Planning, hunting for rentals or real estate, packing, cleaning, hauling, taping, painting – all on top of your day job? Not exactly a walk in the park.
This stress multiplies substantially when moving to a new city, because you have to worry about picking the right neighbourhood, learning to drive in the new city, getting to know your way around, new surroundings, neighbours, and co-workers, and then there is the stress of making new friends.
I moved to Vancouver in 2010, and worried about making friends and professional contacts a lot prior to my move. I was lucky because Vancouver isn’t that far from where I grew up, so I did know a couple of people who moved here prior to my own move, but I wouldn’t call those people friends.
Making friends in a new city can be very difficult if you don’t know where to look. Here are some tips and tricks on making friends in a new area.
Take a Course
I met my first friend in Vancouver through school. We worked on a project together and ended up talking more about things unrelated to the class, then the project itself.
Besides that bout of unproductivity, we’ve been great friends ever since and I was even a bridesmaid in her wedding this year.
Meeting friends at a course ensures that you have at least one thing in common – the desire to learn about that particular subject.
This is especially helpful if you can take a course that requires you to work in a group. Think about it – you are with your peers in that course for a few hours per week – you are bound to get to know one or two of them.
Get a Side Hustle
I say a side hustle instead of meeting people at work, because I think that befriending co-workers can be dangerous, and has the potential to turn unprofessional. Furthermore, you already see your co-workers 8 hours per day or more, and I doubt you want to integrate part of your work into your social life as well.
Having a side job where you can meet new people can be beneficial, because you can get outside your normal work environment and choose something that is completely different, so it doesn’t feel like you are working all of the time. Pick a seasonal job or something temporary if you don’t want to be tied down to a second job, and be sure to choose something that is relaxed and social in terms of the working environment. Retail is a great way to go, as you usually have a lot of time to chat with your co-workers and get to know them.
Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends in a new city because, once again, you have a common interest; the charity or organization for which you are volunteering your time.
There will likely be other volunteers at any non-profit environment and it is nice to bond over doing something good.
The time commitment for volunteering can also be a lot less than that of a secondary job, so this may be the avenue if you are looking for something that will fit your schedule more flexibly.
Join a Meetup Group
Gone are the days when meeting people online was taboo or “weird”. Now there are many channels that foster just that – relationships between people that start online.
One way to participate in this, is to join a meetup group.
These can be found on meet-up website or even on classifieds, and they usually have a purpose. There are meetup groups for everything from golf to book clubs to common breed dog meetups. Whatever your interest, in a large enough city, there is probably a meetup group for it (if not more than one).
Meetup groups, once again, give you that common interest and can also break the ice when meeting new friends because there are a lot of people there, instead of just one-on-one.
Have you ever moved to a city? How did you meet new friends?