mike and I met a couple and their son at the pool at the Jewish Community Center - we made a connection when we learned that they had graduated from Northwestern University, my alma mater.

Of course, the pickup and information exchange does not guarantee a blossoming friendship. A friend of mine was excited about meeting two women at a Foothills Starbucks. She texted them a few days later and didn't get a reply.

Sometimes the wives get along and the husbands don't. That can lead to some fun girls' nights out. Sometimes the parents hit if off but the kids don't click … in that case, call the babysitters and make reservations for four adults for dinner.

So whether I make a deep, lasting friendship, a casual one, or something in between, it all has to start somewhere.

I think I've answered my own question. A good pickup place is any place, any time.

E-mail Kelley Helfand at