How Can I Find Friends In A New City?
With all technology available to us today, the world has become much smaller than it was only a few decades ago. We can travel to virtually everywhere, and it also much easier for someone to leave his or her hometown and to study or work in a different city, or country.
I was discussing the topic of moving to another city with a friend a couple of days ago. We have both moved to different cities a few times in our lives, and as our conversation progressed, we agreed that for some reason it becomes increasingly difficult to move to a completely different environment with increasing age. We remembered, when we were 20 years old, how easy it was to simply leave, and start a new episode in life somewhere else. Today, we are worried about social security issues, insurance difficulties, finding and maintaining a job (or income in general), but also making friends.
For many people, finding friends is indeed the bigger issue, and I have heard this topic being brought up several times. One of the big differences for me personally today, is that I am not longer a student, but that I work full-time. I find it relatively hard to really create this deep connection with a colleague, since we are somehow related with work in the background. During my student times, it used to be so much easier to connect with people, because all we actually wanted was to have a good time.
Nevertheless, getting to know new people in a different city does not have to be all that difficult. All it takes is a bit of effort, some courage, and a bit of planning.
Courage and small talk
The first thing it takes is some courage; courage to do things by yourself, courage to go out there all alone, courage to talk to strangers. Many people lack this courage, or they would rather keep away from strangers, yet complaint that they are having a hard time meeting new people. I found, that from all the people I meet, I connect well with only a few. Most meetups take place only once. But in order to meet those people, with whom you connect well, you need to be prepared to have a pleasant conversation with a lot of people.
Especially if you are more the introvert type of person, it can be difficult to have a relaxing conversation with people you don’t know, let alone just to start a conversation with someone. If you want to know more about how to start a conversation with just about anyone, the follow link might prove to be useful:
Joining a club
One of the things you can do to start meeting people almost immediately is to join a club. Almost every person has some passion; perhaps you love sailing, then join an sailing club. If you are into swimming, join a swimming club. For martial arts, there are many different martial arts club.
The important thing about joining a club is, that you do things together with others, and as a group, and that you share the same passion. Sharing the same passion or interests is a very important element in being able to connect with the other person. By joining such a club, you can also share knowledge and experiences with others, or lean something new.
Beware of clubs, which is focused rather on the individual. For example, joining a fitness club or gym will hardly do any good when looking to meet new people, since most people go there individually or with some friends. The term ‘club’ is very widespread nowadays, but it is important that the club permits you to meet other people physically, and that you do some activity together with others.
Participating in networking events
An excellent way to meet new people are networking events. Networking events can be organized via universities or employers, but there are many online platforms, which organize networking events, also especially for foreigners and expats.
Two platforms I love are Meetup.com and Internations.org. Whereas the first site is a rather general site for meetups, Internations.org focuses rather on foreigners (but of course, locals are more than welcome to join as well). Also, you can look for opportunities using some of the larger social media sites, such as Facebook, Xing, or LinkedIn.
In addition to the big and international sites, many countries and cities have regional or local sites available, some of which specifically focus at meeting new people, or networking. Depending on where you have moved to, you can search in Google about meetup sites in your area, or you might want to ask around at work, at university, or in your neighborhood.
Joining dating sites
If you are single, and you are not the type who goes out alone and starts a conversation with just about anyone, dating sites might provide a solution. Dating sites are ideal in a way, that you are able to exchange a few lines with someone you would like to get to know, while still remaining at a distance. Also, via dating sites you might typically find people who you would perhaps normally not meet.
Also, dating sites are ideal for just finding friends. Perhaps you meet up with someone you like as a friend, but not for more. There is nothing against keeping in touch. Perhaps you can meet other people through this person.
The down side about dating sites, is that most serious dating sites cost some money. Furthermore, if you are spending your time on a dating site, you are actually still not out there and speaking with people. Many people on dating sites actually lie about who they are, and some of them actually never intend on meeting others for real; this means, you can spend a lot of time on dating sites without actually meeting someone. This is something to be aware of.
There are many possibilities to get in touch with new people, either through joining clubs, attending networking events, or by joining dating sites. Still, the best way is to start a casual conversation with someone you find interesting. This demands some courage, a bit of an outgoing personality, being prepared to explore the city and its nightlife on your own, and some good small talk skills. But until you find someone you can connect well with it might take a while; Building a circle of good friends is a process, and it does not happen overnight.