Making friends in a new city can be challenging. It’s easy to feel lonely, stressed and overwhelmed. If you’ve moved recently, you haven’t had time to build a group of friends. Even if you moved a while ago, your social network mightn’t be as developed as you’d like.
First things first – don’t feel bad about not having many friends yet! It’s totally normal, and it won’t be like this forever. To meet people in a new city, you’ll have to be proactive. Staying at home all day won’t magically turn into a fun social life. Seize opportunities, go out a lot, make time to meet people, but most importantly, relax. With a little work and some time, your social life will fall into place.
Part of making friends in a new city is ensuring that you spend enough time with them. It’s easy to meet up with people a few times, but new friendships require a bigger investment. Read on for our suggestions on how to make new friends in a new city.
Build on your existing network: Friends of friends can go a long way in helping establish your social life. Ask your friends if they know anyone in your new city. Reach out to your university alumni network for information on local gatherings. Search your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter contacts for people in the area. Then, get in touch for coffee or a drink. Even knowing one or two people can jump start your social life.
Join your local Army Cadet Force detachment: We’re one of the largest youth organisations in the UK, but we’re not just for young people. We have over 9,500 adult volunteers across 1,600 detachments throughout the UK. From London to Leicester to Leeds to Glasgow – there’s definitely an ACF detachment near you. The ACF hits all the main points for making friends in a new city: it’s a sociable group of likeminded people who meet up regularly. Adult volunteers spend a lot of time together, at least twice during the week and on some weekends, and their friendships often extend beyond official ACF activities.
Volunteer with your community: Volunteering is a great way to become part of a new community. You can help out at charity event, join a clean-up drive, or tutor students at a school. Volunteering with the ACF is also an option. Our community service work isn’t limited to the cadets; we also do activities like visiting the elderly and charity fundraising as part of our program. Volunteering will widen your local social network, introducing you to lots of new people who care about the same things you do.
Join a sports team: Sports are an ideal blend of social and physical activity. Most cities have adult leagues for traditional team sports like football and netball. These usually require a long-term commitment upfront, as the other team members will rely on you to show up for games. If that sounds like too much at first, join a biking or running club where attendance is more casual.
Join a club: Every city has clubs organised around hobbies; Meetup.com is a good place to start looking. Book clubs are the most popular, so they are relatively easy to find. You can also find groups of people who meet up regularly to share other hobbies, like knitting, ceramics and cooking.
Take a class: There are lots of affordable evening and weekend courses available at universities, community centres and cultural institutions. You can learn everything from dance and improv comedy to languages and rock climbing. The ACF also offers courses for adult volunteers in first aid, sports leadership, public relations, digital photography and more.
Befriend your co-workers: Workplaces can be a goldmine for meeting people in a new city. If your office is very social – great! Get involved with any social clubs and make an effort to attend any work outings. If your office isn’t as social, you can still make an effort. Chat to people at lunch and then invite them out for dinner after work one day. The same goes for your flatmates – the friendlier you are with them, the more likely they’ll be to introduce you to their wider group of friends.
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged! It’ll take time to create the social life that you want in a new city. You’ll have some hits and misses along the way – not every new friendship will work out – but eventually, your social life will come together just the way you want it.
If you’ve recently moved and want to make friends in your new city, start volunteering with the ACF today.