Moving to a new city is never easy, and can become quite stressful. Knowing how to make friends in a new city should be important to help you feel at home.
The one thing about moving is you bring all your belongings with you. But you leave your friends behind. We might think that moving itself is the hardest part. Admittedly, it’s no easy task. But I think the hardest part is knowing that you don’t have someone you can call up to hang out with. That is why I put together these 15 tips for how to make friends in a new city.
When I moved abroad, I literally knew no one. I had not one friend that was even driving distance away. So, I know how difficult it can be emotionally to move from one place to another. I ate a lot of ice cream during that period. Thank god, it was summer.
How to make friends in a new city
When you’re in a new city, unsure of your surroundings, it’s easy to feel out of place. For months I was completely alone, wandering the city just trying to get a grasp of my new environment. Though I was out and about, I still felt blocked, as if I was too scared to socialize. But this is just one little obstacle to overcome in order to get yourself making friends. It may not happen right away, but friends will come.
#1 Love dogs? If you have a dog, well, you already have an advantage. You can go to a local dog park, or even use the app Meet My Dog. It’s easy to strike up a conversation when you are both animal lovers. So, use your pet as a way to meet people. I mean, technically your dog uses you to meet other dogs, right? [Read: Why Millenials are choosing puppies over babies]
#2 Talk to coworkers. In terms of making friends fast, the easiest way to do that is through co-workers. You work with them every day, all day, so, the odds of you becoming friends are higher. Go eat lunch with them, if they have happy hour, join in. Eventually, you spend more and more time with them outside of the office. [Read: How to be good friends with your coworkers]
#3 Use meeting apps. If you’re not aware of technology, well, I don’t know what rock you’ve been under. We have all these different apps available, so why not use them? If you want to date, use Tinder or Bumble. If you’re looking for events around you, check out the app Nearify. These apps are all based on meeting people, so use them.
#4 Stick to a workout routine. If you love to attend cycling classes *which sounds like a nightmare to me*, stick to a specific class. With time, you notice the regulars, and it’ll be that much easier to strike up a conversation when you both recognize each other’s faces. Then, you have a workout partner and eventually, a friend. [Read: 15 effortless ways to make new friends]
#5 Don’t say no. Okay, well, obviously, you’ll have to say no sometimes, I get that. But if someone invites you out for drinks, say yes. Sure, you work in the morning, but you also have no friends. Sacrifice one night of going to bed early, it saves your social life, trust me.
#6 What about your neighbors? Ah yes, how quickly we forget about our neighbors. The easiest people to talk to are your neighbors. You can strike up conversations by the mailbox or when you’re both struggling to carry groceries up the stairs. Eventually, all those “hi’s” and small talk will get a conversation going.
#7 Ask your friends if they know people. It’s kind of like blind dating, but if your friends know people in the city you’re in, get them to connect you two. You’re alone! You need friends! If your friend knows them, they’re probably a nice person. So, take advantage of that. They can show you around, introduce you to other people, invite you out to parties.
#8 Volunteer. I know this sounds like a little bit of a cliché, but you can actually meet many people through volunteering. Choose something that you’re genuinely interested in and you’ll meet like-minded people, which is what you want. If you love animals, volunteer at a shelter. You can be a big brother or big sister, you have an endless amount of volunteer options to choose from. [Read: How to step out and live life to the fullest]
#9 Go online. This is how I met most of my friends when I moved. I actually met them on forums on Couchsurfing. Yeah, I didn’t expect that to happen either. We met on a language exchange forum, so, the internet can be a pretty great place to connect people. Go on forums or Facebook groups.
#10 Join activities. If you like playing baseball, join an adult baseball team for fun. If you like ceramics, then take a pottery class. Listen, it doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as you enjoy doing it. You’ll become a regular and then meet people who also share these interests.
#11 Hit up happy hour. This is a good step forward when it comes to knowing how to make friends in a new city. After everyone’s had a couple drinks, they’re relaxed and striking up a conversation with a person isn’t such a stressful occasion. Go to the bar after work and see how it goes. You don’t have to be with a group of people in order to enjoy happy hour. [Read: How to learn to be happy alone: 15 ways relationships are overrated]
#12 Go to festivals and cultural events. It’s so easy to make friends at festivals. Everyone is in a good mood, people are open and willing to engage in conversation. I mean, it’s a recipe for friendship. Look online and see what’s going on in your city.
#13 Be open. The only way you meet people is if you’re open. Sure, you don’t need to tell them your darkest fears, but you do need to be a little vulnerable. If you’re closed and reserved, they’re not going to receive you as a warm person or as someone who actually wants a friend.
#14 Don’t stay inside. Even if you still don’t know anyone, just go out. Do anything. Go for a run, go to a museum, eat at a new restaurant—do everything. Who cares if you’re by yourself, it’s better that way. You allow people to see you and possibly approach you. If you go out enough, eventually something happens. [Read: 15 feel-good secrets to feel better about yourself]
#15 Keep up the relationships. Many of us have our friends from elementary school, high school, or university that we hang out with. These friendships have always been around, so we forget how to make new friends. But if you want to know how to make friends in a new city, and actually retain them, you have to actually maintain the relationship by making the effort. Don’t just go out once and then think you have it in the bag. You don’t, relationships need attention.