Making new friends is hard! Throw in being an adult and uprooting to an entirely new city, and this feat becomes even more difficult. Making friends isn’t as easy as it was as a child. When we are five years old, all we have to do is go up to somebody on the playground or ask a fellow classmate if you can color with them. BOOM! Instant friendship.
I moved to Charlotte at the end of March, in the middle of the COVID Pandemic. After living apart from my husband for 4 long months, I was finally able to join him. Our new lives in our new city were about to start together. I wasn’t particularly concerned with making friends right away. For one, everything was still locked down by stay-at-home orders. Other than going to the grocery store, we did what we were supposed to do and just enjoyed being together again.
I’ve now been in Charlotte for two months, and getting out and meeting friends for some girl time is starting to weigh on my mind. After all, friendships are an essential part of life. As much as I love spending time with my husband, going out with the girls gives me something that he can’t. I mean, manicures and spending half the day at the mall aren’t exactly his thing!
Maybe you’re in the same situation and trying to navigate a new city and are feeling lonely. Or perhaps you are just looking for some new friendships, period. Whatever the case, it is possible to get out there, form close connections, and make friends in a new city. I’m not going to lie, it will take some work. Forming friendships won’t happen if you just sit back and wait. Follow these tips, and you’ll be making regular plans with your new tribe in no time!
1. JOIN FACEBOOK GROUPS
Immediately upon moving, I joined several Facebook groups for my city that were niched down to my interests. This is a great way to meet people who you automatically know you have something in common with. Some of these groups can even be gender-specific. While there haven’t been too many get-togethers yet, a lot of conversations have been started.
I was able to go out and meet a group of women around my age for a round of drinks just recently. It was a lot of fun and felt good to get out and meet some people. While it is too soon to say if any of them will turn into friendships, half the battle is just putting yourself out there. Not every encounter is going to be a good friendship match. If the first one doesn’t work out, just keep meeting people. Eventually, something will stick. In the meantime, just remember that you don’t want to force something that will turn out to be one-sided. It will be no time at all before you’re making friends in a new city.
2. JOIN MEETUP.COM
Like Facebook, Meetup.com is a great way to meet people who have similar interests who live in your city. You basically sign up, then search for your city. A list of all of the meetups being held will pop up. You can also make your search more specific. There seriously are groups for almost anything you can think of. Meetup frequency varies, and the location can be different each time within the same group. You simply just sign up for the events you think you’ll want to attend and go!
I used Meetup.com years ago in my old city when I was looking to get out and meet new people. It was a great experience, but about 30 people showed up to the event. I tend to be quieter in larger groups, so I was completely out of my comfort zone, and nothing came of it. I’ve become more comfortable in groups since then, and I look forward to giving Meetup.com a chance again in my new city.
3. TAKE YOUR DOG OUT
Nothing is a conversation starter quite like having a dog by your side. I can’t count how many times I comment on other people’s dogs while out and about, or they comment on ours. While these conversations haven’t gone any further than that, they very easily could. Dogs really are a great ice breaker! Taking your dog around the neighborhood is a way to meet some of your neighbors. Or, find a dog park in your area and meet other dog-lovers from your community.
Our new city has dog park/bars. Basically, you release your dog to run free and play in an enclosed area, and nearby is a bar where you can grab a drink. You get to keep an eye on your pup but can spark up conversations with other people that are there. It’s a relaxing, low-stress way to make friends in a new city.
4. GO TO A CONCERT
If a band or singer that you like is coming to your new city, get a ticket and go! You’ll meet people who also have a love for the music. While they may not necessarily live nearby, it is still a chance to make connections and friendships. If it is a smaller venue, arrive early and strike up conversations with the people in line. If it’s in a large arena, talk to the people in the seats around you. You never know who you’ll meet.
When I lived in Ohio, my favorite band would rarely come to my city, if ever! I would travel to the closest cities by myself to see them. At first, it was terrifying, but I made friendships that have lasted to this day. Whenever I travel to see this band now, I know that I’ll be seeing many of the same people lined up outside. Together we wait all day, catch up, and then enjoy our love for the music together.
This is a great way to get out and meet people within the community. Not only will you be helping out, but you can dedicate as much or as little time as you have. There are so many ways to volunteer for causes that you are passionate about. To name a few, there’s:
Children and Youth
Look up volunteer opportunities within your area and show up. The people that are there will also be enthusiastic about helping out the same cause. This can be a way to break the ice, start a chat, and make friends in a new city.
6. JOIN A BOOK CLUB
Not only is reading excellent for the brain, but it is a fantastic way to meet others. If you love to read, look into book clubs in your area. Chances are, you’ll be exposed to books you may not have thought to open. You’ll get an opportunity to read a new book every month and discuss it with fellow bookworms. Many times, the clubs meet up at a restaurant or over drinks. Some rotate between the members’ homes and are potluck style. If you continue to go month after month, friendships are bound to follow.
There are many types of book clubs that are narrowed down to a specific book type. If you love a good romance or mystery novel, try to find clubs that are category-specific.
7. TAKE A CLASS
Maybe it’s pottery or painting. Or perhaps cooking or baking. Whatever class type you choose, it is a way to do something you love while meeting new people at the same time.
Paint Night is a fun painting class that is offered in cities all over. To find one, go to their website and choose the location, date, and the picture you want to paint. Then, you show up to the place hosting the event, enjoy a drink, and paint. You get to take your picture home at the end and hopefully leave having made a few friends in a new city.
Cooking classes are also an enjoyable option. A lot of cooking-type stores will offer classes a couple nights a week, specializing in a specific type of cuisine. I’ve done one before that was just cupcakes. Two of the flavors we made were a Lavendar Vanilla and a Chocolate Espresso. Both turned out super yummy, and we got to take home the leftovers. Plus, it was a chance to meet other bakers who also shared a love for sweets.
Making new friends and adjusting to a new city can be intimidating. Don’t forget that many are going through the same thing, though, and have the same concerns. Putting yourself out there can feel scary and uncomfortable, but after a few times, the nerves will fade. Be confident, be yourself, and be open to new experiences. You never know when your new best friend may be waiting for you to show up.