Moving to a new city at any age can be a terrifying experience. You don’t have that same security blanket of friends to crawl to at any free moment. It can also be one of the biggest growth opportunities because it rips you of everything familiar and challenges you to go beyond your pretty little comfort zone.
There’s good news, though; adult life kicks ass once you find your go-to group of friends. Try at least one of these methods, and you won’t be calling your mom every night, begging her to FaceTime you.
1. Use social media.
Facebook: Post on Facebook to prompt a discussion among your FB friends and get the word out about your move. An example of an engaging status for making new friends could be something like:
“Moving to NYC next month! Who can tell me the best vegan pizza place I should try? Or better yet, who wants to come try it with me?”
This status gets people sharing their opinion on one of the most controversial and worldly topics: pizza. Friends may also tag their other FB friends who live in the city to help you answer the question. Bonus: the cute guy that you’ve wanted to tell about your move will now see your status.
Instagram: While a less common method, Instagram can be a tool to make some new friendships. Depending on what your interests are, you can search hashtags and geotags and see if there’s anyone similar to you. I’ve heard of some beautiful yoga friendships that have been built upon finding each other’s Instagram accounts. You could send a really non-creepy DM to someone such as:
“Hey! Saw your account and love your feed, especially all the yoga posts! I just moved to [x location] and am looking for good places to practice / people to practice with! Do you have any recs?”
This at least gets a conversation going and you might hear of some new places to try out!
Search these hashtags to meet some new people:
Yoga Friends: #nycyoga #nycyogi #yogaeverydamnday #yoga
Vegan Friends: #nycvegan #veganeats #veganfoodshare #veganfood
So, you’re someone who doesn’t like to share every part of your life on social media…That’s okay, you’ll have other options too (continue reading below).
2. Get out and about.
Go alone. Some of the best advice I ever got from my mama was to never let “going alone stop you from going at all.” Example: there’s a really cool workshop on crystal healing that you’re weirdly into, but none of your friends want to join the hippie tribe? Go alone. Riding solo actually makes it easier to make friends because you come off as more approachable.
Volunteer. Volunteering is a way to bring in that good karma to your life, while simultaneously a cool way to meet genuine people. Set an intention to volunteer at least once or twice a month depending on your schedule. You can do pretty much anything as volunteer work, all it takes is a little research online, and you can start by searching www.idealist.org, www.volunteermatch.org, www.createthegood.org.
Tip: If you like running, check out my personal fav organization, Back On My Feet, where you literally run with other volunteers and people who are overcoming homelessness.
Say yes. Never turn down an invitation somewhere in the first few weeks of moving because this is your ideal time to find your new friend group. You’ll be less likely to say “yes” to outings once you’ve settled in. Think of it this way: you might not like the person who invited you to the event, but you might think the girl that just fearlessly danced the whole night might actually be your new best friend. I’ve met some of my closest friends through roommates, coworkers, and other random people I’ve somehow ended up meeting at parties!
3. Make the first move.
Reach out to familiar faces. Remember that one girl you went to high school with who recently popped up on your newsfeed as living in your new city? You stopped being friends when she got into your dream college and you didn’t? Well, none of that matters anymore! Message her and say something sweet like,
“Hi! How are you? I saw you live in [X location]. I just moved here and would love to catch up sometime if you’re around.”
You never know, she might be hosting a party this weekend and you messaged at the perfect time.
Tell people about your move. Be open about telling people you meet that you’re moving. I’ve been in plenty of situations before I moved to NYC where I ran into a peer, told them about my upcoming adventure, and was immediately given the name of one person they knew that lives in the area. If you’re making small talk at a pregame with your friend’s new girlfriend, tell her! If you are forced into a dinner party with your parent’s crazy friends, tell them! You never know what comes out of casually dropping this info into the conversation.
Follow up. Similar to any sales strategy, if you’ve reached out to a potential friend and they haven’t responded in a week, send them another message. This isn’t needy; people truly get busy and can forget to respond. They aren’t the ones searching for friends right now, you are–so it’s up to you to make it happen!
It’s actually way easier to get to know people in a new city than you would’ve thought…you just have to really put yourself out there! Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Related: On Making Adult Friendships Work
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Photo: Jens Johnson via Unsplash