Making friends in general can be challenging, but it’s made that much harder when you’re in a new environment. I’ve moved a lot these past couple of years and I’ve struggled a lot to find friends in each new place for a variety of reasons. In Australia, it was difficult because work didn’t have anyone my age (or even close) so there was no one to meet there, and for the first couple of months we didn’t have a lot of disposable income so I tended to stay inside my shell a lot more.
That was definitely not the right thing to do at all, because the most effective way to make friends in a new city is to put yourself out there. I know it’s much easier said than done, but you won’t meet anyone unless you get out there and introduce yourself to people and give yourself a chance.
It can be scary, that’s for sure, but you need to give everyone a chance. Yourself and other people. I found myself judging others before I even knew them and comparing them to friends from back home. Without giving them the opportunity I missed out on potentially great friendships. Meeting new people can feel like going on a date, and not necessarily the good bits. It can be stressful and I always wonder if I’m talking to much, if they’re even interested, do they want to keep hanging out or go home? There are so many questions and it is not fun to be in a situation where you second guess everything you do.
The important thing is to not be hard on yourself. This is normal and it’s stressful. Making and keeping friends isn’t easy, it takes work. Whether you’re long distance or growing out of a friendship it’s normal, and it’s important to let yourself evolve. And sometimes that means putting yourself out there and meeting new people.
The natural solution is to stay inside and hole up and watch Netflix and eat pizza. That’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’ll only lead to feelings of loneliness and sadness in the long run. So pick yourself up, put on your favorite outfit and get out there and make some friends.
I had never heard of Meetup before I went to Australia, but one day I just Googled “make friends Melbourne” (it was a low point) and this site popped up. As it turns out they have this in tons of countries from the US and Australia to European countries as well. It’s free to join and once you make a profile you can request to join groups with people of similar interests.
There is literally anything and everything from photographers to hiking enthusiast to those who just want to go have some drinks or talk over coffee. I’ve attended a few of these events both in Australia and the UK, and while they’re terribly awkward, it’s a great way to meet people. Since you’ll have similar interests, you’ll even have things to talk about straight away.
Join a gym
Even if you’re not a huge fan of working out, gyms can be great places to meet people, especially in classes like yoga or Zumba. All you have to do is stick your hand out and introduce yourself, once you get over the self-consciousness you might end up meeting some really nice people.
Some of the most amazing people I met when living in Australia I met through volunteering at an op shop (essentially a thrift shop) for a local charity. It’s a great way to give back to the community, get out of the house and meet some wonderful like-minded good samaritans like yourself.
Join a book club
There are websites out there that help you find local book clubs and if you love to read this can be a great way to meet new people but also get to spend some time alone as well if you’re not an extremely social person. Another added bonus is if it’s a bit awkward you always have the book to talk about!
Attend local events
Whether it’s a festival or a market or even a street party get out there and introduce yourself. It can be hard to go to these things alone, but you never know who you’ll meet.
Attend talks or seminars
These aren’t up everyone’s ally, but if there are any talks or seminars going on that are of interest to you, go! Not only will you learn some stuff, which can be a fun way to just get out of the house, you’ll also get to meet people who are also interested in that subject. These are especially great because a lot of people attend seminars and talks alone so you’ll almost surely find a buddy to speak with.
These are just a few ways you can put yourself out there and meet people in the easiest situations possible. I know it can be really hard and it’s scary. It’s hard to make friends outside of college when you’re not forced together with other people through classes or clubs, so these are the next best thing. You have to make your own and if you’re friendly and believe in yourself I promise you’ll make some friends, even long lasting ones who will be with you for decades.
Have you ever experienced this struggle to make friends, especially in a new city? How did you overcome it?