You’ve got enough to do without worrying about making friends before you move. I know. I get it. That’s the same mistake I made when we moved to Tennessee. I figured I’d concentrate on meeting people once I got there. Live and learn. Now I know that making the effort to make friends before you move is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. I’m sorry to do this to you, but I’m going to add one more thing to your already full plate.
Some of these tips are super easy, so it won’t take much effort on your part. For real.
Why Should I Try to Make Friends Before Moving?
The simple answer of why you should make friends before moving is that having a friend is pretty important. Personal relationships increase your health, your life longevity, and your happiness. You may as well give yourself a head start on that road to happiness by trying to make a friend now. Another reason is that the jump from no friends to one friend is much harder than going from one to two friends. Once you know one person, that person will introduce you to other people and the circle continues to grow.
It may feel strange to try to make friends from afar. For the extroverts out there, this may seem counterintuitive to your MO. You make friends easily and it’s never been a problem in the past. That’s true…except for when it isn’t. The problem is that you don’t know when you’re going to have a hard time. I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to meet people when we moved to Knoxville. When you’re craving social interaction after a move and you can’t find it, that’s when the homesickness begins. Be prepared by creating a battle plan early.
5 Tips for Making Friends Before You Move
Reach Out to People You Know
This is easy because you’re probably already telling friends about your move. Take it a step further. Ask them to hook you up with someone in your new city. Someone will know someone who knows someone in your city. You’ll want to get connected with that person. Forget about their gender, age, marital status, or anything else. It doesn’t matter. It’s a great starting point to know somebody, anybody in your town. He may not turn out to be your best buddy, but he can introduce you to other people or give you insider knowledge of the city.
Reach Out to People You Don’t Know
Start practicing your small talk skills. You’ll be using them all the time after you move, so you may as well start now. Talk to people you don’t know about where you’ll be moving. My friend, Ava, took her dog for a walk as she contemplated her move. The first person she told about it was a woman who was also at the park with her dog. As luck would have it, this stranger knew the Chicago neighborhood where Ava would be moving. The stranger ended up connecting Ava with her Chicago friend and she turned out to be a great resource and friend for Ava. In my interviews I’ve found that luck plays a part in many moving stories. Make your own luck and try to make some friends early.
Get on Social Media and Start Creating a Community
Other than posting some photos on Facebook, I never, ever imagined that I would use social media. Social media scared me. I had no idea what a tweet was and Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest sounded even more foreign. I was perfectly happy with my Facebook world and found no need to venture further. After some prodding from friends, I finally gave it a shot and now I’m hooked. What I love most about social media is that you can create a community based on your interests. For me, I’ve found friends with a mutual love of writing, reading, or running. Social media is ideal if you are moving and feeling particularly lonely after the move. I’d recommend trying a few of the different sites, because one may resonate with you more than others. Try to connect with others online before you move. As with any relationship, it takes time to build virtual friendships. You’ll be happy you have this community to turn to while you’re trying to make friends in your new city.
Follow up and Make Connections
After chatting up friends, strangers, and your Instagram peeps, you’ve got a list of people to contact in your new city. Well done. Now it’s time to follow up with those people. Send them an email, mention your mutual connection, and ask a specific question to get the conversation going. For example:
Steve Lopez and I work together at Capital One and he told me you’re living in Falls Church. My family and I are excited to be moving there in July. Do you happen to know of any good [pick your poison: realtors, neighborhoods for families, preschools, storage facilities, doctors, hair stylists, etc.]? Thank you so much for your help. I look forward to hearing from you!
As you can see, making connections can be useful for many logistical questions. When that person turns out to be a friend, you’ve hit the jackpot. That’s what happened to me when we moved to Chicago. A mutual friend introduced me to Lucy before we moved. She answered all of my questions about preschools and neighborhoods. Then we met in person and completely hit it off. We’ve been friends ever since.
Find Activities For Yourself Before Moving Day
It’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever have any downtime again, but you will. You’ll get to a point where you can’t possibly open another box and you could care less if someone took all the “miscellaneous” boxes to Goodwill. You’ll have maxed out on your Game of Thrones binge and you’ll want to talk to real people. By this point, if you’re like me, you’re going to be feeling desperate for friends. That’s why you should get your plan in place before you move. You don’t want to come across as desperate, which is probably what I seemed like once I hit the friend scene in Tennessee. Scope out classes online. Getting involved in an activity, whether it’s an adult class, a sports team, or a religious organization, is a great way to meet other people. Sign up for activities before you move, so you can’t back out of them once you get there.