It's time to stop struggling and start crafting that girl squad you've been dreaming of. It’s attainable (we promise) – all you have to do is take that first leap of faith!
While many of us choose to move out of town or state briefly for college, a substantial percentage of the American population chooses to live in or close to their hometown. But if you’re one of the 28% who has chosen to pack up your bags and try out a long-distance move, you might be feeling anxious about starting a new life in a new town.
It doesn’t matter just how much of a social butterfly you are by nature, making friends in a new city can be a daunting task! After all, we’re biologically wired to rely on good company and regular social interaction in order to feel our best. So where do you even start when you’re learning to fly in fresh skies? We’ve got seven tried and tested ways for you to get connected and make friends in your new city.
1. Fitness Studios
It’s pretty well known that exercising in group settings can help you to work out harder and stay motivated. They also provide a social element for you to connect with other ladies who are into the same types of exercise as you are. If you’re attending a weekly group fitness class at the same time and place, you’re bound to get to know the other regulars. Crossfit, PureBarre, SoulCycle – whatever your style is, stay a few minutes late and strike up a conversation with your classmates after class! After all, who could say no to a post-workout smoothie or juice together at a cute café?
2. Coworking Spaces
If you’re one of the 4.7 million Americans who work hybrid (sometimes in the office, sometimes remote), then you probably have thought once or twice about taking that remote work somewhere more exciting than your dining room table. You can never go wrong with a good café, but coworking spaces offer you a more structured option and could help you find a community of young professionals also itching to avoid social isolation. The major companies like WeWork offer coworking spaces all around the world, but there are also smaller boutique companies (that oftentimes offer very aesthetically pleasing work environments) that you can find by searching local coworking spaces in your town. Like with weekly fitness classes, you’ll naturally find regulars and can seize the opportunity to turn small talk into something more.
3. Groups and Clubs
Whether you’re venturing out alone or you’ve just moved to a new town with your husband, getting involved in local community groups and clubs could be one of the most foolproof ways to make friends. Hop onto your city’s website or peruse the local newspapers to find which types of groups exist near you. What scratches your itch? Religious groups, young professionals groups, book clubs, softball clubs – the world is your oyster and the connections that you make with like-minded people who share your values or common interests can be the longest-lasting!
4. Volunteer Opportunities
There are endless benefits to volunteering. You’re offering help to people who need it the most, serving worthy causes and making your new community a better place. Plus, studies have shown that volunteering actually improves your mental wellbeing! Since you’d be joining a team of people with shared values, you’ll likely create meaningful relationships with new faces who are eager to work as a team toward a common goal. Find your niche in helping out at environmental or wildlife conservations, farms, libraries, community theaters, animal shelters, youth clubs, scouts or summer camps, Meals on Wheels, senior centers, community gardens – wherever your passions lie there is likely a volunteer opportunity for you where you could make great friendships.
Before you pass this one over, let’s set the record straight: there’s a lot more to nightlife than clubbing. Clubbing might not be your scene, and rightfully so, but evening social settings are some of the best places to unwind after a long work day and connect with the locals. For instance, some coffee shops do nighttime open mic nights where local musicians perform, some breweries or community centers host trivia nights or board game nights, and of course, there are bigger city-wide offerings like cultural events or concerts in the park. Sometimes, citywide events are even free! If you’re an old soul, try searching if your new town has a supper club for you to enjoy a classy meal and a glass of wine alongside some great live music. There’s a lot more nightlife out there for you to meet new friends beyond your stereotypical clubs and bars!
6. Take a Class
Most cities have a community college nearby with plenty of continuing education opportunities. Perhaps you’d like to brush up on your French skills that you started to develop during high school or maybe you’d like to get better at baking. The city itself might even offer adult education classes in things like ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, photography, painting, and more. Oftentimes, classes involve group activities which are a foolproof way to get to know someone local. It’s a total win-win: you improve your skills and you might find your new bestie.
7. Hone Your Digital Tools
First things first, dating apps usually suck. But apps meant to connect people for non-dating purposes totally serve a worthy motive! There are also specific apps tailored to help you find friends like Meetup or Nextdoor. Ever heard of Peanut? It has been called the Tinder for moms, connecting “women who are at a similar stage in life – from fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood”. Got a dog? There’s an app to meet people at dog parks called Meet My Dog!
You can also use apps you already have to join local communities, like scrolling Groups on Facebook in the Discover section under the keywords “new to the area” or searching Instagram through hashtags or geotags specific to your area. There’s so much to discover; for example, if you’re big on craft food and just moved to Virginia, try searching through #virginiafoodie so you can find and follow girls who have similar interests. If you like and comment on their content and eventually build up the confidence to DM them, try asking to meet up for a latte or to try out a new happy hour spot that you’ve heard amazing things about.
Getting out of your comfort zone and taking that initial leap of faith to make new connections can seem like an uphill battle, but the payoff is priceless.
We need trusted girlfriends to share both the good times and the difficult ones with, keep our perspectives broad, and act as one another’s best cheerleaders. The good news is that there are endless opportunities to build bonds with fellow ladies no matter where you end up geographically located!
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