Moving is tough. Packing everything up, moving everything and then unpacking. Things never quite fit the way they did in your last place. You end up buying new stuff, and not being able to use your favorite things.
Yet the hard part does not even have to do with the physical act of moving.
The hard part is combating the loneliness you encounter in a new city. (Or even a new part of your city!)
I know how hard the loneliness can be, as I have moved 16 times! That has been a move every 2.75 years.
But one thing I can confirm - is you can meet new friends and kick loneliness out the door.
I will share with you my secrets to finding new friends and surviving the loneliness while you are figuring it all out!
As you are working to make new friends you still have to get by every day falling into a state of depression.
Think that might be extreme? After all aren't moves good for us? Sadly it has been shown that moving does impact our happiness. And not for the good (at least right away.)
But not to fear, there are ways manage your loneliness. I want to cover that first before we dig into finding friends, because the loneliness can set in quickly.
Sitting inside staring at four walls is no fun and can just bring on depression quicker.
So get out and get moving!
Use your time to explore and get to know your city. Every time I move to a new place I act like a tourist. This allows you to not only learn your city but gives you the chance to interact with others.
Bonus points on walking your city so you get exercise!
Your brain is freaking out that everything is different.
It is trained to keep you alive. Thus, it does not like change.
So, if you keep doing your regular activities like exercise, Sunday brunch or fishing. Your brain will relax a little bit because at least you are doing your regular things.
Plus engaging in something that you enjoy will help keep your happiness levels up.
Moving is full of stress, new situations and new emotions.
Make sure you are dealing with them as they come up. It is easier to manage as you go then to have to go back in five years and deal with it!
Don't have a practice? Time to start one! Journaling is a great way to work through everything you are experiencing. (For how to start journaling, click here.)
Until you have established new connections you still need to feel connected to others. Don't ditch your old friends.
Make the effort to stay in touch. Even after you make new friends, make sure you are still in touch with your existing friends!
Good friends are hard to find, so hold on to them! I personally still have friends from just about every city I have lived in!
Before we get into the how, I want to share with you a few things to keep in mind.
Otherwise known as co-workers and your kids’ friend’s parents!
Assuming that you like your co-workers and your company allows it, start inviting others out to lunch, or out for an after-work drink.
Have kids? This is a great way to start friendships. Strike up a conversation at a basketball game, or class room party. Whatever it takes to get started.
I once chased down a mom in the parking lot of the baseball field because my son wanted to have a play date with hers. I did not scare her away, we are still friends to this day.
This is defiantly easier in a house than an apartment, but still doable either way.
Strike up a conversation when they are outside. Attend community events. If someone else new moves in, make them cookies.
I once made friends with the couple that lived below me in an apartment, because I rear-ended their car! While I don’t recommend you do that, just remember there are always ways to meet new people if you take action. I took the action of asking if they wanted to hang out some night with me and my boyfriend! 🙂
This is a great way to meet people, help others and learn more about your new city.
Make sure you pick a cause that is meaningful to you so that you are enjoying your time.
Most things that you like to do will have an affiliation group or club. For example, there are running clubs in most cities.
Or if you love yoga, find a studio that not only offers yoga, but other workshops and classes. Go to the classes to meet others.
Not into fitness, how about searching for bird watching clubs near me. Simply take whatever you are interested in, and add club near me to a search engine.
One of the best things about moving today is there are more platforms designed exactly to help you find others!
I have used Meet-up for new resident events, book clubs and lunch groups. I have used Eventbrite for fitness activities, workshops, fairs and more. Not all will always turn out great, but keep trying and you will find groups that work for you.
I hear you, saying "this all great, but I am an introvert. I don’t want to go out. It drains me." Here are a couple tricks I have used to make meeting new people easier. (I am 51% extrovert and 49% introvert).
If you are going to an event, tell yourself you only have to stay for 30 minutes. And your only goal is to meet one new person. After that you are free to leave whenever you want.
One trick I use is to head straight to the bar if there is one. Even if you don’t drink and are just grabbing an iced tea, people tend to talk while waiting in line. It is a forced socializing place and can instantly make the night easier to manage!
If it is a large event, I look for the people who are not already talking to someone and may be off by themselves. They are easier to approach than the group of four women already in conversation.
If it is a sit-down lunch or dinner, show up early so that you can sit in the middle of the table. This way you don’t get stuck at the end with fewer options of people to talk to. (Assuming it is not round tables!)
Just keep in mind that us introverts are nourished by our really close friends (and alone time). So you need to make sure you get some new friends in your new city or you have to rely 100% on yourself. And that is never a good situation!
Now it is your turn. How have you dealt with making friends and settling in to a new city?
Andrea Travillian is an emotional healing coach. She helps clients break free of making the same mistakes over again. She has her MBA and undergraduate in finance and her coaching certificate. She is an author, speaker, and most importantly mom.