You’ve just moved to a new city. There is so much you want to do, there’s just one problem – you have no one to do things with. And so you get drunk in your room and dwell on your loneliness, telling yourself what a big mistake moving was. You should have stayed where you were. Sure, life was predictable and boring, but at least you had friends!
In my 27 years on planet earth I’ve moved seven times since leaving high school. Each time I’ve had to make new friends in a new city. Sometimes it was easy as I already knew a couple of people who could introduce me to their friends. Other times it was extremely hard.
Generally there’s always a period of at least a few tough months, where you spend too much time in your room dwelling on just how hard it is to meet people that you click with in a new place.
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is an important part of life. I’m a strong believer that those who move to different places are more open-minded, as it’s likely that they have met more people who don’t think the way they do.
The places I’ve lived have had a huge impact on the way I see the world. We are a result of our experiences, and so if all your experiences are the same you can’t expect to grow much as a person. Of course you can have a bunch of different experiences in one place, but they will still be limited compared to if you were to move and get out and see the world and its people.
So when you do move to a new city, how do you actually meet people? As with anything in life, I don’t think there is a secret formula. However, these are some tips I’ve gathered through packing up my life and moving many times.
The best ways to meet people in a new city are to move into a flat with cool people or work in an office with cool people. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to live and work with people you want to be friends with, so these tips are on how to meet people elsewhere.
You have to leave your room/house
As much fun as it is drowning your sorrows in alcohol and dwelling on the fact that your bottle of cheap wine is your only friend, doing this is not going to get you anywhere good. Most likely you will end up homeless due to your alcohol dependency or in rehab. Yes, you will be able to meet people on the street when you’re homeless. There will also be friends to be made in rehab, but both are undesirable situations. You can easily avoid these options by putting the bottle down and heading out into the world to make friends. The friends ain’t gonna come to you.
Begin the stalking process
Thankfully many forms of stalking are legal these days. Find out where the types of people you want to be friends with hang out. Remember, not all friends are created equal and sometimes it’s better to have no friends than the wrong friends. You want to make friends with like-minded people.
What are you into? Do you like to run? Check out running groups. Do you like blogging? Check out blogging groups. Do you like to travel? Find a travel group.
A great way to meet like-minded people, Meetup is a website that profiles groups that meet all over the world. Meetup is a great way to find people with similar interests. And the bigger the city, the more meetup options you’ll have.
When I first moved to London I went to a lot of Meetups. I didn’t always want to go because I had to go by myself, but I forced myself to and something good always came out of it. I met some people that became great friends simply because I put myself out there.
Another great way to meet people with similar interests is to check out night classes or short courses in your area. Learn something you’ve always wanted to learn, maybe a language, how to play a musical instrument or how to code or design. Not only will you pick up a new skill you will meet people who are on a similar wave-length.
Stalk your favourite bloggers in your city, find people online who are doing what you’re interested in and reach out to them. See if they’d be willing to get a cup of coffee with you. It’s amazing who you can connect with online now. Obviously some people are off-limits (perhaps Kayne West won’t have time for you) but there are many awesome people you can find online who would love to meet up in real life.
While in London I found a girl’s blog who I liked and asked if she’d be keen to meetup. Now we’re friends. Some people will say no or won’t reply to your email, Tweet or message, but you won’t lose anything from reaching out to people.
After doing your research you must head to the events, courses and meet up with those you’ve stalked online. If you’re at an event introduce yourself to people. Ask them questions. Do more listening than talking. If you let people talk a lot about themselves they will go away from the conversation feeling good about themselves. Obviously you will need to do some talking (could be awkward otherwise) but make sure you do a lot of listening.
Figure out if those you chat with could be a potential friends. Never say, “I think you could be a potential friend”. It’s unlikely this will go down well. If you think they’re cool be sure to talk to them at the next meetup or event and then eventually see if they’d be keen to get a coffee or hang out.
Maybe you’ll be lucky and they’ll invite you to an event where you can meet their friends. Sometimes all it takes is meeting one person who has a cool group of friends and you’re sorted.
Making friends as an adult in a new city can be hard work. Usually it takes time and it requires stepping out of your comfort zone. But great things happen when you move past the comfortable. You may think it’s fine that alcohol is your only friend. Let me tell you, it’s not. Get out there and make stuff happen for yourself. And remember, every stranger is a potential friend, although some you may want to steer well clear of.