If you’ve ever moved to a new town or city, especially as a post-college adult, you understand that it’s difficult to meet new people or find a community. While this certainly applies to dating, it can also be challenging just to meet friends, especially for shy or introverted people. The good news with our digitally connected culture, it’s easier than ever to increase your reach and find people to spend time with. Try the following easy steps to meet people and make friends in your new city.
Get in the Right Mindset
You’re already out of your comfort zone when you move to a new place and building a new network will contribute to this as well. Getting in the right mindset is half the battle. Before you hop into it, make sure you mentally prepare yourself. Here are a few quick tips and reminders for meeting new friends:
- Be engaging. For those of us who are shy or introverted, try to get out of your own head about your worries and instead focus on engaging with people. When interacting, don’t worry if that person likes you or how you’re coming across. Instead, actively listen and engage.
- Be persistent. You’ll have to put in the effort, especially with people who have their own network built up already. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to be your friend, or you should feel like you’re bugging people, just that you need to be the initiator in the relationship.
- Level-up your follow up. When you connect with someone, make sure to get contact info and follow up. Again, you have to be okay with putting in the work. Even a simple text or social media message will do. “It was great to meet you, we should grab a cup of coffee sometime and continue chatting about X.”
- Be okay with rejection. Some connections might not work out and that’s fine. When you cast a wide net to meet new people, they might not be as interested or vice versa. You can’t jive with all personalities, so make sure you don’t feel hurt when a friendship doesn’t work out.
Don’t Discount Online Resources to Make Offline Friends
While it might seem counterintuitive to meet new people online, (you aren’t getting out and exploring or it’s an introverted interaction), it can be a great way to break the ice. You can find people that are in your area and actively trying to engage with new friends as well.
In fact, a recent Stanford study found that 40 percent of heterosexual couples and 60 percent of same-sex couples met online. Which means, as far as meeting a new romantic partner, online is now the most prevalent way, eclipsing meeting through friends or community for the first time in history.
Try some of these digital tools to coordinate meeting new people:
- EatWith: Connects you with other locals to attend a dining experience, cooking classes or food tour.
- OneTable: Helps Jewish adults (age 21-39) find people in their area to have Shabbat dinner with.
- Airbnb Experiences: Offers unique activities hosted by locals, not just for tourists—you can meet new people and get to know your city through these experiences as well.
Turn to Your Hobbies
Shared interests are a great way to meet people with similar personalities. If you like a certain activity like volleyball, kickball or even dancing, look for local leagues and classes to join. Meetup is also an excellent resource to find groups for virtually any activity or interest. With Meetup, you can also dabble with multiple options, as they offer many pick-up games or one-off events.
Many hobbies can lead to friendship if you approach it the right way. For example, online gaming enthusiasts can meet new friends and partners using their favorite multiplayer games as a platform. A recent survey of avid gamers found that 44 percent of Fortnite players have met a close friend or significant other while playing the game.
Find Old Contacts and Reach Out
Social media is the best tool for this tip. You never know if you have an old schoolmate or a friend of a friend living in your new city. Do searches with Facebook and LinkedIn by your city name, then filter by friends or connections who live there. Drop them a quick line via messenger such as “Hey! I just moved to San Francisco. I’d love to catch up sometime!”
Alternatively, you could also reach out to your current friends and ask them if they know anyone in your new city. If so, ask them to connect you!
Build Your New Tribe in Your New City
Moving is stressful enough, especially if you’re starting a new job and living in an unknown place. When you leave the familiar behind, including family and friends, it can be very lonely and isolating. Don’t get down on yourself, instead, get in the mindset to meet new people and use some of the online tools at your disposal to increase your friend group and get acquainted with your new home!