So, your residential move is finally over, your initial anxiety has slowly faded away, and all the urgent post-relocation tasks have been taken care of. Yet, instead of feeling relieved and satisfied with a job well done, you may be suddenly overwhelmed with pessimism and gloom. The hectic moving-related activities that had kept you busy and focused for so long have come to an end and now you find yourself in completely new surroundings, exhausted and downhearted, without any idea how to get your life back on track. Worst of all, you have nobody to rely on, no dear friend to confide in, no familiar face in the crowd to smile to.
SEE ALSO: How to overcome relocation depression
However, as frustrating as it all may seem at first, adjusting to your new world and making new friends in your new city takes nothing more than a positive attitude and a bit of courage.
So, how to fight off loneliness and find friends in your new area? Here are some efficient ways to make friends after moving you may want to try for yourself:
Get to know your neighbors
Go shake hands with your new neighbors during the very first days after your relocation. Introduce yourself and tell the people next door how glad you are to have moved into such a nice neighborhood and how much you would appreciate any useful tips they might have for you. You can take it a bit further and offer a small gift or a heartfelt compliment about your neighbor’s lovely house, garden, or family – whatever’s most appropriate. This will certainly set a cheerful mood and provoke hearty discussions about the community life and the peculiarities of the surroundings. You will get some useful information about your new area and will learn a thing or two about the people living next door.
Your next step is to organize a housewarming party and invite your neighbors over. Make the event informal and do your best to set a friendly and joyful atmosphere – play some good music, provide plenty of snacks and drinks, offer your specialty home-made food, and strike casual conversations with everyone. Just try to relax, have some fun, and get to know your neighbors a bit better. You may find trusted friends among them.
Join groups based on similar interests
You are very likely to meet like-minded people if you join a club or organization dedicated to the particular activities you find interesting and amusing. Sign up for dancing classes, attend a poetry workshop, take a language course, or join a sports team – whatever your hobby, keep up with it! You’ll have the opportunity to meet many people who have interests similar to yours and enjoy the same things as you do. Some of them may become good friends of yours.
Take every chance you have to meet new people
Accept any invitations you get to hang out with your new acquaintances – coworkers, neighbors, people from your hobby club, etc. Even if you don’t become best friends with the person who invited you out, you may still have some fun, meet a bunch of new people, and experience something new. So, do your best to say “yes” to every opportunity for social interaction you receive – whether it’s a party, a concert, a sports event, a morning jog, or a happy hour at the local bar, it is a chance to get to know new people and find someone you have a lot of common with. Be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and get out there!
Use the social media
Social media sites provide a great opportunity to get in touch with people from your new area and better understand the peculiarities of your new community – you can join local forums on the Web, follow local blogs, check out township sites, sign up for Meetup.com, etc. Nowadays, it’s really easy to start a friendship online. What’s more, whenever you meet someone you like, you can use the social media to “follow up” – friend them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Let them know how nice it was to meet them and make plans for future get-togethers.
Get involved in the community life
Taking an active part in the life of your new community is one of the most efficient ways to meet friends in a new city. Visit different local events (festivals, concerts, art openings, museum tours, sports matches, etc.), engage in community services or other local organizations, volunteer at local nonprofit groups, etc. – you will most certainly meet a lot of like-minded people who feel passionate about the same things you do. Besides, you’ll get to know your new city better, will become aware of the hot issues concerning your community, and will get a sense of belongingness and connectedness.
However friendly the locals may be, they will have no chance to express their amiable attitude if you stay hidden in your home all the time. So, find different ways to make yourself available and mingle with people:
- Go to the local library, church (or other religious institution), community hall, recreation center, or any other community building where you can hang out a bit, meet a lot of people from the neighborhood and chat freely with them;
- Visit the local hot spots (lively shopping centers, popular bars and restaurants, prominent entertainment venues, etc.) frequently to mingle with people and engage in spontaneous social interactions;
- Eat out in public instead of ordering a take-out and retreating to your home. Just go to a local bar or small family restaurant and enjoy your drink or meal in the company of a good book or a newspaper. People are more likely to approach you and strike a conversation when they see you alone in public;
- Walk around the neighborhood to get a true feel of the life in your new community. You will meet many new people on the streets, will have a chance to speak to local business owners and assistants, and will find out the best places in the neighborhood to eat, relax, hang out, or look for entertainment. It is also a good idea to spend some more time in the nearby park – take your dog out for a walk or just sit on a bench with a nice view for an hour or two. You are certain to meet other animal lovers in your area or to run into someone who enjoys nature and fresh air as much as you do, etc.;
- Stay outside for longer than necessary. Have a cup of coffee on the porch, putter around the garden, sweep the doorway, or play with your pet – this will encourage neighbors and passers-by to come say “HI” and engage in conversation.
Bonus ideas for making friends in a new city
You can avail of some more unconventional methods to meet new friends as well:
1) Reach out to your friends’ friends – if a friend of yours says they know someone in your new city that you might like, ask them to introduce you to that person. You may turn out to have a lot in common;
2) Find a professional community – attend specialized events and/or seek out professional groups to meet people working in the same field as you. This is a great way to find common ground and make valuable connections;
3) Take lots of pictures – if you take a lot of photos at an event or party, people are quite likely to ask you to email them the pictures afterwards. Once you get their contact information, you will be able to easily get in touch with them later on.
Making friends after moving is not as daunting as it may seem at first. All you need to do is get over your fear of rejection and lower your expectations a bit – you will soon adjust to your new surroundings and find your rightful place in your new society. What matters the most is to be flexible and open-minded, give everyone a chance, and be brave enough to take the first step. However, if you are to form deep and long-lasting friendships, you need to also make conscious efforts to stay in touch, contribute value to the new-established relationships, maintain a genuine and considerate attitude, and be there for your new friends when they need you.