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How To Make Friends In a New City In Your 20s

Wondering how to make friends in a new city in your 20s? After a big move it can be intimidating to meet new people. Here’s how to do it.

Let’s face it – making new friends when you’re younger is relatively easy. For most of your childhood and adolescent life, you’re surrounded by people your own age.

Our social circle for most of our lives are generally people we consider “old friends.” But if you move to a new city, you need to find a way to make new good friends to expand your social life.

On the playground, in the classroom and at football games on Friday nights. You sat next to the same group of people in your math and English classes, walked home from school with your best friend and shared a cabin with a group of girls at sleep away camp.

Years later, you packed your bags and headed off to college, where you were one of many nervous freshmen, open to meeting as many new people as possible.

Everyone was essentially in the same boat.

You crammed for finals with your classmates, went grocery shopping with your roommates on Sundays and walked to parties with the girls who lived in your hall.

In grade school, high school and college, friendships were generally valued in terms of quantity, not necessarily quality.

Then you graduate, move to a different city and start a brand new job at a company you’ve been reading up on for months. 

In the real world, you’re in an office, working alongside your coworkers who are all in different stages of their lives  – some are married, some have families and some even have grandchildren.

You’re no longer in the same setting you were in prior to graduation, and because of the distance, relationships with your closest friends change, and sometimes you grow apart.

Meeting people in the same place as you suddenly isn’t as easy as it once was.

So, what’s next? How do you meet new people? Where do all the twenty-somethings hang out?

Making new friends in your twenties can be challenging. But, it’s not impossible.

How To Make Friends In a New City In Your 20s

1. Discover your passions first.

Before making new friends, it’s important to get to know yourself on a deeper level. Life after college is completely unpredictable, but it’s the perfect opportunity for a little self discovery.

Ask yourself, what are you really interested in? What drives and motivates you every day?

If you love running, getting involved with a local running club is a great place to start.

Doing things you love makes it easier to connect with others who share the same hobbies as you, and will help you form more meaningful friendships.

2. Reach out to those with similar interests.

Once you figure out what it is you really love to do, reach out to others with similar interests.

Instagram is a growing community, and as far as social media goes, it’s one of the best tools out there for meeting and connecting with like-minded people in your area.

Maybe you’re interested in pursuing photography and are really inspired by a local photographer you follow on Instagram. Send her a private message and see if you can meet up for coffee or lunch.

Not only will this help you grow your professional network and give you the opportunity to grow your skill set, but it will also open the door to new friendships, too.

3. Connect with mutual friends.

Grab drinks with your friend and her co-worker she’s been wanting you to meet for months.

Connecting with mutual friends will help you ease into meeting new people, without the fear of things getting awkward.  And you can easily use free people search sites to get started and find mutual friends.

Because you share a mutual friend, it’s a little easier to break the ice, and it’s more likely you’ll hang out again in the future.

When you have a genuine connection with someone it’s easy to get to know them in real life. When you pay attention to that relationship, you expand your potential friends circle by a lot!

Exchange phone numbers – maybe it will work out, maybe it won’t. You’ll never know unless you try!

You can also ask family members to introduce you to anyone they know in the city.

4. Join a co-ed sports team.

Even if you’re not the most athletic person around, joining an intramural co-ed sports team is a fun way to let loose after work and meet new people at the same time.

Most young professional organizations have opportunities to join teams, from softball to sand volleyball, so keep an eye out for what’s going on in your area.

If it will make you feel more comfortable, bring a friend with you to help calm your nerves.

5. Find your school’s local alumni group.

Every city is filled with alumni groups, and joining one is a great way to meet people who went to the same school as you.

Even if you move across the country, chances are there is a local alumni group that gets together for trivia, game nights, etc.

Reach out and make new connections. Cheering on your school over chips and queso is an surefire way to form new friendships.

6. Be tech savvy.

Chances are, you know people who have met their boyfriends and girlfriends on apps like Tinder and Bumble.

We live in a digital age. There’s no reason why you can’t meet new friends the same way.

If you’re overwhelmed with your new work schedule and don’t feel like you have the time to dedicate to joining every club out there, sign up for apps like Meetup and Bumble BFF.

They are great resources, and can help connect you with people in your area. 

7. Don’t be afraid to make the first move.

Making friends is a lot like dating. And while it would be nice for people to always approach you at every networking event, remember that sometimes, it’s up to you to make the first move.

Be brave and put yourself out there. Go to networking events and proactively introduce yourself to people there.

It can be hard because you might face rejection when you put yourself out there, but it gets easier each time.

It’s also easy when you live a new town or a place like new york city where new faces are abundant.

8. Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the best ways to meet new people who have common interests when you’ve moved to a new place.

If you’re dedicating your time to a cause then it’s likely you have other things in common too.

If you moved for work, check what volunteer opportunities they offer. It’s a great way to meet different people, especially if you go into it with an open mind.

9. Facebook Groups

There are a plethora of local facebook groups you can join that will connect you to new people in a new place.

A lot of these groups surround common interests and social groups. They usually meet in public places like a park or coffee shop so you can feel safer going to them.

If you plan to meet up with someone, it’s always a good idea to let someone you know where you’ll be as you integrate into your new community.

10. Join a Book Club

Many libraries have local book clubs you can join. Otherwise you can probably find some on Instagram or Facebook or at There is also that is a good place to look too!

Book clubs connect you with people who have a shared interest. You’ll learn new things and who knows, maybe even meet a new best friend!

P.S. Remember the “Rule of 3”

It takes at least three touch points or interactions with someone over the course of three months to figure out if you’ll be friends or not.

New relationships take a lot of work but there is plenty of great opportunity out there to meet people.

You never know who you will connect with a social events as you navigate life in your new city. You almost might have to put up with some small talk to actually get into the friendship phase.

Why We Lose Friends in Our 20s

Some of the most common reasons we lose friends in our 20s are because…

  • we move cities
  • our careers change
  • we’re no longer college students living in dorms
  • we have less free time
  • each of us changes as people and our interests change

But none of these things mean that you can’t make or keep new and old friends in your 20s. It’s just part of life.

Losing friends can be hard on your mental healthy but loneliness has a bigger, negative impact on our mental health.

It’s okay to enjoy our own company but we all need friends.

In Summary: How To Make Friends In a New City In Your 20s

It might take some creative thinking and a little extra effort and getting out of your comfort zone, but you will make new friends in your twenties, thirties, and beyond.

The easiest way to meet people is to put yourself out there and gravitate towards people who have common interests.

Just remember, most people are going through the same things you are. You just haven’t met them yet.

What are some of your tips for meeting people and making new friends in your twenties?

If you'd like to meet new people, try these tips! Making new friends after college can be so challenging.

About the Author

Natalie Folchi

Natalie graduated from Xavier University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Public Relations. She works at a PR agency in Columbus, Ohio and currently manages PR efforts for a major restaurant brand. She loves photography, blogging, and traveling to new places, whether it's to a restaurant up the street or 2,000 miles across the country. She hopes to continue to surround herself with inspiring people and firmly believes you can learn so much from those around you--their passion is contagious. She also wants to make it a goal to pay it forward, and give her time and resources to those who are just starting out. She believes networking is the true key to success!