How to Make Friends In a New City

This article has been syndicated from Written With Love, an InfluenceHer Collective Member. Read the full post here.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from starting fresh in a new city where I knew a grand total of zero people, it’s that making friends as an adult can be tiresome, daunting and at times, just plain awkward. Moving to a new place is one of the most exciting and liberating decisions a person can make, but for some, those initial months of getting settled in prove to be a real struggle. There were many a nights where I’d sit cross-legged on the balcony of my cozy downtown apartment, glass of wine in tow, questioning my life choices. My boyfriend is a social butterfly who has relocated numerous times throughout his life, so naturally, he had no trouble adapting to a new environment. I, on the other hand, am somewhat of an introvert who had just made a cross-country move for the very first time and was still trying to grapple with reality.

What I did eventually realize was that just like anything else in life, friends were not going to show up at your doorstep. You have to put in the effort to find them, nurture them, and perhaps most crucial of all – know exactly where to look. While you’re probably not going to find replacement besties in a few days or even weeks, these tried-and-true methods to make friends in a new city will give you somewhere to start.

Join a club, group or league that meets regularly.

Whether you choose to spend your free time running several miles a day (count me out for cardio) or with your nose buried in a riveting novel, there’s a pretty good chance that there’s a group of people out there with similar hobbies. A weekly fitness class presents the opportunity to be around the same group of people on a consistent basis, making it that much easier to strike up conversations and for friendships to blossom. Meetup is an app dedicated to helping people find like-minded individuals in your area, and in my opinion, is one of the best way to make friends in a new city. A small number of groups require a yearly fee in order to become a member, but the vast majority of them are free. If the idea of meeting with a group of complete strangers sends your anxiety through the roof, opt to partake in a happy hour.

Sift through social media for people with common interests.

I realize how unconventional – and to be quite honest, creepy – that sounds, BUT I have met some truly amazing humans from the plethora of Facebook groups I am a member of. Upon moving to Austin, I joined as many Facebook networking groups as I possibly could. If you’ve never taken the time to search through the ‘groups’ feature on Facebook, you’d be astonished at how many there are. A few months ago, I messaged a girl in a group called Austin Digital Jobs about how cool it was that she had her own freelance business after seeing her post in one of the groups – and yep, you guessed it – we’re friends now!

In another group, Girls New to Austin, I posted an open invitation to a girls-only pool party I was throwing at my apartment to commemorate the beginning of summer. I was a little nervous about blindly hosting an event because I wasn’t sure who would show up – if anyone at all – but when the day finally rolled around, a slew of fabulous ladies showed up and it turned out to be a wonderful time. Yay for friends! Since then, I’ve made a solid group of girlfriends that I can pretty much count on to show up places, especially when brunch is involved (see picture below).

Network. Network. Network.

I can’t stress this one enough. I’ve gone to several networking events put on by local organizations like Texas Young ProfessionalsBossBabes ATX, and Young Women’s Alliance, and I’ve met some really wonderful people throughout the process. I had a stack of about 200 business cards printed up last year when I changed website domains, and each time I go to a networking event, I make it a personal goal to hand out at least 10. Setting a goal like this forces you to break out of your bubble (which I am oh so guilty of) and chat with people you normally wouldn’t otherwise. You can network through your coworkers, through social media, through friends of friends – it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it!

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