Moving to a new city or even a new district brings all sorts of challenges, one of which is having to find new friends. You’ll keep in touch with good friends from home or your previous location, but you need new friends in your new place. It can be intimidating even for outgoing people to find and make new friends, so here’s some help.
One of the first pieces of advice new arrivals get about how to make new friends in their new location is to take classes. The advice is sound because you’re usually engaged in something you find enjoyable with others who enjoy the same thing. You instantly have conversation material. Whether learning to take better pictures with your camera or doing a workshop on writing poetry, you get to learn while enjoying the company of others who have the same passion. A great way to connect.
Is there something you always wanted to know how to do? Now is the time to try it! You’ll be among people of various skill levels learning to do these things and you can compare notes or practice together. Have you always been interested in theater? Practicing your lines can break the ice. How about gardening? There’s nothing like getting your hands in the dirt together in a community garden to start the conversation flowing. You could even suggest everyone get together afterward for coffee or something.
Hopefully your office or work environment is enjoyable enough that you have a few office buddies anyway, or at least people you find easy to be around. Suggest a few of you go out for lunch one day, or arrange to have lunch brought in. You could talk with your co-workers and arrange a potluck once a month, or more often if your co-workers enjoy cooking. You might discover they have other interests that you want to explore, like art or skydiving!
There are meetups for nearly every interest. Just go to the Meetup website or similar ones, like the Red Hat Society or Friend Finder, and find an activity you’d like to do. Activities vary and may include hikes, movies, plays, art projects and even political activities. If you like to organize, you could post an activity yourself, like a wine-tasting tour or a trip to the coast. Most charge some sort of nominal fee, but many are free.
You network in the business world, so why not in your personal world as well? Find out if there are any friends of your friends or relatives who live near you. This doesn’t mean you are going to get along just like you do with your friend, but at least you will have contact with someone who knows the area and can guide you about the best places to go. In conversation, you may learn more about your friend or relative as stories start to emerge. Retelling these stories will be fun when you reconnect with your friend.
More and more people are making friends through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Join a Facebook page for people who all live or used to live in your town so not only will you get the news of what’s happening in the area currently, but you'll also get a glimpse of local history and lore. Respond to blogs from local writers, and follow hashtags related to your town. You may be able to get a few conversations started and be on your way to new friendships.
Get on your bike or take public transportation, such as a bus or even a trolley, and explore your new city. Stop by local eateries and shops, and spark up conversations with the workers or owners. Visit parks or recreational areas and go to a few events, like a waterfront concert or a walk-for-a-cause. If you have a dog, go to a new dog park. There will likely be several opportunities to talk to new people, and they will probably love offering suggestions or directions on how to get to their favorite locations throughout the city (or they may even go with you).
I know all these things make it sound easy, but attitude and a willingness to do them will go a long way. Be open to striking up a conversation but remember your safety rules too, please, ladies.
Have you experienced a move that meant creating a new circle of friends? How did you get on? Please share your stories.
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