8 Modern Ways to Make Friends in a New City

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Whether you’re moving to a new city to launch your career, start a family, or live out your golden years, relocating can be exciting — but it also means leaving your friends behind. In this day and age, though, making acquaintances takes a bit of ingenuity. Here are eight creative ways to meet people in your new city using the technologies and platforms available to you.

1. Ask your network.

Meet new people with the help of friends you already have. Whether you’re headed to another part of town or across the country, reach out to your social media contacts and ask if they know anyone in your new city. Even if the people you are virtually introduced to don’t turn out to be your new best friends, they may be a good resource for meeting other people or answering questions about your new city.

2. Be open-minded.

moving-friends-neighbors
Photo by Ted Sakshaug/Flickr
We naturally gravitate toward people who are our own age and share our interests, but getting to know people with different backgrounds can be surprisingly rewarding. Your elderly neighbor may be full of fascinating stories, sound advice, and good recipes. Likewise, your young coworker may teach you to paddleboard or inspire you to seek a thrill of your own.

3. Volunteer.

Volunteering is a worthwhile way to spend your free time while you’re working on filling up your social calendar. It also happens to be a wonderful outlet for meeting locals who share your interest in a cause. Create the Good and VolunteerMatch can help you discover local volunteer opportunities — and maybe a new buddy or two.

4. Take a class.

moving-cooking-class
Photo by jwalsh/Flickr
Whether you want to sharpen your photography skills or take up yoga or learn to make beef burgundy, enrolling in a class is a particularly good way to meet people, especially if you’re shy. Your instructor will help ensure everyone gets acquainted, so you won’t necessarily feel pressured to walk up to a stranger and say hello. Plus, you’ll see the same people every class, giving you plenty of opportunity to find someone you click with, get to know them better, and decide whether you want to be friends outside the classroom. A great place to find local classes or events is Eventbrite.

5. Get out and about.

You’re not going to meet anyone sitting at home alone, so use an app like Nearify to find out what events are happening close to you — and then start socializing. From outdoor movie screenings to farmers markets, festivals, and scavenger hunts, Nearify can help you locate activities that motivate you to get out of the house and meet new people.

6. Dine solo.

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Photo by William Murphy/Flickr
When you don’t have a pal to go to dinner with, it’s tempting to stay in and order pizza. But dining out alone offers you the opportunity to make new contacts, especially when you sit at the bar. Even if you feel a bit awkward, try to relax, smile at people, and make eye contact. Looking approachable improves your chances of meeting a friendly local, and telling the bartender you’re new to town never hurts.

7. Join a local newcomers club.

Organizations that cater specifically to people who have recently moved to the area may be your greatest resource in a new city. These groups host events like neighborhood barbeques, cocktail mixers, and other meet-and-greet activities. You might also want to search for a club to join through MeetUp or Groupspaces. If you enjoy being active, use Smacktive to connect with a workout buddy or fitness group.

8. Use Sparky to help find a friend.

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Photo by Connie Ma/Flickr
When it comes to meeting people, a dog can help break the ice. Make new acquaintances by taking your pooch to the local dog park, walking him in your neighborhood, or using the app Meet My Dog. A social network for canines, Meet My Dog can help you connect with other dog owners, discover pet-friendly events, schedule puppy playdates, and more.

Making friends in a new city doesn’t happen overnight. Learn to enjoy your own company, try a few of these suggestions, and give it time. We’re sure that before long you’ll have a new pal — or several. Like some wise mother once said, “You just have to prove yourself friendly to make friends.”

Featured photo by meenakshi madhavan/Flickr

About the author

Jess once moved from Tennessee to Utah and about a dozen places in between. She loves reading, researching, and being outdoors with her husband and two silly puppies.