This post was requested on Facebook by my friend Kalyn. Kalyn asked me to do a post on social wellness and how you make new friends when moving to a new city. Now, I’m going to be pulling a lot from personal experiences as I have moved a few times in my life to new cities. My biggest (and scariest) move was when I picked up my life and moved to Kentucky for grad school where I knew a total of 0 people in the entire state.
Please keep in mind that this is coming from an introverts perspective and everyone meets people differently. But here are somethings that I have learned along the way.
Meeting new people, for me, is terrifying. I’m very shy and extremely introverted. It takes a lot out of me to put myself in a room with strangers. One of the first things I did in Kentucky was go on a staff retreat to West Virginia with leadership staff at the place I would be doing my graduate assistantship. Hi, hello, around 100 people, all new and no place for me to escape because we were camping. Needless to say, I really didn’t meet anyone new and stuck out like a sore thumb. I was completely out of my element and I didn’t really make any new friends. There were definitely people there that were nice to me and cordial, but I felt so uncomfortable. So my first tip, is meet people in a comfortable setting/environment where you are going to be able to portray who you really are. I met some of my closest friends in Kentucky at work and getting involved with work stuff because I felt comfortable in that environment. Other people I established friendships through going to fitness classes and just being in the gym. That worked for me because these are a few places that I feel comfortable in.
My other advice is to get involved. It’s scary (again, for me) to put myself out there. But I have found that getting involved can help you meet people that share the same interests as you. If you are at a race, right there you have conversation starters with people and you can start to gain friends.
THIS is a YouTube video by Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere. At around 4:25 she also touches on some good ways too meet new people.
I would also add to the conversation to have realistic expectations and be careful who you trust. I know for me, the first 6 months of living in a new place is about the time it takes for me to establish friendships. Setting realistic expectations for myself may be the best advice I have. I keep my social wellness fulfilled though by keeping in contact with friends back home (or wherever they are at). I also have learned the hard way to make sure that you are careful in who trust with your friendship. You don’t need to be friends with every person you meet (read: not being friends does not equate not being nice, use the golden rule but know that you don’t need to spill all your secrets to the first person that is being nice to you).
At the end of the day, remember to stay true to who you are. There is no need to jump through extravagant hoops to get friends.
Do you have a wellness topic you want my input on? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks Kayln for the suggestion! Hopefully this gave you some ideas and answered your question!