Moving is a stressful life event in more ways than one, and making new friends is one of the scariest parts of a big relocation. When I moved across the country from Iowa to Oregon, my first big scare was when I realized I didn't have my best friends to lean on anymore– I was all alone (cue sad music).
What I came to realize, though, is that there really are a lot of easy ways to meet new people in your neighborhood, whether you've just moved or you're simply looking for some new friends to hang out with– it just takes courage, determination, and a few motivational pep talks in the mirror. Here's how to meet new people in your neighborhood:
Some of the first people you'll meet after relocating are your co-workers, so try getting to know the people you'll be interacting with every day. Not only will this make work more fun, but you'll hopefully get to know some similarly minded people who could end up being great friends.
Send out an email or suggest to a few close teammates that you should all go to a nearby happy hour after work. And if you enjoy each other's company, make it a weekly ritual.
If you're moving into an apartment, there are dozens of people in your building that could potentially become friends. Say "hello" to anyone you pass in the hall, and introduce yourself personally to those in the apartments adjacent to yours.
I know you love your dog like a child, but that doesn't mean you can't use him to meet new people. Take Fido to the dog park and other dog-friendly neighborhood spots where you're likely to meet some other animal lovers.
If you make a connection, set up a play date. You can even try to connect with other dog owners who live in your building when you take Fido out for a bathroom break.
Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who "lives just a few blocks from you." Take advantage of that!
People are almost always happy to make introductions, and the connection, however roundabout, will be a great icebreaker when you and that friend of a friend hang out for the first time.
If you have a cause you love, getting involved is one of the best ways to meet new people with similar values and interests– plus it feels great to spend time helping an organization you care about.
Look for volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood or city, and try to join in whenever you have some free time.
While you shouldn't rely on only the Internet to make friends, there are a few good websites that can come in handy when you move to a new neighborhood. Try perusing Meetup.com, which allows users to create groups that meet regularly around the city.
You'll find groups of singles, volunteers, yogis, photographers, and almost any other type of person you can think of. Look for a group of people doing something you're interested in, and sign up to get alerts whenever they're hosting a new meetup.
Classes and teams make meeting people easy, especially when they involve group discussions and activities. If you play a sport, look for a league in your neighborhood. If you've always wanted to be a comedian, take an improv class.
Is there a coffee shop down the block you can work in or a dive bar that offers amazing drink specials? If there's a great neighborhood spot nearby, you can bet there will be plenty of neighborhood regulars who frequent the establishment.
Spend a little time there and start conversing with some of the familiar faces you see often– you'll have at least a few acquaintances in no time.
Of all the ways to meet new people, the most important is this: Never turn down an invitation if you're free.
While cozying up in your apartment with Netflix and a pint of Ben & Jerry's may sound great, if you don't accept invitations, people may be a little less likely to continue extending them in the future.