It’s not easy to be the new kid. I know because my husband and I moved ten times in eleven years after college. Once you’re out of school, it can be tough to meet people. You can meet people at work, but sometimes that’s not what you’re looking for in a friend. You miss the crew you did karaoke with on Thursday nights, and your boss doesn’t exactly look like the karaoke type. I’ve been through what you’re going through right now. Here are some ways to make friends when you move to a new city.
To Make Friends, Put on a Happy Face
Maybe you’re frustrated with the hassles of moving or you miss your old city, but it’s time to put on a happy face. Stay positive and don’t complain about how the bagels don’t compare to the ones in New York. Smile at everyone at work, in your apartment building, at Starbucks, and at the grocery store. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s so important. By looking friendly, you’ll attract others to you and it lets people know that you want to make friends. Smiling is also a happiness booster. Even if you’re faking it, your body will feel happier simply because you smiled.
Strike a Confident Pose
Just like a smile can make you feel happier, a confident pose can give you the courage to approach new situations. This is true even when you’re feeling anything but confident. Hold your head up high with your shoulders back and go meet some new people. Make eye contact with someone who looks friendly and smile. Your power pose will help you feel bold enough to make the first move.
Make Small Talk with Everyone
Once you have the body language down, it’s time to make small talk. It gets easier the more you practice, so start making small talk with everyone you meet. Chat with people at the train station or at the checkout line at the grocery. Take every opportunity to talk to others, even if you’re not planning on becoming friends with them. If making small talk makes you feel uncomfortable, set a goal for yourself to talk to one new person every day.
While it may seem trite, the weather is a safe topic and it works. Casually ask a stranger, “This weather is crazy. Do you think the rain will ever let up?” If you’re dropping your kids off at school, introduce yourself to another parent, “Hi. I’m Ali. What grade is your child in?” Bring up any topic where you have something in common. Maybe you work in the same building or you take the same class at the gym. Ask about good lunch spots near the office or about the best yoga instructors. Small talk can turn into friendships over time.
Do Things Just For Fun
Forget about meeting people and making friends. Focus on what makes you happy. You’ve been given this amazing opportunity to start over somewhere new, so what do you want to do with it? Potential friends will be attracted to your passion and enthusiasm. It’s fun to hang out with people who are having fun.
After one move, I decided to pick up a new hobby. As a Miami girl living in Chicago, I thought I should embrace winter, so I signed up for ice skating lessons. It was awesome. I almost learned to twirl on ice. I spent my time doing something that brought me joy and, as a side benefit, I met some cool people.
Remember that Building Friendships Take Time
I had a tough time after our move from Chicago, IL, to Knoxville, TN. With three kids ages three and under, I left behind my close group of friends, other moms who had been through everything with me. We moved to a place where we knew no one. I felt desperate to make friends both for me and for my children. It was hard, especially in a tight-knit community where everyone already had their own set of friends. It took a while to make a friend, but eventually it happened. In retrospect, I should’ve focused on things that made me happy like my family and my hobbies instead of worrying so much about when I would make friends. Friendships take time to build. In the meantime, have fun doing your own thing.