Navigating life in a new city may be the most overwhelming part of your move. I’ve only moved twice, but each time seemed to be scarier than the last.
Finding a community and making new friends is a daunting task in the adult world, so I’ve compiled a short list of advice that I’ve picked up through the years.
Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between, here are some of my tips to help you find community in your brand new home.
Email may seem like an antiquated method of communication, but it does have its benefits. Do some research on local newsletters that share the weekly happenings for your city. That's the way I found out about a food truck festival across town, a vintage store pop-up, and snagged some heavily discounted tickets to an NHL game!
Using social media to find friends has never been easier. Many cities have Facebook groups dedicated to newcomers where you can find advice, events, and connect with others. Additionally, apps like Bumble BFF and Friender are designed to help people make friends.
Your network exists to be utilized. Ask friends, family, and coworkers if they know anyone in the city you’re moving to. I had to push through my fear of sounding awkward, but once I put pride aside and reached out, I made a new friend that I would go on walks with on the weekends! Even if it’s just a friend of a friend, there’s comfort in making a connection through people you know.
Soccer was a huge part of my life growing up. When I started to miss playing so badly that I was even missing tedious drills, I knew I had to do something about it. I began to research local recreational soccer leagues in the area and found one with low commitment and worked with my schedule. This tip goes for any sport, interest, or hobby. Local community centers and libraries are a great place to start looking for people with the same interests as you.
Workout classes are also another great way to be around people. Especially since newcomers usually get a discount, you can try out different fitness centers until you find the one you like. And of course, if you can’t find a club in your area, you can always make one!
Especially if you’re living solo in a new city, it’s important to develop a routine. Not only will it help you stay organized, but it will build your confidence to speak to familiar faces. Go to the same local coffee shop every morning. If you work your way to becoming a regular and they know “your usual,” it’ll be easy to establish a new connection or two. Additionally, if you go for walks or run at the same time on the same days, you’ll start to recognize the same neighborhood characters and can strike up a conversation. Even if it doesn’t amount to a friendship, you’ll feel more at home in your new environment.
It’s hard to meet people out drinking because it’s typically a venue to meet up with an established group of friends. Whether you care for the bar scene or not, you can still enjoy a night out by doing something other than screaming over a loud DJ. Find a local bar that hosts trivia nights! Even if you don’t have a team to show up with, there will always be some stragglers to form a make-shift team or a group’s buddy that never showed up. It’s an awesome way to meet people in the neighborhood and to spend the night laughing.
Building meaningful relationships takes time. Don't be discouraged if things don't happen overnight or even on the first try. Making friends and building a community requires dedicated effort and persistence. Keep trying new activities and reaching out to people even if your initial attempts don't yield instant results and you'll gradually find your place in your new city's community.
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