Amanda is no stranger to starting over. She’s lived internationally and throughout the U.S. With each sequential move, she learns more about how to meet people and make friends. It can be difficult to make friends when you’re single in a new city, but Amanda approaches this situation with confidence now.
Amanda also shares other ways she’s found to meet people after moving.
Recognize that Every City Is Different
Each city has its own flavor. Before deciding how to meet people, consider your new home’s culture. Amanda found that in Los Angeles people like being outdoors and many feel passionate about hobbies outside of work. After living in L.A., Washington, D.C. felt drastically different to Amanda. Washington, D.C. is a company town where the company is the government. It’s all about politics…all the time. When Amanda lived abroad, no one asked what she did for a living. Instead, people asked where she grew up or what she did for fun or they talked about sports. Consider what’s important to the people in your new city and then learn to talk to the talk.
In New Zealand, Join a Sports Team
Six months after college, Amanda packed up two suitcases and headed to New Zealand for the year. After seeing a flyer for tryouts, she joined the local soccer team as a way to meet people. “I can’t imagine what my experience would’ve been like if I hadn’t done it,” Amanda says. “It’s the best thing that I did.” Amanda’s teammates were from New Zealand and they soon included her in their circle of friends. The soccer team would bond during their drives around town to the games. They also enjoyed celebratory gatherings at a local pub or restaurant after the game. Although the New Zealanders didn’t need to make new friends, they befriended the American kid and it made all the difference. Amanda feels lucky that she stumbled onto this team where she made some of her best friends in New Zealand.
In Los Angeles, Make Friends In Your Neighborhood
When Amanda moved to Los Angeles, she only knew a couple people. She occasionally met people through friends of friends, but she quickly discovered that L.A. is a neighborhood-centric city. Amanda explains, “If you are dating someone who lives in a different part of town, it’s essentially a long distance relationship.” On the plus side, your neighborhood is a great place to meet people. People spend a lot of time outside, so you see them hiking in the park or walking to get coffee in the mornings. If you recognize someone, you stop and chat since that’s part of the culture. The night scene is also conducive to meeting people in a relaxed atmosphere. When you can walk to the local bar, you don’t need to worry about drinking and driving. From Amanda’s experience, hanging out in your neighborhood is the best way to meet people and make new friends in Los Angeles.
Wherever You Move, Cast a Wide Net
When Amanda moves to a new city, she sends that awkward email: “I’m not sure if you remember me, but…I’m moving to your town!” It feels strange, but the end result is a rewarding one. Close friendships grow from these uncomfortable first encounters and it’s a great way to meet people. What’s surprising, though, is you can’t predict who will become a good friend. Amanda reached out to dozens of people from different stages of her life when she last moved. The people she spends the most time with are not necessarily the people she felt closest to in a previous time in her life. Some people hold back from reaching out to friends of friends when they move to a new city. Not Amanda. She’s learned to cast a wide net since you never know who you’ll have the most in common with after a move.
Invite People Into Your Home
The best way for Amanda to make friends in a new city is by inviting people into her home. Any time Amanda moves somewhere new, she throws a party or invites people over for dinner or to watch a TV show. Amanda finds this is a good way to develop more of a relationship early on. The friendship feels different if you only meet at bars or restaurants all the time. When Amanda throws a party, she gets up the nerve to invite people she doesn’t know that well yet. Then, she expands the invite list over time as she gets to know more people.
Piggyback on Another Event
Every year there is a big Christmas lights display behind Amanda’s apartment. Since Amanda knows many people plan to see the lights at some point during the season, she invites people over for a pre-party. She’ll email the people she knows and say, “I’ve been thinking of going to the Christmas lights. Feel free to come over on Saturday at 8 PM. I’ll have snacks and wine and then we can all head over there together.” Instead of hosting an entire evening, Amanda likes to keep it casual.
Keep It Casual
Amanda prefers not to have a choreographed event where everything is perfectly planned. “There’s something endearing about saying ‘this is how I live, come on by, we’ll do a thing.’” Amanda knows there will never be the perfect moment where her apartment is immaculate and every detail is set. That’s fine by her. Her mother and grandmother always said, “If someone has gone to the trouble of inviting you over, you don’t look for dust bunnies.” Amanda agrees and she knows her guests won’t be looking for dust bunnies either. Amanda keeps it casual when she entertains.
It’s Not Brain Surgery, But People Might Treat It That Way
Some people don’t like to entertain at home. Because of this, Amanda has found that people are incredibly grateful when she invites a group of friends over. Those who don’t like to host at their own homes act as if she’s done brain surgery to have them in, especially if she’s unleashed her culinary madness. Amanda loves to cook and enjoys being able to share food with her new friends. You don’t need to do anything fancy. Just invite people over. Everyone will be happy you did.