How to Make Friends in a New City


You probably moved to a new city for that new damn job which has great pay but doesn’t come with a pre-packaged box of new friends. Everyone thinks about this when considering a move out of their safe zone. Needless to say, I know how it feels to think about making new friends in a new place too. And, we’ve all been there. This is the hard truth for anyone in their “after-the-fun-twenties” time of their lives.

Or for those who made amazing friends in school or college, but then all of you happened to move to different states or countries. Summation of my early friendships. And honestly, as our lives evolve and as we grow, we will, at some point (probably) move physically too. Although making new friends can seem like a daunting and slightly impossible task, it is all about your approach to it. Let’s break this down real quick.

Q1. Why was it so easy to make friends in school or college?

There are multiple reasons for this question. For starters, when you were in your teens or early twenties, you hardly had any inhibitions. The world was your oyster. You were surrounded by people who were of similar age and maturity, and also probably lived close to you. It was easy to visit them. It felt safe (for most of us) to invite them home and subconsciously have them vetted by our parents. And you pretty much knew that they would probably be around for a few years and that is in itself was, comforting and a foundation to build that friendship.

Another reason why it’s easy to make friends when we are younger and pretty much physically stay put, is that you don’t have a lot of deep-seated beliefs or opinions. This makes you more open to connect with others, rather than judge them for a point of view that may be different than yours. You let things roll off more easily than you would now. Knowing this should help you open up to the possibility of being vulnerable enough to move onto “how”.

Q2. So, how am I going to make new friends?

We all know that we are a species that needs others. We rely on others for a lot. And research continues to show us why we need to have good friendships, as stated here by the Mayo Clinic. There are many options to meet people and start to make friends in new cities. We will explore a few here. However, what you should remember is that while it is important to be vulnerable and make new friends, do this for the right reasons. If you’re trying to make friends because you don’t like to be alone with yourself, that’s another situation and you can read about that in my post about being your own best friend. Also, with any suggestion, do your due diligence about your new acquaintance. Just because someone is nice at face value, doesn’t mean they can be trusted. With anything in life, trust but verify and also be cautious.

1. Online Apps

As much as we (and I’m talking for myself while in my 30s) want to hate on Social Media for all the negativity it’s brought into our lives, I think it deserves some credit too. It has definitely brought in a certain level of positivity into our lives too. So that’s where we are going to start. There are many apps out there to help you connect with people. Anything from joining hiking groups, to setting up a lunch with people you don’t know (in an effort to get to know them). While I am not a subscriber for these types of services anymore, I think if you are open to this, try it out. But also, be careful. Catfishing is not about fishing for cat.

2. Community Events

If you stop for a bit and look around you you’ll find a ton of community events happening around you. From your apartment complex, to your local grocer (umm yea, Whole Foods has a entire calendar of events you can attend), and to your fave coffee shop. All these places will have some events posted up somewhere. Look out for these events and attend a few that you are comfortable with. If you are an introvert, tell yourself that you will make the effort to step out of your comfort zone once a month. And give yourself the authority to leave anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. But, at least you would have tried.

3. Religious Events

If you are part of your Church, Temple, etc., they undoubtedly have events that you could attend. These are usually free and if you have already seen and maybe smiled at a few during service/mass, then that will put you at ease and probably make you more inclined to go. This is also a safer way to meet new friends since people in the religious community are connected and can help you vet someone if the time comes.

4. Office Events

So like I said at the beginning, you may have moved for a new job. Or, maybe not. Either way, your office or coworkers will probably have lunches or happy hours and that is definitely something you should attend. It’s a sure way to make trusted friends, because like in school/college, these co-workers are probably of a similar mindset and you can easily relate to them. I made two of my best friends this way.

5. Old to New Connections

If you have a friend who knows someone in the city you just moved to, ask them to connect you. Again, this is an easier way to connect to someone in a new city without having to fear the worst about new people. Your old friend would already have vetted this person so you are in a very safe zone.

In Conclusion

There are a ton of other ways to meet new people in a new city and form lasting friendships. However, you have to do this for the right reasons – meaning you want lasting friendships and it’s not just a numbers gain that you flash on Facebook. I know people who are proud of the 1000+ “friends” they have. We all know that is a load of bs. True friends are few and far in-between. While you are trying to make new friends, your intention should also be to make these meaningful and lasting friendships. For the more you put in, the more you get.

What ways have you tried to make friends in your new or current city? Share below!

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