How to make friends in a new city.
You’ve done it. You’ve made the move. Whether you’ve moved to the other side of the world, or moved two suburbs over, you’re in a new territory.
A new territory means starting from scratch. Needing to find you new favourite coffee shop, the place you go to meditate, the best yoga class in town and where the craziest nightclub is. But something else that comes with moving that we often forget to consider is friends.
It’s easy to find that new café or yoga class, but making new friends (especially as an adult) is a daunting task, even for the most confident people. Having had to do it myself, I can promise you it’s a bloody difficult thing to do… but it can be done!
If you’re finding it hard to make new friends (wherever you are), here’s a few strategies I implemented into my life that actually worked. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to surround myself with a strong, beautiful group of people here in London, and I hope you will be able to as well.
1. Join a local sports group.
This has easily been my absolute saving grace when it’s coming to making friends. Not only do you get to play sport each week and keep in shape, you also get to mingle with like-minded people that you share a passion with. I’ve recently joined the Wandsworth Demons AFL club in London, and there ain’t anything better. Not interested in the sporting side? Loads of clubs offer ‘social’ memberships as well, which means you support the players, become a cheerleader on the sidelines and celebrate ALLLLL the victories with your club.
2. If there isn’t one, make one yourself!
Before I found the AFL club, I realised I was really aching for team sport. If there are zero sporting clubs around you, then this may be your solution. I wanted to have a kickaround of a soccer ball, but none of my friends were ever free. I posted on a local group, and soon there were enough of us to actually form a Facebook group. Lo and behold, we’re now at almost 300 members who meet weekly for a friendly kick-around and match. P.S you can join the page here for anyone London based.
3. Join as many Facebook groups as possible.
Now this has easily been the biggest way to make friends for me personally, and I really hope you can find the value out of Facebook groups as well. Two of the biggest pages that really helped me during my move to London were ‘London New Girl’ and ‘Aussies in London’. I know there are ex-pat pages for nearly everywhere, so just have a search on Facebook and look for local groups. I urge you to join them, and then take up offers for any coffee, drinks or anything else that sounds appealing. I’ve made one of my best friends (hey TJ) here from seeing her post on one of these pages and then commenting on it and saying I’d love to join. I cannot recommend this way enough, and if you only do one thing, do this!
4. Put loads of effort into work friendships.
At home, my work bestie was my bestie in real life. We were so close, and I LOVE having a work wife. Having allies at work makes every day fun, and make sure you put in the extra effort. Say yes to any events with work people, invite people to lunch or tag along on their morning coffee run.
5. Be extra friendly to everyone you meet.
This goes without saying, but when you’re riding solo for a while it’s super important to be friendly to everyone. Who knows – your barista might turn out to be your best-friend! It’s easy to ignore your surroundings and be caught up in the world of social media, but it’s going to be your interactions in real life with real people that have the most impact on your future friendships.
6. Be confident in yourself and go solo.
Don’t let having a minimal amount of friends stop you from doing the things you really want to do. Go see that movie solo, take that gym class alone and go for a stroll on your own. Remember, when you’re riding el’ solo people are more likely to approach you to make friends with you. You’ll never meet people if you never leave the house!
By volunteering at your local dog shelter or homeless help-center, you’ll not only meet incredible people, but you’ll also be giving back to the local community. It’s a feel-good, do-good love fest that everyone should be a part of.
8. Invest in old friendships.
This is a weird one, but it works because I’ve had it happen to me. When friendships dissolve, it’s not normally because of a disagreement; just a lack of time or interest from both parties. When you move to the other side of the world, you find yourself reaching out to these people because you’ve got more in common than ever. Take a chance and reach out to old pals living in your new home - you’d be surprised at how strong these friendships can come again.
9. Use your contacts.
Believe me, EVERYONE you know will know someone that lives wherever you’ve made the mood to. Whether it’s your cousin’s old best friend or your mum’s uncle’s cousin-in-law, take the time and actually go and meet these random people. This is especially helpful when you know absolutely no-one, or perhaps social media groups aren’t big where you’ve moved.
10. SAY YES
Sounds obvious, but start saying yes to new experiences and adventures. Take yourself out of your comfort zone, and do the things that make you feel a little uncomfortable. They’re the things that will pay off, and whether that means joining a local running club or agreeing to a boozy night out with your work colleagues, you will make friends. As Nike always says, just f*cking do it!
Do you have any tips on how you've made friends when you've moved? You can also read more on how to deal with homesickness here.