You’ve just landed in a new city — how exciting! You’ve brought your clothes, books, mementoes, and cat, basically everything from your old life except…your friends. Ugh. Making new friends is harder as an adult, but tack on moving to a strange new land, and meeting a new tribe takes on a whole different layer of difficulty and frustration. But fear not, brave soul! We’ve got you covered with tips on how to make new friends when you’re living in a new city.
I should know. Six months ago I took off across the country in my red Beetle filled with suitcases, boxes, and, yes, my cat, to live in Prince Edward Island — solo. Catching up with my friends back home over the phone or online is great and necessary, but I longed for an in-person coffee or movie date with a bosom buddy. Connection is powerful, and whether you’ve moved to a new city for a job or adventure, you shouldn’t have to continue this exciting journey alone. And you won’t have to. Though it might take some time, there are some easy ways to help fast-track a potential new friendship in your new city.
Here are a few suggestions on how to make a new friend as an adult in a new city. I definitely approve of these — they have helped me out.
1Reach out to your contacts
Debbie Arcangeles, the wise host of “The Offbeat Life,” a podcast about inspiring individuals who ditched the norm and are location-independent, says you might not have to search so hard. Instead, reach out to your contacts and see if they know anyone in that city.
“You would be surprised who you may be able to connect with from personal connections already,” she told HelloGiggles. So spread the word to your network — you never know who might have an old college friend or nephew in your new place.
2Get out of your comfort zone
“Especially when you’re in a new city, you need to put yourself out there, and likely in ways you probably wouldn’t back home,” said Angela Melpolder, co-founder of The B Hive Apiary, a women’s social community with a mission to help women new to Austin, Texas create authentic friendships. “But the more you put yourself out there, do things that make you uncomfortable, the more likely you’re going to meet others in the same position as you.”
Maybe it’s stopping by a new neighbor’s door and introducing yourself, or joining more activities than you’re normally used to. The more you get in contact with people, the better chance you’ll have to align with a new friend.
3Go out to dinner solo
“One of the scariest and [most] uncomfortable things to do as a solo traveler or for someone new to a city is going out to dinner,” said Arcangeles. “Here’s a little tip to make it less daunting: when you go out to dinner, sit at the bar instead of a table. Starting a conversation with a stranger is much easier when you’re sitting next to them. There are no barriers, and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve created friendships because of this little change in my seating arrangement.”
Remain open to those around you, and even if you don’t meet someone, at least you can treat yo’ self to a nice meal!
4Join groups and clubs that interest you
Meeting like-minded people can be as simple as joining a new club or taking up a hobby that speaks to your soul. Maybe it’s taking a yoga class or volunteering at an animal shelter. You never know what types of connections you’ll make when you move towards your own passions.
“We started The B Hive Apiary as a book club and it grew to other events, like brunch, game nights, hikes, and dinner parties,” Melpolder told HelloGiggles. “There are so many groups out there that host regular events — find them and join!”
5Rent an Airbnb or stay with a host family
“One of the best things about Airbnb is [that] you will automatically be introduced to a local,” said Arcangeles. “You can create immediate friendships with your hosts and who knows, they may even show you around the area! Staying with a host family will provide you with instant friends and family and you will be immersed in the culture.”
So perhaps before you make the official move to your new city, you’ll want to consider booking a trip and heeding Arcangeles’ advice to get the lay of the land and maybe connect with a new pal.
6Be the friend you want
“Be committed to being a friend,” said Melpolder. “One thing we notice frequently is that women tend to say they want friends, but oftentimes either don’t show up to things or aren’t supportive or just aren’t a friend at all. You have to be present, work at a friendship (it is a relationship after all) and ultimately be the kind of friend you’re looking for.”
So if you’re fortunate enough to meet a new buddy and score an invitation to an event or a wine night, show up. Put your best foot forward and let people get to know you. Remember: You’re worth knowing. Your new friends are waiting to meet you!