How To Make Friends In A New City

It can be challenging to make friends as an adult in a new city, but with a few simple steps you can get out there and meet some great people.

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.

Meetup.com

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.

Volunteer

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?

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  • I’ve actually been in this struggle for about 6 months now. My husband and I moved to a new city and it has been hard to meet people since I am a nanny for a 1-year-old. 9 hours of my day are spent with her. Thankfully though, we just found a church and are hoping to get involved in small groups 🙂

    • That’s great! I can imagine that must have been really hard, since you had different hours to a lot of people. Good for you for getting out there and meeting people though!

  • With my hubby in the military this is a constant fear of mine! We meet lots of great people at church events.

    • That’s wonderful! I can’t even imagine how hard it must be with a husband in the military, since you probably move a lot! I’m glad you’ve found a way to meet a lot of great people though 🙂

  • We moved to Atlanta 3.5 years ago. We found a great church community, but the area was very transient so even though we have not moved…it felt like we did since half the church moved out of state. It hasn’t been until the last month or two that I am starting to feel really comfortable in the burbs.

    Something that helped me a lot was grad school. I met a lot of people with the same interests as me and it helped me professionally network in a new place!

    • That’s so unfortunate, Autumn! I can’t imagine how tough that must have been to have so many people you were close to move away. I’m glad that you’re starting to feel comfortable again, it really can take time.

      I’m sure grad school was a huge help!! It’s because there’s no school for me anymore that I’ve struggled with friends. Up until I graduated the easiest, and most natural way, to make friends was in classes and clubs through school or college, so without that I felt very lost!

  • These are all great ideas. I struggles with making new friends in my city but I was lucky because my husband (then boyfriend) knew people and I made friends with other girlfriends in the group. The gym is always a good place to meet people!

    • That’s always really great! It’s always been hard because so far the places we’ve been neither of us have known anyone!

  • We moved to Raleigh just 8-9 months ago. Making friends as an “adult” is so hard! In college it was so easy. Your point of just putting yourself out there and expressing interest in other people who you think could be good friends is totally true. The first 3 months were rough at first but I am slowly but surely finding people to make friends with. I’ve found that connecting with coworkers outside of work, going to classes offered at the gym, and volunteer opportunities are great ways to meet people!

    • It is SO hard as an adult! I don’t know why I thought it would be easy, but once reality sunk in I realized I needed to find other avenues to make friends. I’m glad you’re finding ways to connect with people now! That’s so important 🙂

  • I definitely struggle with this. I have found that church led to many new friendships for me.

    • That’s great, Brittany! I’m glad you made friends 🙂

  • Lorella Eliz

    This is so wonderful, and incredibly helpful 🙂 I can’t wait to travel on my own or with my partner. Either way, we’d both be happy to meet locals who can show us the real cool things these tourist guide programs don’t show us 😛 Great post!

  • This is so great…I am wanting to move south To San Diego..so this will come in handy! I love those meet up groups online..great way to connect
    Fashion and Travel
    Fashion and Travel

    • Thanks, Valerie! The Meetups are so great, but they’re also very awkward! I always have to remind myself that everyone is in the same boat.

  • I have moved around a lot in the past 2 years and it definitely is hard to make friends. I think it’s hard to make friends as an adult in general. Most of my close friends are ones from high school and grad school and I have been lucky to meet a few good friends at each of my short stays. But those friends don’t come with you (usually) and it can be exhausting and lonely trying to meet new friends in a new city!

    • I feel you, Jill, because me too! I think work is the natural progression to make friends after college, but even then it can sometimes be hard to connect with coworkers outside of office hours, but definitely not impossible. Just sometimes you need to try different things to meet people, as awkward or weird as they seem. It can definitely be lonely and exhausting, but when you do meet someone you become friends with and have someone to hang out with it makes it worth it!

  • Great tips!! I’m in a new neighborhood and it’s been difficult to make new friends…I belong to a gym and running group where I’ve made friends…these tips are great!!

    • Thanks, Jackie! Running groups are a great idea that I’d never thought of!

  • It’s always hard to make new friends in new places, and it especially seems more challenging the older we get. These are all great ideas!

    • Thanks, Dara! It get soo much harder as we get older, that’s for sure. It can be so tough, but you just have to keep trying!

  • Neely

    Its hard to put yourself out there but these are great tips!

    • Thanks, Neely! It is really hard to and is always something I struggle with, but I hope these tips help people!

  • Making friends really can be so hard! I’ve found that volunteering and getting involved in stuff is one of the best ways to let friendships grow naturally. When you consistently see people without having to schedule it it’s so much easier for those relationships to develop!

    • It is, Lauren! When I volunteered in Australia I met some really great people and because I saw them every week it was definitely a lot more natural than meeting someone and awkwardly asking if you can have their number and trying to set something up later!

  • These are some really neat ideas! I think I would join a book club or attend seminars. Good post! 🙂

  • What fabulous ideas! I wish I had them when I moved to this city last year. But now I’m moving again and won’t settle down for another two years. Great ideas though!

    • Thanks, Cassandra! I wish I’d posted this earlier then, lol!

  • It is SO hard to make friends as an adult – particularly when you move to a new place! Good for you for getting out there! I joined a choir when I moved to Denver and then a book club through some ladies I met in choir. It’s been such an awesome social network.

    • That sounds awesome! You can meet such great people through groups with similar interests like that and because you have things in common it’s easier to find things to talk about and grow closer.

  • This is SO on time for me. In my latest post, I was saying how lonely it is for me living overseas at times. I made a couple of new friends via social media using hashtags and I’m so thankful.

    All the best,
    Allison | http://www.LiveLifeWellBlog.com

    • I feel the same, Allison! I’ve been living abroad in different countries for a couple of years and it can be so hard, but you’re right in that social media can be super helpful!

  • Mimi Rose

    Great ideas!! I move around quite often as well and especially once I started working for myself, it has been hard to meet new friends since my recent move to Portland. I’ve heard great things about MeetUp.com – I’m looking forward to trying it out soon!

    • Thanks, Miami! You should definitely try MeetUp out, it’s really helpful and the best part is that everyone is there for the same reason– to meet people. So even though it can be awkward everyone is probably feeling the same way!

  • I’m moving in May to a smaller suburb, and after living in the city for four years, I’m SO NERVOUS. I’m hoping to make friends at church…and the gym is a good idea, too! Maybe a yoga class??? haha!

    Coming Up Roses

    • That’s a great idea, Erica! It definitely can be hard, but I believe in you!! 🙂 Good luck! Make sure to give yourself the time to adjust!

  • These are so helpful. One of my girlfriends is in a new city all alone trying to make friends, and has had a rough go at it, which is usually not the case for her. I think I’ll send this over to her!

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  • Tony Drex

    Thanks Hannah, that’s so helpful!

    My wife and I also used meetup, internations and patook to make some new friends.

    Internations is pretty cool for expats, I’m surprised it’s not in your list!