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5 Tips for Actually Making Friends in a New City


Moving to a new city stirs up all sorts of emotions at once; it's equally as exciting as it is scary. It's a chance for new opportunities, new experiences, new memories and also new friendships. Undoubtedly, making friends comes easier for some people. But for others, it can be hard to know exactly where to start—so we’ve got five tips for how to actually make new friends.

1. Take advantage of technology 

We live in a technological world, where social media and apps open us up to endless possibilities and people. Search on Facebook for any events in your area—and actually go to them! Use Bumble BFF, a feature in the dating app Bumble, to find a friend, rather than a date. You'll have the opportunity to chat with friends you match with—and you have just 24 hours to start talking before the match disappears! You might just be surprised how cool the people you meet are, and if you're feeling shy (or weird about making friends online), remember that your potential BFF probably feels the same way, and is just as open to friendship as you are.

If you’re extroverted and don’t mind group activities, perhaps Meetup is the site (and app) for you. In it, you can organize groups and events for others to RSVP to, or join one that's already been planned. It’s fully intended for meeting people IRL, not so much on chatting prior to a meeting.

Related: The 7 Types of People You Become After College

2. Join new programs

For Mara, University of Southern California class of 2014, the challenge was not moving to a new place but returning home after graduating college. She explains, “In many ways it felt like starting over in a new city, especially since most of my high school friends had moved away.”

Mara joined a program for new college grads in her company and was able to meet other people her age who had all just graduated college as well. Her advice, however, can be applied outside of the office.

Search for programs, classes and other fun activities your area provides and sign up! Your school's alumni network is a great place to start. Not only will your chances of meeting new people increase, but you’ll likely meet people who have the same interests you do. 

3. Be open-minded 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let's move onto the tips that actually have to do with you.

Making new friends will be difficult if you don’t allow yourself to be completely open, out there and willing to engage with others. Oftentimes, you’ll be the one who has to take that first step and approach someone, but how?

Laura Sanchez, University of Puerto Rico class of 2015, says, "It's way easier said than done but really, you just need to do it. Inhale and exhale. Maybe the other person is just as nervous as you are about it! You'll never know how it turns out if you don't take a chance and put yourself out there."

If you shut yourself out, meeting new people will be incredibly difficult. Practice what Laura advises and go ahead, take a chance!

4. Realize that the fear is in your head

"A lot of the time we make up these extravagant scenarios of what will happen if we say hello to someone or ask for their name, that we talk ourselves out of doing it," writes Alexander Figueroa, from University of Sagrado Corazón class of 2014. He explains how he had to give himself pep talks as a freshman in college before approaching someone in class, something he says "may seem silly but it really helped me out. I had to get over myself and my fear, otherwise I wouldn't make any friends." 

Your approach is not silly at all, Alexander! In fact, we completely agree. Sometimes the fear of possibly embarrassing ourselves stops us from doing something that can possibly change our lives. So try giving yourself that pep talk. Tell yourself you're amazing, that you're smart, wonderful and you deserve to make a genuine connection with other people. Once you get over that barrier, you'll be unstoppable!

Remember: sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

5. Stay in touch

As adults, forming a connection with someone that goes beyond acquaintances can be hard. We’re each doing our own thing, making something of ourselves, so most of our friendships tend to be those we formed years ago, when we actually had time to hang out nearly every single day. But here you are, in a new city, exploring the area, putting yourself out there and getting to know new people… what comes next?

You make an effort to stay in touch.

Yeah, yeah. Effort. Ugh. But you have to do it. It’s the way friendships work! Maintaining a social life regardless of how busy you are is possible. Schedule lunch dates, brunches, plan ahead, add each other on social media—show your genuine interest and hopefully that person will do the same. 

Being in a new place is challenging and there’s so much you still get to discover, but we know you can do it. Not everyone has the courage to pack up and start anew somewhere else, but you did it! So muster up that same courage, go explore your new home and get to know people. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll make friendships that will last you a lifetime.

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