Trust me, I know – moving to a new city can be overwhelming enough in itself. The thought of adjusting to a new city, maybe a new language and a new culture far from home and everything familiar can be so scary that so many people end up staying where they are. And how do you even meet new people now-a-days?
“I have my friends and family here, I don’t know anyone out there, I’m not gonna have any friends, I’ll end up alone and terrified under my blanket and then I’ll die and noone will ever find my decaying body”.
Stop it, you silly silly goose, you’ll be more than okay. You just need to meet some people. Here are 10 ways to meet new people in a new city:
Let’s start with the most important thing. Ever heard the quote: “Be yourself, so the people who are looking for you can find you”? That’s it. I know all of us are guilty of trying to do or say what we think others want us to in order to be accepted and liked. I’m not saying: “Throw your most controversial opinion at the first person you see”, but don’t be afraid of showing people who you are!
2.Don’t be afraid of talking about yourself
Okay, listen up. If you’re in a new place you can feel so vulnerable, and feeling the need to be liked by others no matter what. Often I’ve found myself in a place where I’ve been wanting to make people feel so comfortable with me that I ask them 1 billion questions. If they ask me something I respond very shortly and go: “but what about YOU!”.
Talking about yourself doesn’t necessarily make you a narcissist or self consumed, don’t be afraid of bringing yourself to the table! People do want to hear about your life, and honestly the more you present yourself as a human right away, the easier it is for people to relate to you and connect with you.
3.Yes, I’d L-O-V-E to go to 80’s karaoke with you
Ever watched the Jim Carry movie “Yes man”? No? Maybe you should! When people at your new job asks you to go to a karaoke bar, what do you say? You say yes. I don’t care if you like karaoke. Maybe you know nothing about Superbowl – go to that superbowl event you’re invited to anyway! Maybe you prefer to work out alone, but if you’re brand new in town and your local barista invites you to hot yoga on Sunday – you say yes.
You gotta go with the opportunities that present itself in the beginning!
4.Meet New People Through Dating Apps
Dates don’t have to be all serious, romantic and “let me go out there and find the one and only”, it can literally just be a fun afternoon with new people.
Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, Raya – there are lots of apps.
It’s honestly such a good way to get to know a place, since the locals usually LOVE taking you to not-so-touristy places. Meet in the day time, go for a walk, a picnic date, beach date and hey – if you already have a friend in your new city, bring him/her along.
5.What activities do you like?
I am so extremely fortunate that I’ve always danced wherever I’ve lived no matter if I’ve been located in Beijing, Paris, London, New York or Los Angeles, so I’ve always jumped straight into a dance community through the studios I’ve taken classes at.
Not everyone can do that, I know! But what do you like to do? Showing up at the same activities over and over again in the same location will for sure give you the opportunity to run into the same people again and again. Book clubs, fitness classes, yoga, acting classes, learning a new language, volunteering, soccer team, pottery… whatever it is – go there!
(If you’re a dancer, maybe you need to stay in a Dance Dorm and meet people that way! Read all about the dorms here!)
6.Break the ice, ask a question
This is my all time go-to approach when I want to talk to strangers. If you don’t know how to approach someone, starting off with a question that can’t be answered with a short “yes” or “no” can be key.
“Have you taken this fitness class before? I think it’s really hard, do you know if there are others that are easier?”
“Do you take other classes too? Which ones can you recommend? I’m new here so I’m a bit lost”
Or a compliment followed up with a question: “I LOVE your yoga pants! I’m trying to find stretchy yoga pants like yours, where did you get yours?”
Or: “You’re soooooo good at [whatever activity this person is good at] have you been taking classes here for a long time?” etc. etc. etc.
Right away you can sense if people are talkative and wants to have a conversation to you, and at the same time it’s not as socially crazy as walking up to a stranger like: “HI I AM NEW HERE, DO YOU WANT TO GET COFFEE”. If that’s you – amazing – but I think 90% of the population of planet Earth would prefer not to be approached that way.
Also when you’re new in town you’re already emotionally a little bit out of your comfortzone, so a rejection can hit a little harder. Protect your little heart and go easy on yourself.
7. Consider how much you talk to people back home
So honestly, my closest friends don’t live in Denmark, but I know lots of people have their best friends where they grew up. I talk to my family a lot since.. you know… they’re my family and I love them – but you need to balance being present where you are and talking to people back home.
If you get homesick, find out if it’s actually helpful to FaceTime your homeland 4 hours every night.
To get rid of the homesickness you need to make the new place feel like home. Yes, that means getting a comfy bed and occasionally lighting some candles, but “home is where your heart is”. And your heart is where your people are. You need to continuously make an effort to build relationships where you are.
(Hey, maybe “Dealing with change – 9 things to remember when feeling overwhelmed” would be helpful to you as well, read here!”)
8. Don’t rush
Some people meet their best friends in the age of 7. Others find them later in life. Some people have close friends, then they drift apart and they find their soul-mate-friends by 40. We constantly grow in and outside of our relationships and they happen over time. So don’t expect to find your best friends right away and compare this new woman you just went for coffee with to your high school best friends.
It’s okay if you don’t have best friends in your new city. Or best friends in a year. Same goes for dating! You can’t rush it and force it. It takes time.
9. The art of DOING
Maybe it’s just me, but I actually don’t prefer sitting down for a 4 hour dinner with anyone that I just met. Maybe a quick coffee date works, but if you can do honestly any activity that you can talk about or bond over, I think that’s ideal. Even just going to the beach or being in nature! Not having to sit and stare into someones eyes before you even know anything about that person can make things easier.
One of my best friends Julia and I randomly ended up at the Latin AMA’s in LA together after we just met. There’s the longest and craziest story attached to that event, but experiencing all of that together made us so close right away, because we didn’t do the: “So how old are you and what’s your favorite colour” thing. That can come later.
10. Join Facebook Groups
I JUST had this chat with a friend the other day – there is a facebook group for ANYTHING in this world. Every single time I’ve been solo traveling I’ve joined a “Foreigners in [insert city]”, where you first of all can ask all the questions about the city and where you can meet new people!
“I don’t know anyone yet, do anyone wanna come visit [insert whatever] with me on Sunday?” is posted 10 times a week.
You’ll be so surprised when you see the amount of feedback you get on a post and how many kind humans who are trying to meet new people. People in these groups are especially nice, since they’ve ALL been through what you’re going through.
Try to join a group! Even if you don’t live in whatever city yet, but just want to one day, it can seriously calm your nerves. Just take a second to scroll through, and find some comfort in knowing that we’re all just confused humans trying to make where we live home.
(Read “Solo travel – Why You Should Solo Travel At Least Once In Your Life” here!)
I hope this helped! Go out there and meet new people, you brave little chocolate chip cookie! You totally, totally got this.