I moved around quite a lot after university. Thus there is one thing I can tell for certain is how hard it is to make friends! After you graduate, you are in this weird social void. You are not a student anymore where it was easy to make friends as you’d see the same people everyday. And you are not a young parents either so don’t get the chance to meet other young parents when picking up your kids from school.
In other words, you have no social situation allowing you to naturally and easily make friends. Sure, if you get along with your colleagues really well, they can become friends and you can hang out with them outside of work. But let’s be honest one minute. As amazing as it is to get along with your colleagues, it is also good to have a life outside of work with people not related to work.
Everywhere I went after university, I did not had so much trouble making friends. I always sort of had someone I knew, a flatmate I was getting along with really well and bloggers to shoot with. But landing in NYC, I knew no one. Literally no one. No safety net of any kind. And yet, I managed to meet people in my first month being there.
So, how do you make friends when you land in a new city?
A girl in London hooked me up with this Facebook group. The concept is simple. Girls traveling around the world, settling in new cities can all use the group to meet new people. Each major city has a chapter and a dedicated Facebook group, i.e. GGI London, GGI New York, GGI Paris. The admin of the groups are usually very active and will host one meet up event per month, allowing people to come together for a drink. You can also post on the group, introducing yourself, where you come from, if anyone is interested in going for coffee or a drink, etc. The group allowed me to meet a few girls I am now going for brunch or drinks with on a regular basis and a blogger to photoshoot with. Since everyone in the group is on the same boat, a.k.a new in the city and wanting to make friends, it makes it very easy to meet people willing to spend time with you and create an actual bond of friendship.
2. Meet Up App
This is an app that I discovered not so long ago, recommended by a girl I meet through GGI New York. Many things in NYC are more expensive than in London, including photographers. I didn’t have $500 to put into a half day photoshoot. Thus, I was quite desperate to find bloggers to photoshoot with. Meet Up is an app hosting many different interest and location groups. You enter a group depending on your interests, hobbies, your city, etc. I am part of two, both blogging related. I posted in one of those groups that I was looking for people to shoot with and got answers immediately. As, I saw other people looking for the same things, and managed to get two photoshoot scheduled with two different persons. There are also groups just dedicated to make friends in your new city. Even if you haven’t moved in a while, you might find groups for your current city.
3. Sign up to a class
This option is probably the most costly of all five I have for this post but it is also a good way to meet people that are completely outside of your usual circle. It can be any class, provided that you feel comfortable enough speaking with people there and actively try to make friends out of them. You could sign up to a dance class, a zumba class, etc. I have just signed up to a German class at the Goethe Institute to learn German… Making friends was not my first motive when I signed up though. My husband is German, which is why I am learning German. But it can be a good way to meet new people as well. You could get along well with someone there and they invite you for a dinner at their house, introduce you to their friends and you get to meet even more people.
4. DMs on Instagram
Something I find super weird are Instagram DMs. Especially because most of the time, when I get them, it is from weird men trying to flirt with me. I thus now assimilate DMs with creeps and I tend to avoid them as much as I can. But, when I was in London, a blogger DMed me on Instagram because she wanted us to meet for coffee. And we met. We had a great time and saw each other a few times before I left for the US. I told her how uncomfortable I was to ask people out in DMs, and she said she was the same at first, but it’s one way to meet people still. So I overcame (with difficulty though) my fear and unease of sliding into someone’s DMs and asked a NYC-based French blogger to meet up for coffee and maybe photoshoot. She genuinely liked the initiative and we are indeed going for coffee when she gets back from holiday. Who knows, we could start taking photos together and becoming friends!
5. Old connections & connections of connections
I did not personally know anyone in NYC when I arrived. I know people living in the US due to previous experiences abroad in Edinburgh and New Zealand where I met a lof of Americans. Plus, I also did an exchange back in high school with a girl in Boston and we are still in touch. But NYC, no, no one. However, a friends of mine has offered to hook me up with friends of hers in New York, or with people they know there. That’s something that could work too and really help you meet new people.
There probably are many more ways to make friends when you move to a new city. Volunteering, walk someone else’s dog, cultural events, bumble, etc. But remember what matters most is not so much how many people you meet, is how many you actually click with and the effort you make to maintain and grow this friendship. Seeing someone here and there won’t make it a friendship. Going for drinks once a week, will.
What do you think? Have you moved to a new city recently? So far from your comfort zone? How did you manage to make friends? Had you heard of GGI and Meet up before?
Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon,