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You've Been Transferred: Making Friends in Your New City

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I don't even care about my love life right now- I need friends! How do I make friends post-college?

Finally, your boss calls you into her office and announces, “We’re giving you a promotion.” Absolutely enthused (what took her so long?), you whoop your acceptance. “There’s just one thing,” she says, “You’re going to have to move cross- country.”

The balloon deflates. “My friends and family are here,” you think to yourself. But the opportunity is so big you know that those are the exact people who will tell you to move.

Making friends in a new city can be intimidating, particularly because we lack the built-in social structures that propagated our friendships when we were children. No longer do we have our parents who arrange play dates for us, or do we invite our entire class to our birthday party just because it’s expected. And the open invitation bouncy house has morphed into a not-so- inclusive “guest list only” nightclub.

But making friends in a new city doesn’t have to be daunting. Rather, it could be considered as an opportunity to create an entirely new social circle and an easy escape hatch from past drama.

Here are some tools to help you to make wonderful friends in a new city in no time.

Visualize your future friend

Considering what you want in a friend is crucial to making the types of friends who will contribute to your life in a positive way. After all, as Sir Francis Bacon once said,

“Friendships double joys and halve griefs.” Consider this as you envision your future friends’ traits. What traits bring out the best in you?

Remember that friendships are designed to elevate, inspire, encourage, and support.

Those friends who fulfill us are insightful, open-minded, accepting of idiosyncrasies, honest, and loyal.

You also must evaluate yourself: Do you bring out the joy in others? Do you support, elevate, and encourage your existing friends? According to the Law of Attraction, we attract what we emanate. Therefore, in order to attract friends with the qualities we want, we must first embody them.

Talk to Strangers

Remember when your mother told you not to talk to strangers? Although this rule may have helped to protect you as a child, adhering to this later on in life will suffocate you- and it will also prevent you from fostering new relationships. Friends can materialize in all different places, thus engaging with “strangers” is paramount to making new friends.

So be friendly (but don’t be an idiot and talk to folks with creep factors set at 11). View others with compassion and gratitude before you even meet them. Strike up conversations with others on line at the coffee shop, the grocery store, at the mall- you will be able to tell very quickly if you are interested in spending more time with someone, and even if you aren’t, the positive interaction alone will raise both of your spirits.

If you do envision them as a potential friend, offer your hand out to the person, saying, “By the way, I’m X. What’s your name?” Exchanging first names will instantly engender a sense of familiarity. Then things can easily transition to a more personal level.

Follow up

Once you’ve exchanged information, then what?

Most importantly, save their information in a safe place. If a business card was the mode of exchange, transfer the info to your phone or email instantly. It would be a shame if a friendship ended up in the garbage can before it even began.

Then, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. After all, someone has to make the first move – and unlike dating, there is no rigmarole as to who that should be based on gender.

Also call, don’t text. Calling equals caring. Because texting and emailing have become so ubiquitous, when you actually pick up the phone to call someone, it indicates to them that you genuinely care about speaking to them- and that they are not just another number included in a mass text! Also, calling will give you the opportunity to connect with someone whom you may have met briefly on a much deeper level than would exchanging a few words on a blackberry. You will have the opportunity to get to know one another by laughing together and relating stories to one another. Consider this your foundation for a great bonding experience when you do finally hang out in-person.

Connect with your friends’ friends

As the world decreases in size, many people have friends in other cities. Talk to your friends from home and see if they have any friends in your new location with whom you might get along. Referrals facilitate a trusting environment, and chances are if someone is friends with your friend, that you will like them too.

Consider Roommates

Although living alone may be tempting, roommates can also be instant friends. you will both get to enhance your social circle twofold, by becoming friends with the others friends Websites such as roomster.com and roommates.com can help connect you with compatible roommates. These sites match based on personality type and lifestyle preference, so the chances that you will get along well, not just as roommates, but as friends, are good!

If even the idea of living with others is intolerable to you, consider living in a social apartment complex- one where people your age reside that has a main gathering area for socializing, such as a pool or a clubhouse. This solution may present the best of both worlds.

Join a community

Whether it is an acting studio, a synagogue, a community service organization, or a gym, becoming a member of a group-based organization gives you access to an instant community. Those who are a part of the community will be inclined to reach out to you because they understand that you have something in common with them, and because the more integrated a community is, the more cohesive.

Socialize

Making new friends will be impossible if you consistently go to work, come home, watch TiVo, and then head to bed. Put yourself out there– even if you’re tired from work. There are endless events that don’t require invites– art openings, fundraisers, wine tastings, history walks, etc. And some of them even will even provide food and drink!

Sites like Thrillist, Guest of a Guest, NYMag, and Grubstreet can keep you posted on events in your city.

Places to Make New Friends

Fundraisers
Religious groups, church/synagogue
Continuing Education classes
Community Service
Non-Profit groups
Meet-up groups, meetup.com
City specific social networks, (NYC- nysn.com) • Singles Events
Alumni events
Intramural leagues (zogsports.org) • Music groups
Dance classes
Yoga

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.

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