Moving to a new city is equal parts exciting and terrifying. You’re leaving the life and friends you love…for the unknown. If you find yourself in a new place full of adventures not knowing where to start making friends, try these seven tips.
Do Your Research
Whether moving within a state or across a country, learn as much as you can about your new city. Learn about the neighborhoods. Where are the young professionals living? Where are the families living? Where are the best places to live for fitness, for nightlife, and other things? Finding a neighborhood to call your own will likely surround you with like-minded individuals that could become your friends. If a must for you is to live within walking distance of a market or a yoga studio, chances are you’ll bump into someone that had the same exact thought. Especially in large cities where neighborhoods are so dynamic, position yourself in a location that matches your life narrative.
Leverage Your Contacts
Before you make the move, ask your friends and family if they know anyone in the area you’re moving to. You may be lucky enough to find out you have distant family in your new city. Or maybe your friend has a distant contact who has a sister living there. Chances are there are six degrees of separation that could lead you to your new best friend. And we all know it’s easier to meet people when you have an introduction. With social media today, you could even make a connection before you’re living in the same zip code.
Start a Routine
A simple and easy way to make new friends is to start a routine. If you like to grab a coffee on the weekends, find your new favorite coffee shop and stop in every Sunday morning. Maybe you’ve found a park with a good running trail. Pick a day of the week and stick to it. The more you stick with a routine, the more likely you’ll be to run into the same people. By the second or third encounter, you may even have the courage to introduce yourself. By the fifth or sixth time, maybe you’ll make plans to meet up with your new friend. Consistency is key. Developing a routine is a small step in the right direction to meet new people while enjoying things you were going to do anyway.
After the chaos of moving has settled down and you start to get into a routine, you’ll want to get back to your active lifestyle. This is the perfect opportunity to join a new gym or yoga studio. By attending your favorite classes every week, you’ll meet people with similar schedules and interests. Many cities have fitness organizations and run clubs that welcome everyone. So take advantage of your local resources. Again, consistency is key. You can’t expect to go to the gym a different day and time every week and run into the same people. Find what you like and what works for you and stick to it.
Volunteering for a cause that is near and dear to your heart is a great way to meet people that share the same interests. By getting involved in your community, you’re likely to meet other dog-loving people at your local animal shelter while giving back to a great cause. Jumping into a volunteer schedule may seem overwhelming when you’re trying to get settled in a new city, so it’s okay to start small. Volunteering even once a month will introduce you to new people who are passionate about the same causes you are.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Don’t be afraid to go to places you may not have visited where you used to live. Just because you had a bad experience at one tapas restaurant before doesn’t mean that the tapas restaurant in your new city won’t be the best experience you’ve ever had. Be open. Try new things. And don’t be afraid to go places by yourself. The scary reality is when you first move, you may spending a lot of time with yourself. Learn to love spending time alone. Don’t be afraid to grab a drink at the bar by yourself. You never know, you may meet someone who’s doing exactly the same thing.
Remember, making friends takes time. The friendships you have now took years to build, so don’t expect to form a friendship overnight. Don’t force yourself to hang out with people or make friends that are inauthentic to you and your lifestyle. Authentic friendships take time. And remember to make time for yourself along the way. Throwing all of your time and energy into finding new friends can be exhausting. So know when to take a night off to watch Netflix instead of networking. Moving has allowed you to start a new chapter in your life. Relish the new adventures and enjoy the ride.
This post was originally written for and published by Elana Lyn. Elana Lyn is a professional and personal development resource that provides millennial women with actionable job search, career, lifestyle, and wellness advice. To learn more about Elana Lyn, visit www.elanalyn.com.