Having the love and support of your friends and family makes it easier to adjust when big things happen in your life. It’s often said that friends are the family we choose, cheesy but so true. So, if you move to a new city, away from all of your old friends it can be super daunting. However, just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t meet new ones. Here’s how to make friends when you move to a new city. From joining an interest group like cooking or reading, to getting out and about and exploring, there’s so many ways to meet new people.
Whether you have a close knit group or friends in lots of different places, having supportive people around you to help you and have a laugh with is so important. A 2009 study by Harvard University found that having strong bonds with your friends promotes better mental health, helps you make healthier lifestyle choices, and can even help you rebound from illness and disease quicker. Speaking to the Evening Standard author of The Friendship Cure Kate Leaver said, “social interaction can be scary, I get it, but be brave and ask someone out. If you approach it with the right level of friendliness, people will not mistake it for a come-on. If you’re worried about that, you could explicitly say ‘Want to be friends?’. I’ve been that direct before and it’s worked.”
A YouGov study worryingly found that, of the 2000 people they surveyed, nearly half of young people in the UK said they struggle to make new friends. Eighty-eight percent of those between the ages of 18 to 24 said they’ve experienced loneliness and 24 percent said they suffer often. If you’re nervous about going out and meeting someone new the network you already have might be your best tool. Leaver told the Evening Standard, “approaching someone online doesn’t have the same fear factor as speaking to them in person, and the risk of rejection feels lower. I also think people overlook a lot of potential friendship sources: we should talk to our neighbours, meet friends of friends, convert work mateship into out of hours friendship and smile at strangers.”
It’s often easy to make friends when you’re little because you’re constantly kept busy by being taken to play groups, to play sports and activities. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair told the Guardian “usually the basis of making a friend is a shared experience.” When you move to a new city it’s easy to turn down a lot of things and say “no” under the guise of self care because you’re too tired after a day at work and meeting new people is scary. However, saying “yes” and being bold will be the first step to get you in the room with like minded people. Whether your thing is salsa dancing or video games, there’s a club for everyone.
If you’re not sure what your thing is yet but you know you want to get out and about, then there are apps that are developed with the sole intention of bringing people together at events. From Meetup to Citysocialiser, your new BFF could be one click away. The founder and CEO of Citysocialiser Sanchita Saha told Metro, “I founded Citysocializer after seeing how isolated my friends felt as they struggled with making new friends when they first moved to London in their mid/late 20's. Cities in general are not the easiest places to meet new people as there is a lack of community. It can be really hard going from being surrounded with people like you, to feeling like you’re totally alone. You have to make an explicit effort to go out and find new “communities” you can be part of whether that’s taking up a class, joining a group like Citysocializer or seeking out your own [group] at work.”
Meeting new people can be a little bit awkward and embarrassing. However, by making an explicit effort to cultivate the friendships you have, reach out to people you think you’ll have something in common with, or find an activity you know you’ll love you’ll meet a ton of new people and end up exploring your new city in the process. When it comes to moving everyone feels the same but you’ll be settled in with a new set of friends in no time