Whether you’re downsizing, looking for a fresh start or relocating for a job, moving to a new city can be exciting and scary at once.
People move for all sorts of reasons, but there is a common thread: moving to a new city is filled with possibilities. From discovering local gems to setting up and settling into your new home, it’s an opportunity to carve out — or, as the case may be, reinvent — your identity.
Admittedly, that takes time. So does feeling “at home.” Since you may find yourself pining for what’s familiar — feeling a bit homesick, even — it helps to establish a group of friends. Unsure of where to start? Here are a few ways to begin building not just connections, but also the support network to you need to feel at ease (not to mention at home).
Find a cultural center or place of worship
One of the best ways to meet new people is by joining groups and communities in which people share the same beliefs and principles. Consider what’s most important to you in life and seek out spots that help forge connections with likeminded locals. Whether that’s a church, cultural club or community center, becoming a part of something larger can help you discover and explore new — or comfortingly familiar — things.
Meet friends of friends
It helps to have someone to show you the ropes so don’t be afraid to ask your hometown friends to introduce you to friends, family and acquaintances they know. In addition to helping you feel less alone, they can point you to places of interest, make other introductions and help familiarize you with your surroundings.
Become a regular
Whether that’s a coffee shop, bar or fitness class, establishing a habit or routine that puts you in front of the same people makes it easier to build natural connections with them over time.
Join local interest groups
Do you like to run? Read books? Cook? Whatever you’re into, there’s a group for that. When you have common interests, conversation flows more easily and it opens doors to talk about other things. Consider joining MeetUp.com, an online forum that lets you enter your city and interests to find “meetups” near you. Who knows — you may even find someone willing to take you under their wing.
Do things that cultivate conversation
Think about interactive activities you enjoy and sign yourself up. Whether it’s an improv class, trivia night, professional networking group or fan club, participating in engaging experiences is a natural way to make introductions and spark conversation.
Head to the dog park
Your furry friends need a place to unwind and so do you. So, why not head to your neighborhood dog park? Often frequented by the same people time and time again, paying regular visits can help ensure you see the same people while making it easier to chat with friends-to-be. Never mind the fact that they follow a similar routine, they’re also likely live nearby. Bonus: your pup may even make a BFF of its own.
Join a sports league
Rather than see activities as one-off experiences, find outlets that allow you to interact with same group of individuals over time. Sports leagues and teams are a great choice since they foster comradery and have you working toward a common goal.
Volunteer for a cause
Helping others not only makes a difference, it also feels good. Plus, it puts you in contact with people who are passionate about the same causes you are. When you have something to rally around, you can advocate with others, while fostering friendships at the same time.
Join school organizations
Those with families may find it helpful to join the PTA — or a booster club — at your child’s new school. In addition to meeting potential friends at a similar stage in life, it’s also a way to ingrain yourself in a community you’re now a part of.
As you explore and settle in to your new neighborhood, we’re here to help. Be sure to check out our blog for tips to help your new city feel familiar — and help you feel at home.