You’ve unpacked all the boxes, thanked the moving company, and started your first day of work or school in your new neighborhood. Moving to a new city means navigating uncharted waters in entirely new ways. It can be difficult to get used to a new street layout, or a different job, but you’ll learn with time.
One thing you may be wondering, however, is how to make friends in a new city.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, everyone enjoys having friends to spend time with, but as you get older, it can be harder and harder to make new friends on demand. So we’ve compiled 7 tips on how to make friends in a new city. Take them one at a time and watch your social circle grow.
Keep Old Friends Close
Just because you live in a different city or state doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still spend time with your old friends.
Make frequent phone calls or Skype calls to keep up with what’s happening in each other’s lives. Send e-mails back and forth. Keep updated on Facebook or your other social media sites. If your new city is within driving distance, you can even plan visits for a day or weekend to keep old ties tight.
It’s too easy to drift apart once you don’t have constant contact with someone, so put the effort in to keep friendships strong.
Look Around You
Chances are, you’re already surrounded by potential friends at your new neighborhood, house of worship, school, or workplace.
Make yourself open and friendly during these regular interactions and get involved wherever you can. Join the office party planning team or bring in doughnuts for the office. Join the PTA, start a study group, or help run a refreshments table after a worship service or meeting. You might also consider inviting a few neighbors to your housewarming party.
Letting people see your willingness to be friendly will open them up to the idea of being your friend.
Join a Group
This is a great way to meet like-minded people, but even if you don’t find new friends, you’ll still feel like you accomplished something.
Join a yoga or dance class, join a book club, volunteer, attend a museum lecture and leave yourself open to the possibility of making a new friend in a new city. One-time events are great, but continual classes are best because the regular exposure will assure that you’re not strangers by the time you actually form a friendship.
Use Social Media
This can be a surefire way to develop acquaintances into friendships, but tread lightly. Save the friend request for after you’ve had a few good conversations (whether at the playground, yoga class, or a party held by a mutual friend).
Once they accept your request, follow them in a pressure-free way (commenting on every status updated can seem a little overbearing) to slowly build affinity over time. They’ll get to know a little about you, and you’ll get to know a little about them, all without spending a single minute together. And the next time you see them in person, you’ll have shared experiences to discuss.
Let Your Kids Help
Kids tend to make friends easily; a shared interest is often enough to turn strangers into best friends in a single day. You can capitalize on this by including the adults in your children’s play dates.
Suggest that little Timmy’s mother join her kid at your house while the kids play. Many parents can be wary about their kids spending time at a stranger’s house, and an invitation may put her mind at rest. Let the kids play video games while the adults chat over coffee. Or suggest that both families meet at a park so the children can spend some time on the merry-go-round while the moms and dads bond on the sidelines.
Rein in Your Expectations
Forcing yourself to find your new BFF instantly puts too much pressure on you as well as the other person.
Let the friendship develop on its own, and don’t be the only one doing all the asking. Pursuing multiple friendships gently will win you more friends than pursuing one person too aggressively.
And go easy on yourself; making new friends isn’t as easy as it was when you were a kid. Allow plenty of time to build a new circle of friends.
Once you’ve made your first good friend in your new city, you’ve just opened yourself up to that person’s social circle.
Don’t feel nervous about confessing how hard it is to meet people in a new city. Ask whether your new friend knows anyone else you’d get along with. Start by including one other person in your outings, then you can make plans to hang out with them individually.
We hope these tips have inspired you to make friends in your new neighborhood. If you’re planning an upcoming long-distance move, we encourage you to try out our free online quote calculator for an instant quote on your move. Moving has never been easier.