Last Spring, my husband and I bought our first house after living in a small town for five years. We were eager to move to the big city – I was ready to be around people again! Though I had a few friends living in the area, this was new territory to me. I didn’t know the best places to hang, where the events were happening, or any of the cultural norms in the area. This made it more challenging to adjust and meet new people than I thought it would.
Making new friends is hard, especially as an adult with the added layer of living in a new city. But finding those connections are so important for our mental health and well-being, as friendships help us find a sense of belonging, boost our happiness, and can help build our self-esteem. Here are a few actions I’ve taken that have helped me create new relationships in a new community.
1. Use your hobbies to your advantage.
There is a gathering, class, or event for almost every hobby. Finding group gatherings for your favorite hobby is a great way to meet new people with similar interests. I started going to dance classes and found kinship with others in our shared love for dance, creating an uplifting energy in each class! Whether it’s dance, gaming, or running there are groups out there to join – and while some may have a cost, there are many accessible options.
2. Can’t find a club? Make one!
My friend and I decided to start our own book club this year and have our first meeting at the end of the month! If there isn’t a club you see out there, but you know there are others who share the same interests, reach out and see if they want to make a club together. I’m certain they will be excited to come up with a way for everyone to connect.
3. Get outside.
Literally, take a step outside. When the weather is nice, I enjoy going on walks in the parks around my neighborhood, and I’ve met many neighbors this way and had several friendly chats that boost my energy. Bonus: if you take your dog with you, they are great ice breakers!
4. Mutual friends are your best friends.
One of the easiest ways to meet new friends is through old friends! A friend of mine encouraged me to join a recreational kickball league last fall and I met so many new people! And while it is intimidating to be the new kid on the block, they welcomed me with open arms. Now, I am in the volleyball league, too. If your friend asks you to join their group of friends in an activity or an outing, do it.
5. Make friends through community education.
As a kid, I would always get excited to get the community flyer in the mail and see all the activities they have to offer. Did you know they have activities and classes for adults, too? I was just as excited to see the flyer in my mailbox now as I was 20 years ago! Community education is a great way to get to know your neighbors and make connections as you learn something new. Classes are often affordable with a wide variety of options. I even saw a class for ghost hunting. Visit your city or county website to see what community ed courses are in your area.
6. Social Media
I know, we want to make connections face-to-face and get off our phones, but I have used social media to seek buddies who are interested in getting together. I have made fun memories this past year by asking if any of my friends on social media want to join me in attending a craft fair, farmer’s market, or play. Just throw it out there – you might be surprised with who is looking for someone to join them in the same activities.
Finding yourself in a new place can be difficult to navigate, but I hope these tips energize you to put yourself out there and create new connections!
This blog article was contributed by Sonja Swanson, Digital Media Specialist at Nexus Family Healing.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.