The toughest part of moving comes after you unpack the last box. That’s when reality sets in and you realize, “This is home now.” It hits you that you need to start over and build up a new community from scratch. Unfortunately, there’s no Friday night social so you can meet people like there was in school. You’re on your own. Well, not completely. I’ve got some tips on where to meet people when you move to a new city.
Before you get started, remember to brush up on ways to make a good first impression and how to make small talk. If nothing else, remember to smile and make eye contact. Your body language can attract others to you. It can also give you the confidence you need to approach new situations. If you’re looking for places to meet people for the whole family, practice these tips with your kids to help your children out as well.
Reach Out To People You Already Know in the Area
If you’ve told everyone that you plan on moving to Boston, hopefully at least one person knows someone who lives there. If so, reach out to that person. It’s helpful if you can do this before a move, but after you arrive also works. Invite that person out for coffee and ask her advice about the city. If you hit it off, try to get together another time for a movie or something casual. Tell her to feel free to invite others along, so you can meet a larger group of people.
Find Your Library
The library is my happy place. I find it peaceful, comforting, and invigorating. It provides free year-round entertainment with author talks, story time for kids, and business workshops. The local library events provide an ideal place for me to meet people with similar interests.
Think about your happy places. If you’re at your best at a coffee shop or at a rock concert, spend time at those places in your new city. Also, even if the library isn’t your thing, check it out when you move for access to free movies and discounts for area attractions. In some cities like Chicago, library cardholders receive discounted admission to many of the local museums.
Join a Sports League to Meet People
You don’t have to be a star athlete to join an adult sports league. Don’t let your anxiety about not making the junior varsity team in high school stop you. There may be some leagues that are more competitive than others, but most adults are just out there to have fun, get some exercise, and to meet people. Make a weekly commitment to your team and see if anyone wants to join you for a bite to eat after the game.
Take Up A New Hobby and Transform Yourself
Maybe you’ve decided to use this move as a chance to transform yourself. After we moved, I decided that I wanted to learn how to play guitar. So, I signed up for classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. I loved every minute of it, even though it was challenging at first. It gave me the opportunity to zone out and concentrate on a difficult task. In a strange way, it felt meditative since I was fully focused on this one activity. There’s also nothing quite like singing with a group of strangers. I took guitar for me, not to meet people, but I made some friends along the way. When you pick your hobby, pick it for you. You’ll meet people as a side benefit.
Get Involved in Community Service
When we volunteer our time, we do it because we believe in a cause. Whether you’re involved in a pro bono case at work, your school’s PTA, or a local shelter, you’re giving of yourself because you feel passionate about it. So do the people around you. If you’re looking to meet people, this is the best place to be. You’re surrounded by others with your same passion and you’re all feeling good about helping others. The difficult part may be finding ways to volunteer in your new town. Once you find something that speaks to you, invest in your community by providing a regular commitment.
Learn About Local Events from Facebook Groups and the Newspaper
If everyone in town will be at the Fourth of July festivities, you’ll want to check it out, too. It’s okay to go solo. You may meet people there or at least you’ll be in the know for conversations at work. Search for Facebook groups in your area that meet your interests, whether it’s running groups or parent groups. They’re likely to post upcoming events about weekend runs or school activities. The local newspaper is also a great resource for discovering interesting events in town. While it may be difficult to go on your own, try to force yourself to go for fifteen minutes. If you hate it, you can always leave, but you never know until you try.
Have Fun and Try Not to Meet People
Your primary goal should be having fun in your new city on your own. Do things that make you happy. Although it’s easier said than done, don’t focus your energy on finding ways to meet people. Instead, focus on you. Use this as an opportunity to do all the things in life you’ve been meaning to do, but never quite got around to doing. Your good attitude will shine through when you’re feeling happy about trying new things. Find the courage to leave your comfort zone and you’ll be glad you did. Friendships will form without you even needing to work for it.