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.
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.
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. There’s a group for just about everything, especially in bigger cities.
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
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
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
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 woman, take care with this tactic. A woman 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.
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?