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!) This can trigger an episode of not loving yourself because you begin to doubt your decisions.

managing loneliness

I know how hard loneliness can be, as I have moved 18 times! Including moving overseas, across the country and just a couple of miles away.

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!

How to Deal with the Loneliness

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.

Don’t Just Sit At Home

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!

Maintain Your Activities

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.

Maintain Your Emotional Health Practice

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.)

Stay in Contact with Old Friends

Until you have established new connections you still need to feel connected to others. Don't ditch your old friends. Yes, staying in touch is harder long distance, but doable. Put a schedule to video dates or phone chats.

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!

Tips on Making New Friends

Before we get into the how, I want to share with you a few things to keep in mind.

  • You will have to put yourself out there. Friends are not going to randomly show up at your door. If you want friends, you need to get out and meet them.
  • You must take the lead. You need to ask for their number, or social media accounts. And then follow up! Remember unless you are at a new resident meet-up, most people you meet will already be established in town. You must do the beginning work to get it going.
  • This process takes time. All relationships need time. You don't instantly know each other. Trust and familiarity are developed every time you interact. Don't rush the process, but trust that you will get to that good friend level with time.
  • Stay positive. I know this can feel like an overwhelming process and one that will never payoff. But it will. Just give it time.
how to make friends

Ways to Meet New People

  1. 1
    Utilize existing sources - Otherwise known as co-workers and your kids’ friend’s parents!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, and we became friends.
  2. 2
    Your neighbors - 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.
  3. 3
    Volunteer - This is a great way to meet people, help others and learn more about your new city. Pick something you are passionate about and look for where in your city you can help with that. I personally love the arts, and volunteer in that area.
  4. 4
    Hobbies/Interests - 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.
  5. 5
    Work Associations - These associations can be industry specific, gender or city specific. For example, join a group like American Business Women or Society for Human Resource Management. Look for what is relevant to you and your job. Not only do you meet people but it can help your career.
  6. 6
    Use online tools to find groups and activities - I have used Meet-up, Eventbrite, Facebook events and other social media accounts to find new things to do.  Each city is different in which one is active and useful. Just keep in mind that not all will always turn out great, but keep trying and you will find groups that work for you.

Tips for Making New Friends as an Introvert

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!

introvert making friends

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!

Remember, while it might be hard at first, if you give it a try it will get better. And you never know where or when you will meet a life long friend.

Andrea Belzer is the founder of Aspirify, Inc. Andrea has her BBA in finance from the University of Iowa, her MBA from Creighton University and her coaching certificate from the International Coaching Academy. She is an author, speaker, and most importantly mom.