Building your social life from practically zero is hard. Making friends in a new city is even harder when you are in your 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s. When we are younger, it is much easier to build a social circle in school, college, basketball court or on your street.
Whether you move long distance or just an hour ride from your previous home, you are in an unfamiliar territory that has its challenges. Your favorite coffee place is no longer there, commuting is a thing you are going to have to learn all over, while some rules from back home may not apply. And maybe the most important thing, your social circle is back home. While it can prove to be quite a test, it is not impossible to create fresh friendships in a new town. Here are some tips on how to make it all easier.
When you are done with unpacking, it takes a lot to set up a whole new daily routine when you arrive in a different town or even another country. Start with a small comfort zone around your place of living or workplace. Explore the stores, coffee shops, markets, parks, and restaurants near you and find the ones that you enjoy the most or are most suited to your needs. Once you know your starting point, start expanding your comfort zone. You are bound to make acquaintances in the places you visit regularly. Don’t push yourself too hard, start small and expand or you may feel overwhelmed with the information and adjustments.
It may sound corny but the good old meet and greet your neighbors is where you should start. Surely you are going to bump into a few cranky ones, but you never know how many cool, like-minded individuals are maybe just a few feet away from you. A good rule of thumb is that you can always follow the music, seriously. Is some neighbor making a party with music you like? Introduce yourself. Now we are not saying crash a party, but in case you bump into said neighbor tell them that they have great taste in music. That is a great conversation opener, and you may even get the invitation to the next party they throw.
It might be a lot easier to start building friendship circles based on the area of life where you meet different crowd, pretty much like in high school. You have your coworkers, acquaintances you met at the local club with whom you share the same interest, friends who know your friends, etc. It is probably the easiest way to separate friends into specific categories for specific events. Not all of them will want to go clubbing, to the theater, to the movies, or to the same book club. Friendships are mostly based on the same interests in the beginning, and it is tough to find someone with a lot of the same interests as yours are, so have a backup.
The best way to find a like-minded crowd with shared interests is at the “source.” The band you love is playing, don’t skip it, enjoy the gig and find other fans. There is a book signing at your local library, meet your favorite author and his loyal readers. Stand up comedies, bar recitals, local art shows, plays, charity events are all places where you can befriend someone with the same interests. Moreover, you might find the people with shared purpose at some of the community events, and friendships centered around the same purpose are much more profound and long-lasting.
Sometimes it is not so easy to find exciting local events, especially if you have a peculiar taste. A lot of cool events are “laying low” with marketing, while some really good newcomers don’t have enough resources to invest in pricey marketing. So where to find them? They leave flyers at your local coffee shop or bar, or they post the event on social media. Another piece of advice is to follow as much of the local social media pages as possible. The best way to stay on top of things is to be present on your communities’ social media page. In the sea of information, you should optimize your online presence so that the right and relevant information doesn’t slip through your fingers.
Volunteering doesn’t just give you a bigger purpose and chance to do something good for the world and leave your mark. It also gives you many opportunities to get to know a lot of like-minded people with whom you share the same selfless goals. If you have already volunteered in your previous community, there may be a branch of your organization in your current city and that makes your job a lot easier. But if not, there surely is another organization oriented towards the same issue. Use your previous experience to apply for the volunteering position.
If you decided to move with your dog, you already have one friend. We are sure that you have noticed that many strangers have casual chats with you when you walk your dog. Dogs are cute, loyal and great conversation openers. Most dog owners love chatting about their beloved pets when they walk them in parks or on the street. You can share your experience and get some buddies for both you and your dog.
Try pottery, arts and crafts, DIY classes, painting, writing, origami, etc. The possibilities for an interesting skill you can acquire are endless. Share your knowledge through these usually very laid-back and fun classes. It is never a bad time to learn something exciting. And if you live in a vegeterian-friendly city or a town with the best outdoor options, you can always get involved with many different activities they offer.
An excellent way of making acquaintances is taking some continued education, arts or crafts classes, or physical activity courses in your current town. By now, you probably already have a lot of stuff you wanted to learn ages ago, but never had the courage or the time. Well now is the right time to do it.
Exercise is good for your health and for making some exercise buddies. Meet up with people who share the same enthusiasm for physical activities as you. It could be yoga and regular aerobic classes, or maybe swimming and skating. If you like fishing, pack up your fishing rod, it will come in handy if you bump into somebody that likes it too. This is a great combo: have fun, keep your body healthy and make friends, all in one.
Life itself offers many possibilities to make acquaintances. You should be open to every opportunity to get in contact with interesting people and in the process, enrich your life with and discover another side of yourself. Just in case the process of moving to a different city overwhelmed you, and you might find it harder to start, follow some of this advice and we are sure you’ll be a social butterfly like you used to be in your old community. Fresh beginnings can bring you a lot of joy and beautiful experiences, embrace them.