Many of us twenty-somethings are going to experience a geographic move at some point, whether it’s for school, work, or an inner drive that no one but you understands.
When you’re no longer in college, though, one major-big issue comes up: how do you meet people? Sure, there’s no guarantee you’ll make friends in school, but there’s a pretty decent chance you’ll make a few connections. When the time comes to make a move somewhere new, where you don’t know anyone, that’s when it gets a little scary. Here’s a few things you can do to bridge the gap from lonely newcomer to social veteran:
Give yourself some time to, well, yourself. It may seem counterintuitive, but a little time spent baking scones at two in the morning, going for a solo run by the river, or checking out the indie bookstore just around the corner is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t come on too strong to new acquaintances or fall in with people you’re not crazy about because you’re itching for company. And don’t forget to stay in touch with the folks back home and your BFF.
Some activities are notoriously friendly to newcomers: find them and join them. Swing dancing and other social partner dances are rapidly gaining popularity as a way to have fun and get a workout, and they’re popping up in cities all over the world. A quick Google search will tell you if there’s one in your area. For other activities, check out your local library or community center for eclectic workshops and events.
Volunteering is one of the best things you can do because it is both give and take: not only are you contributing to making this world a better one, but there is a sense of community and peace that comes with selflessly volunteering your time giving you an energy that ushers in a natural high. And guess what? The more you engage with the world, the more it will engage with you. Reach out to your fellow volunteers, start a conversation. You already have something in common!
Have the right attitude. You moved for a reason, not to find a replica of your life back home (or whatever home has been for the last few years). It doesn’t mean you have to give up the things that give you joy or bring you comfort (they make you who you are!). Moving to a new place is an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself better, to discover things about yourself you didn’t even know. Be open to new things, new people. Be brave.
You’ve done a courageous thing and every day you get another opportunity to take advantage of that. If people aren’t flocking to your door, be patient: sometimes the steps are infinitesimally small, but the payoff is infinite.