Making new friends in a brand new city can be a little intimidating, but if you approach it with a positive attitude, it will actually turn out to be quite fun! When you participate in activities you enjoy, friendships will follow naturally.
Before putting yourself out there, remember that it’s OK to feel lonely in a new place. Be vulnerable to new possibilities and don’t let any fears you might have keep you in your apartment. Overanalyzing your newcomer status might lead to anxiety, so just be spontaneous and head out the door.
Here are some ideas that might be just what you need to help you on your search for friends in a new city:
8 ways to make new friends when you move to a new city
1. Take a fun class
Take a fun class at an art center or community college and learn something new, like a different language, how to throw pottery, or painting techniques. Try to find a class that will meet five or six times; it’s easier to make a connection once you’ve seen the same people more than once. Sit in the same seat each time so you can get to know the people around you.
2. Volunteer your time
Volunteering can be very meaningful, in addition to offering excellent opportunities to find like-minded people. Connect to a cause you believe in and commit to volunteering on a regular schedule perhaps once per week, for a few months. This will give you more chances to chat with other volunteers more than once, as well as enjoy a feeling of accomplishment from completing a project.
3. Visit a bookstore or coffee shop
Head to a quirky local bookstore to gain new knowledge and maybe intelligent new friends. Or bring one of your favorite books to a coffee shop and enjoy a scone and a delectable cappuccino. The key here is not to get absorbed in your book and forget to chat with others. Engage in a friendly chat with the bookseller or barista, and don’t be afraid to ask the person sitting next to you what they think about the book they’re reading.
4. Walk your dog (or somebody else’s dog)
After all, you and your dog need exercise and fresh air. Chat with other dog owners about their pets’ personalities and get recommendations on the best veterinarians and pet stores in the area. Don’t have a dog? Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog while they’re away for the day, or head to the local pet shelter and chat with other volunteers while you throw a ball for a few dogs or take them on a stroll.
5. Attend cultural events
Take a group tour or listen to an artist’s lecture at a museum, or pick up a season pass to a playhouse or the symphony. Ask one or two people around you what they think of the event. After one or two friendly conversations, you might find someone to meet for coffee or dinner after the show!
6. Join a group
Joining a group is a great opportunity to practice your social skills. Consider a spiritual group, social club, fan club, photography club, book club, adventure group, or sports team. The right group can help you accomplish multiple objectives. For example, a social club that plans regular outings will also help you get to know your new city, and an adventure group offers opportunities to enjoy nature and get in a great workout!
7. Head to a local bar or pub
Whether you have a beer or sip a Coke, a local bar or pub is a great place to meet locals. Be sure not to hide in a booth or at a table – join the crowd at the bar and root for a sports team along with them. Many bars and pubs also have Trivia Nights; ask the people at the table nearest you if they’d like another team member.
8. Spend time with co-workers
Your job may have more benefits than you think. Many organizations want their employees to socialize outside of work, because it leads to a more productive environment by promoting community among coworkers. Many companies schedule activities on a regular basis, like participating in 5Ks or planning holiday parties. In the meantime, you can invite a few friendly colleagues to lunch, and if that goes well, follow up with a movie or concert invite.
You might feel self-conscious and nervous the first few times you attend new events or try to start a conversation with a stranger. Remember that your feelings are normal, and many others feel the same way! Most people will appreciate your efforts to get conversations started, and though you won’t have a connection with everyone you meet, you’ll have a community of new buddies in no time!
Disclaimer: This guest post was made possible thanks to Rachaelle Lynn. She is the creator of Just Happy Hours app, which helps people find new friends quickly and easily. Learn more at JustHappyHours.com.