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My Go-To Strategies to Make Friends in a New Town

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

I am currently living in a third state in the last 4 years and although not everyone is as friend obsessed as me, finding new friends is generally priority number one as soon as the boxes are unpacked.

I LOVE friendship. It makes life feel meaningful and rich. I think about my friendships constantly. I keep in contact with people back home, and while I hope those relationships are lifers, there is nothing like a face-to-face friend that you can get coffee with, hug, or have a fun game night with. None of which can be done without sweet, warm presence.

Any who, over the last couple years, I feel like I have learned some tricks to expedite the friend making process and I would love to share them with you.

These tips may feel uncomfortable or forceful (I like to call it initiative), but community is incredibly worth it.

Be Okay if Your Friends Don’t Check Every Box

I have found that one of the reasons we don’t make friends quickly is because our standards are too high. And to clarify, I am talking friends here, not best friends. You should have all the standards you want for best friends (within reason) because they are the ones who get to see the inside, vulnerable parts of your life, and you don’t want to let just anyone do that. However, most best friends start out as just plain ol’ friends, nurtured with time and loyalty

I don’t know about you, but it has been a long time since I felt that instant best friend relationship. You know, the kind you find easily in high school over one shared heart-to-heart conversation. Since being an adult, more times than not, it has felt much slower.

But back to my main point, learn to be okay with people not being the end-all-be-all of what you want in a friend. This is the one tip I would have most benefited from the first time I moved. I wanted my new friends to feel exactly like my old friends. I wanted to find the package deal and it was discouraging as my hopes were not met. Over time, as I instead allowed people to be my “interested in cooking“ friend, “likes 90s pop music” friend, “blogging” friend, “moved away from home friend”, I found that I had a lot more friends.

I wanted someone that I could talk to about everything, but what I ended up having was a lot of people who I talked to about some things. This is much better than having no one, which is what you get when you want every friend to check every box.

Find Other New People

In my opinion, there is no easier group of people to make friends with than new people. They generally are very welcoming to the idea of new friends and their calendars are open for coffee dates. Even though there are some great potential friends among well-connected people, often their calendars are filled to the max and it is hard to convince them to make room for someone they do not know.

Now, I know you cannot show up to the park, or the library, or the store and automatically know who is new. You may wonder how you can acquire such knowledge. Well, I am here to share my go-to question of how I find these fellow, in-need-of-friend people. I always ask, “Are you from around here?” That question seems to make no one uncomfortable. It is not awkward to ask and it is not awkward to answer. If they are new, here is an easy opening to a possible friend. You can respond with: “Me too! I just moved here _____ (amount of time) ago!” or, if you have been there awhile and would like a new friend, “Hey, I would love to show you around and introduce you to people. We can meet at _____ (favorite place).” These small moves have been super helpful in starting friendships for me and if said person isn’t new, maybe you’ll find those social butterflies who love to help others find friends. They exist and they are awesome.

Make an Actual Plan to Get Together

If you find someone open to getting together, here is the crucial part: Get them on your calendar. If not, at least get their phone number so you can get them on your calendar later. If you do not spend actual time with them, they will never end up being your friend. I recommend not being general or vague, with the whole, “We should get together sometime.” You have to be specific to actually make things happen. “We should get together. How about this Friday? I am free after 3pm. Does that work for you?” or maybe have a few backup times and dates if not, but nobody gets anywhere on a “sometime”.

I know this is probably the hardest part, but you can do it.

Share Relatable Information

Lastly, you need to share relatable information. Yes, this means you have to be kinda vulnerable. When meeting people, I attempt to share enough information to give someone multiple different conversation starters. I don’t say, “I just moved here.” I say, “I moved here ____ months ago, from ______, because of ______. I only know how to find Target as of now.” I have now given them the opportunity to talk about the amount of time, the old state I lived in, our current vocation, or we can just talk about Target. Every woman will talk about Target haha. But anyways, the more I give them, they may find something they can relate to in there. I am not saying to talk, just to talk. I think a bit more relatable information makes people more comfortable. It feels inviting and open.

Honestly, I can probably share more tips, but no one wants an article that goes on and on and on. If you exude to other people that you like them and follow these tips, I honestly think you will find yourself having friends and people to hang out with in no time. It is a little vulnerable but I am confident that you can do it, and this is coming from one previously socially anxious woman. It is worth it. Let’s find friends!

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