About a year ago, a friend of mine took a job in a new city where she knew absolutely no one. She managed to score her dream apartment, and after arriving, spent her first few weeks decorating it, and making it her own.
Before she knew it, almost a month had gone by, and suddenly, it was Saturday night. She realized she didn’t have one single person to call to join her out for dinner, drinks or just a good conversation. She promised herself right then and there that she’d make it a priority to meet new friends, and turn her new town into home.
A year later, she’s found a great group of friends that she spends her free time with. Together, they’re going to yoga, heading out for cocktails and traveling to nearby sporting events. She didn’t reinvent the wheel to find her “people,” but she did have to put herself out there. I asked her for some advice to share on how she did it, and together, we came up with these Top 5 Tips for Meeting New People.
If you’re new to town, or just haven’t had time to make new friendships, and are ready to spend your Spring and Summer in the company of others, these tips are for you. After all, exploring a new town or neighborhood can be an exciting adventure, especially when you’ve got strength in numbers.
- Open your mind. Stay open to making totally new kinds of friends than you’ve ever had before. You may find that your younger or older neighbor has more in common with you than you might have imagined, and the quiet gal, always reading by herself on the clubhouse couch may have a lot of interesting stories to share.
- Put yourself out there. Let’s face it: if we don’t do the work, we rarely see results, right? If you want to meet people, you’ve got to literally walk up to someone and say hello. Try to let go of your fears of rejection, and be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. You might just end up meeting a new friend for life, AND growing your self-esteem in leaps and bounds.
- Get involved. Take a class, join a club, volunteer at your local shelter. It may seem obvious, but in order to meet people, you’ll have to go where like-minded people are. If you love zumba, or are crazy for bootcamp, sign up for a local class, and don’t be shy when you arrive. If you’re fired up about animal rescue, volunteer a few hours of your time on weekends. Whatever you’re passionate about, head out and go do that with other people. You’re bound to find folks who have at least something in common with you.
- Use your resources. Ask friends and family if they know anyone in your new town/neighborhood who might be willing to introduce you and show you around. It makes a world of difference to just have one contact to help you navigate the social scene. Also, don’t be afraid to also ask your leasing professionals and property managers to give you tips on places to go, or people to meet. They're a wealth of local information!
- Be willing to head out alone and explore. If you’ve never dined out alone, now might be a good time to try. Plop down at the bar at a local restaurant, and strike up a conversation with the bartender. Head out to a local museum and explore a new exhibit, by yourself. Remember that you’ll certainly meet people along the way, but you may also learn that you’re your own favorite company!
Most of all, be patient and remember that it takes time to form new friendships, but it's worth the wait!