Big moves are a part of life for some of us. Whether it’s for a job, or for a loved one, or any of the reasons we move, big life changes come with challenges. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is making new friends. For those of us without the gift of gab, it can be a daunting task. When you’re happiest at home reading, a move can be a death knell for your social life; you find yourself unable or unwilling to meet new people.
Today, though it’s not as easy as it was when you were a kid, making friends is far from impossible. You can find friends online, meet them at work, or run into them at various gatherings or community events. Putting aside your natural concerns and giving new people a chance is the first step, but where do you start?
Try New Things
Especially once you’re getting past your twenties; it can be tricky to run into new people with whom you have common ground. You’re working more and playing less, and every potential friend is also a potential barrier to your other responsibilities. But don’t be afraid to try new things! For instance:
- Don’t give up on your old friends. Even if your relationship is reduced to phone calls, emails, and video chats, old friends can keep you grounded. And when you’re having a really terrible day, nothing beats talking to someone who has known you for a while.
- Don’t restrict yourself. You shouldn’t expect – the way you did when you were young – that your friends will be the same kind of person that you are. You could easily befriend someone with a large gap in age, for instance. Older friends provide wisdom; younger friends provide excitement, and no matter which, you yourself bring that same vital combination.
- Join a group, team, or community organization. There is an endless array of options. Take a dance class, or a pottery class, or any kind of class that interests you. Go volunteer in your community. While this seems like a pretty cliché way to meet people, it’s also arguably the most effective. That’s how clichés get started, anyway. So poke around in your community and see what’s happening!
- Get online. There are plenty of ways to find friends online, some that even target specific interests. Whether you’re looking to find romance or just another friend, it’s a great way to know that you’ll have something in common with someone else. And, of course, the Internet can help you find the cool local activities where your future crowd awaits.
- One person won’t fill every void your old friends left. So keep your expectations simple. A bestie back home might know everything about you, but in your new area, this might become a small group of friends and acquaintances who fill different needs – intense conversation, fun nights out, activity partners – without the pressure of a “best friend” title.
- Put yourself out there. If you have a friend or two, let them set you up. When you get invited to that first tentative hangout, say yes. Trade Netflix in for something more interesting. Shake things up a little and watch them fall into place neater than before!
Overall, don’t be afraid to go out and meet new people. Having friends in a new place at times could be the key to happiness!
My name is Kristen and I am an account manager at a public relations firm. I love traveling and food!