When Abraham Walker moved to Alexandria, Virginia, he noticed his neighbors seemed to just go to work, come home, and repeat. Here's how he broke the cycle, with the help of the hyperlocal social media app Nextdoor. 

By Jennifer Chen
Updated February 25, 2020

Women can seemingly make a dozen new friends between their homes and the corner mailbox. Men? Not so much. That's why Abraham Walker got proactive about his social life after he, his wife, and two sons relocated to Alexandria, Virginia. A real estate agent and an extrovert, he noticed his neighbors seemed to just go to work, come home, and repeat.

In 2018, he started asking men in his neighborhood if they wanted to chat over coffee. After keeping this up for a few months, he cast a wider net. His approach was radically simple: He posted an open invitation on Nextdoor for local men to meet for coffee. In less than a week, he had about 36 responses. "Although, only half of those responses were valid, because a good portion were wives who wanted their husbands to join," Abraham says, laughing.

Eight guys arrived to the first meet-up, in February 2019, and immediately hit it off. "This guy Compton and I, we live three blocks away from each other," Abraham says. "Our kids go to the same school, but we didn't know each other. Now we're friends."

Over the past year, Abraham's group has maintained bimonthly get-togethers—and they pull this off and manage the schedule without the help of their wives. Randolph Duverna, another Virginia transplant and father, likes inviting the men over for poker nights. "This group has been great to have that camaraderie, especially for activities my wife would never do, like axe-throwing or going to the shooting range."

But the connections extend much deeper than Texas Hold'em and flying hatchets: In the days after Logan Morris's daughter was born, his new friends reached out with congratulations and offers to help. "I can't thank them enough," he says. "We share ideas, successes, and failures openly and without judgment."

Abraham has registered his club with City Dads Group, a national organization, and hopes to expand. "This group gives me an opportunity to be a role model to my sons and show them how to build a community," he says. And it all started over a cup of coffee.