If you’ve moved to a new state, or even to a new town, you have a lot to do to get settled. In addition to finding and outfitting your home, you’ll need to do things like establish a doctor, find a good school for your kids, and get a new hairstylist. When it comes to starting a new life somewhere, it’s essential to also include creating a social life. Even if you’re a bit of an introvert, having at least some kind of community is important to your health. Studies have found a correlation between socializing and good health. But how do you find a new group? It can be overwhelming, especially if you know nothing about a new city. But there are some straightforward tips that can get you started.
One easy way to meet people and develop a social circle is to participate in an organized club or group. First, brainstorm what your passions are. Are you religious, or do you get involved in the PTA at your kids’ school? Maybe you love playing sports or volunteering. Lots of cities have a local Kiwanis club, school PTAs, churches, etc. From there, it’s pretty easy to do an internet search for groups in these categories or to even take a look in the yellow pages!
Keep your eyes and ears peeled. If you pass by a niche local shop, take a look at what is posted in their windows or on any bulletin boards inside. Sometimes local businesses will host meetups or advertise clubs or groups. For instance, a local yarn shop may host weekly knitting nights, or a bookstore might have a book club or poetry reading event.
Remember that the city itself has its own groups, too. It wants active citizens! Drop in to a city council meeting to hear what the important issues are. If you’re a businessperson, it would behoove you (and your company) to join the local Chamber of Commerce. You’ll meet colleagues and form relationships that will help you both career-wise and socially.
Is there a skill you’ve wanted to develop or improve? This could be a great time to do that and meet a new community. Through painting, dance, or language classes, you’ll meet like-minded people from all sorts of backgrounds. See if your local university offers continuing ed courses in a subject your interested in, or ask that yarn shop from earlier if they offer knitting classes.
Even if you don’t make best friends with the people you’re around, you can ask about what other groups and opportunities are available in the area. The more people you talk to, the more opportunities you’ll discover!
Strategize where you live
If you are within an easy distance of social opportunities, it’s going to be a lot easier to make the effort to get to them. Do your research about the city before you settle on a house or an apartment. See if you can figure out what community centers, churches, or schools are near you that you think you want to be involved in, and explore the housing situation nearby. If you need to visit for a few weeks before moving, take the time to do so.
If you take public transportation, make sure you know how long it will take to get to different parts of the city, as well as what kinds of transfers you need to make. If it takes a bus and two trains and over an hour of your time to get across the city to your where your best friend lives, you might be less likely to make the effort to visit. But if you live in a fairly central location (heck, even if you don’t), you might be able to have a prime spot for hosting events!