It can be lonely and intimidating to move somewhere new, with no friends and no family around. Sure, you can throw yourself into your work, and spend a lot of quality alone time in the evenings. But if you want to build up a new social network, you have to be proactive. Here are some ways to get started:
Take a class
From sewing to kickboxing to Moroccan cooking, learning something new serves two purposes: it expands your horizons, and also throws you into a small group of people who share your (eclectic) interest. The excitement of learning will lift the new-city blues, and increase your chances of bonding with fellow enthusiasts.
Introduce yourselves to your neighbors
At the very least, you’ll have somewhere to go if you ever lock yourself out. Even if you don’t have a lot in common with the people living nearby, a simple hello and a smile might brighten a morning otherwise spent dwelling on loneliness!
Get a roommate
Duh! You’ll always have someone around, and if you share space with a local, you’ll have the inside track to becoming a local yourself. Just make sure you like your roommate—not just any old geezer will do—or you’ll just make your life harder, rather than easier.
Join a sports league
Just joining a gym is a good option—after all, it’s harder to be sad and lonely with all those endorphins coursing through you. But if you enjoy team sports, getting on a local team will not only prove fun and healthy, it will introduce you to lots of fun, outgoing people. If team sports isn’t your thing, try a specialized club, like a yoga studio or a country club where you can go golfing, to make connections with people whose exercise interests are a little more specific than general sweating.
Become a member of a singles group
Sure, you might meet the love of your life. But you’ll also meet lots of other singles, a.k.a. people like you who are looking for companionship. Singles clubs also tend to go on lots of fun outings, which can fill up your weekends.
Talk to people at work
If you’re moving to a new place, you’re probably taking a new job. Be friendly from the get-go. Even if you don’t find a BFF at your workplace, you’ll enjoy having a little human interaction until your social life gets off the ground. And you can always ask your colleagues for suggestions about your new town.
There are online networks of people willing to meet other people, for example, www.meetup.com. Or if you like travelers, you can start hosting people on couchsurfing.com, and join the local group of hosts to make new friends. Look for online forums and groups in your area, especially ones catering to your own hobbies, and then meet face-to-face!
Volunteering is the ideal way to take you out of your problems, and it’s likely to introduce you to other conscientious, giving people. Build some good social karma, and give back!
Remember, staying open, being friendly, and talking to people are the best ways to make connections!