How to Make Friends when you Move to a New Location

I caught the travel bug early in life, thanks to a family spread out around the world, and parents who were always on the move. I moved around so often that until high school, I never spent more than 2 years at any school.

One of the most difficult problems for both children and adults in this situation, is leaving their connections behind and forming new ones. Some people adjust easily, make new friends, and never look back. Others have a tough time adjusting, and may never truly settle into their new homes.

If you’re one of the latter, and have moved or expect to move soon, here’s how to shake things up and make great new friends in your new location.

Tinder

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The absolute worst thing you can do shortly after moving is to become sucked into a new relationship. Your partner will inevitably have friends and hobbies to keep them occupied, while for a time, your social life will revolve around them. This creates an unfavourable scenario for both parties involved.

So why suggest Tinder? Because contrary to what pop culture and the media says, Tinder is exactly what it calls itself – a social media app. There are many people on Tinder who are new to the area, just like you, and looking to meet people they can hang out with. Nothing more. 

I met my best friend in Atlanta on Tinder. We have never had a romantic or physical relationship. In fact, while living in Jamaica, the expats I met were the very people who convinced me to quit my job, live a more minimalist lifestyle, grab life by the horns, and take a chance.

In short, I wouldn’t be where I am now, if it wasn’t for my Tinder matches. I still keep in touch with many of them, as they continue their adventures around the world.

Be sure to put in your profile that you’re only there for friends. State the kind of people you’d like to meet, what interests you expect to have in common, and save the more revealing pictures for when your intentions change.

Meetup

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To skip the grey line between dating app and social media, there’s Meetup. This is a great way to join groups that share common interests, and enjoy fun activities together. This could range anywhere from kayaking to international trips to wine tasting.

Like Tinder, Meetup is an app you can install on your phone. However, unlike Tinder, you can also use the web version. You simply join groups, RSVP to their events, show up, and meet people. It’s as simple as that.

If you’re en entrepreneur and moving homes also meant moving your business, this is a great way to meet people in your line of work, or who may need your services. Especially in more developed areas, there’s a group for just about everything.

Though Meetup is not a dating app, remember you’re still meeting strangers from the internet, so exercise the same caution. Always let a family member or friend know where you’re headed off to, and beware of handing out any personal information.

Some meet-ups occasionally only have a handful of people turn up, or one, or none at all. So prepare for a potentially more intimate meeting than you originally planned for, even if the group size was 200 and 50 people promised to show.

Uber & Lfyt

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Whether you’re the driver or the passenger, ridesharing is a great way to meet new people in a new area.

On trains and buses, people tend to maintain more personal space. We put our earphones in, even when we’re not listening to a damn thing. We focus our attention on our phone screens or what’s going on outside the window, and hope no one ever sits beside us.

Ridesharing in Uber and Lyft is a lot more personal and casual experience. The drivers are usually very friendly, and will be happy to entertain you. In fact, many rideshare drivers have told me that what they love most about their job is meeting new people.

My Junior Editor, Tristan O’Bryan, does ridesharing in his free time and has had his fair share of adventures along the way.

Head for the Mothership

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The best way to meet people you will have things in common with, is to meet them in their element. Invariably, foodies will be at restaurants; party girls at the club; fitness junkies at the gym; music lovers at concerts and festivals; and hikers on the trails.

Often, when we meet people in more neutral settings, they may lie about their interests because they are so focused on being liked.

The problem comes in when you think you’ve found a great hiking buddy and they show up in a polo shirt and their good shoes, and spend the entire time complaining about the heat and the bugs…

In short, the best way to find the people you will almost always share common interests with is to head straight for the Mothership.

Go Out Alone

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One thing I love to do that has baffled my family and friends for years is going out alone. Just yesterday one of my friends said,

“How do you do it? I wish I could take a page out of your book. I just hate the idea of being out alone.”

So what do I do alone? I will show up at a restaurant in the city with candle lit tables, and enjoy a meal by myself. My company is a good book. Do I feel awkward? Nope. Other outings I enjoy taking by myself include hiking, the movies, the gym, and even trips out of state.

And you know what happens every time? I always end up being approached by other people. Over the years, I’ve learned that people are less likely to approach you when you’re with your pack. So if you want to meet new people, ditch the gang. Alone, people are more likely to gravitate towards you.

If you’re a female, take care with this tactic. A female by herself may attract not just potential friends, but predators, as well. As in all other instances, be careful about the kind of information you disclose until you get to know them better.

Be Social

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As I mentioned earlier in the article, the bravery I have now, I absorbed from the countless adventurers I met while living my formerly safe and routine life in Jamaica. Back then, I felt a need to overthink and over-calculate every risk and then would end up never taking any.

Now, I live by the mantra:

Success is for the bold.

That said, if you see someone who looks like the kind of person you would like to have in your social circle, approach them when you get the chance.

I pet almost every dog I run into on the trails, have a quick chat with their owners, and then move on. Once or twice, I’ve had a chat that was so interesting, we exchanged numbers and hung out some other time.

Similarly, if you’re sitting at the table next to me and butt into my conversation (which happens almost every time I go out), I’ll let you. Before long, I have three tables in the mix. If I see you reading a book, and it’s one I read and love, I might ask you about it.

Why? The better question is, why not?

Life is full of nos, but opportunities come to the people who seek them out.

Have you ever moved across town, to a new state, or a whole new country? How did you adjust, and how did you make new friends?

Alexis Chateau Black Cat

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50 Comments Add yours

  1. Vidisha Terdal says:

    This post is truly helpful! I am an introvert myself who travels often, but always end up being a little shy to confront people in public places. I love spending time alone but the thought of someone wanting to talk to me puts me back into my shell. How do you think I can build up my confidence, to be able to approach people freely?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Vidisha, I’m glad you found it helpful. It is a little nerve-racking to approach strangers, but once there is some common ground you can start off with, it gets a lot easier. I never just say for hi sake, even with very close friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Waooo….. I can sense the beauty of the life you living…. Beautifully written. Loved your actions as well as word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Chauhan! I’ve had my moments of glory haha

      Liked by 1 person

  3. HikingWoman says:

    I do so much alone. I really don’t have many friends right now and become accustomed to eating alone, going to the movies alone and I LOVE hiking alone. I guess that’s contrary to your article about making friends though.. haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, no it’s not. Going out alone is one of the tips in the article. I did mention I do exactly the same thing. But it also tends to be how I run into some of my friends. 🙂

      Like

  4. Great tips. Making new friends can be tough.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t make friends easily, probably because I feel so socially awkward LOL. I’ve found that 12 step meetings are a good way for me to meet like minded people in an area. Which is kind of the same concept as your Meetup tip😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a shame Cynthia, because I’m sure you’re such an amazing friend. 😊

      That certainly is a great place to meet like-minded people. I do wonder though what happens if one of them relapses, and how that affects the progress of their friends in the group.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Why thank you, Alexis!

        Yeah, relapse is a weird thing. Some people respond to a friend’s relapse by relapsing; some respond with a sort of urgency, (or fear, even) and they work that much harder at staying clean. It definitely affects everyone in some way, and it can often cause the members of the group forge tighter bonds to try and prevent any more relapses.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope, should it ever happen, that it makes you fight harder to stay clean 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It does. Whenever someone relapses, it scares the hell out of me and makes me renew my dedication to the 12 steps. Seeing someone relapse reminds me that I’m not immune; and that if I don’t keep doing the things that keep me clean, then it could be me that relapses. And I do not want to go back to the way life was before I got clean.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s a good mindset to have Cynthia.

        My self esteem is closely tied to my productivity, so anything that prevents me from being productive naturally turns me off. It’s kept me out of trouble so far!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Alexis,

    Your article hit home. I have relocated twice recently and in Louisiana. I didn’t talk to anyone really. I was there for 2 years and did not make one friend. Now I am in North Carolina and although I have a Meet Up profile, I have yet to attend any events. (I think that I am a little nervous) I didn’t think about Tinder in that way though I still may noy try it. I have been irritated by social media sites. I will say your article was very interesting. I do the alone thing a lot and I love it. Thanks for the good read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you stumbled across my article at a time when you could relate to it! Thanks for dropping by and leaving me a comment. 😊

      Tinder can be tricky since everyone is there for different reasons. It’s a good idea to read bios to make sure you’re on the same page. If you match and they’re not, unmatch and move on.

      I’ve been to 2 Meet-ups. My advice is to try larger groups if you would rather observe than participate. It’s easier to disappear in those large groups.

      But nothing beats going out alone. Whether you meet people or not, it’s a great opportunity to learn what you love, develop new hobbies, and spend some quality time with your default best friend: yourself!

      Like

  7. I don’t make friends too easily but I have enjoyed doing activities alone like going to coffeeshops, book stores, going to the movies. shopping etc. I recently moved to a new city and don’t know many people but, I made a new friend through class. I am also taking time to find the right young adults group and attend social events:).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great! I do think it’s important to enjoy our own company first and build awesome solo lives before inviting people in.

      What kind of classes are you taking?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah definitely 🙂 They are for my counseling program, (counseling theories and human growth/development). but I recently signed up for camp gladiator, so maybe I’ll make a friend during fitness class as well :).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope you do! Sounds like fun 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. yeah it’s going great so far.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s great!

        Like

  8. This is awesome! I’ve moved to three different states in the last three years and have definitely had a hard time finding friends. Granted, many of my activities are individualistic: blogging, youtubing,reading, but there are times when I want to go to a concert or an author signing or just like… chat with another human being that isn’t blood related to me. :p

    I have thought about utilizing a couple of your tactics before, but… I’m still attempting to overpower my disinterest in leaving my house that I’ve ingrained in myself since high school. Perhaps now is a good time to start, though. After all, can’t remain asocial in graduate school. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can completely relate to this Melanie. I joke that I have two settings: hermit and nomad. When I’m not hiking or traveling out of state, it’s really hard sometimes for me to find the will to go out. It doesn’t help that I work from home!

      My way around that is to ensure that if I’m meeting up it’s for a good reason. I’ll invite someone who loves a particular series to the movies with me, or a fellow band lover to their concert, or a hiker to the trails.

      I’m really bad with meeting up just for coffee, drinks, or dinner. If the person is one of those people I get into intellectual and academic debates with though, I’ll make an exception haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! My way around it is setting plans. If I have a specific day and time that I’m meeting someone and we planned it in advance, I feel obligated to go. I’m unlikely to back out because I’ll feel bad. And I know I’ll have a good time, but it’s the getting to places part that I have an issue with. (Reasons why I don’t go to the gym on my days off. ;p )

        But I like your idea. Doing something unique that you share with that particular friend. Cool idea! (Granted, I’m also a broke college kid. So… another reason why I stay home. :p ) Though, that’s why I host movie/game nights. Cheap, fun, and chill. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. College budgets are notoriously hard to fit fun into, but college is the time to meet people and network. Those connections will come in handy when it’s time to start your career. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. thexpatUAE says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the notion of going out to places I like and then striking up conversations naturally with people. I’ve met some of my best friends by chance and exchanging numbers at the first convo! I’ve also met a few souls who I don’t connect with but it’s all a learning curve! Love this post thank you 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad you can confirm that going out alone works. It’s the step most people seem reluctant to try. We’ve become too conditioned to expect company wherever we go.

      Like

  10. Wade says:

    It took me far longer than I care to admit to make new friends after moving where I live now. I met people here and there, but no one I got really close with. It wasn’t until I started training at the weird gym I go to that I really clicked with some like-minded people.

    I think you’ve given some great advice about how to meet new people, and I hope anyone who finds they’re lonely in a new locale takes this advice to heart!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Wade. I’ve met a lot of people out and about as well, but call few people friends.

      Intellectuals are few and far between here, since everyone is so careful about what they say. It stifles conversations, and there’s no growth, no connection. That’s one of the biggest cultural differences I had to adjust to.

      Thanks again for dropping by Wade! I hope you’ve made great friends by now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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