4 Ways to Make Friends in a New City
Since graduating from university in 2010, I have moved four times, each time uprooting myself and all of my belongings and setting up again in a new city and often a new country. In the last three years, I have lived throughout New Zealand’s South Island as well as in Melbourne and Sydney. All have been beautiful and exciting in their own ways, but the memories that always stay with me are the times spent with the friends I’ve made along the way.
Life can feel pretty lonely in a new city and it’s important to make new friends before you find yourself drinking wine on the couch in front of the TV alone every night. So here are a few tips and tricks I’ve found along the way to help make new friends in a new city:
1. House Shares
The first thing I do when I move to a new city is look for shared accommodation. At times I have found apartments where the main renter is just looking to fill a room and other times I have lived in 5 bedroom houses where quiet moments are a rarity and the bathroom line is always long. It can be hit-or-miss and it’s always good if you can meet some of the housemates before you move in, but share houses are usually full of people who are looking to live in a fun environment and make new friends.
2. Join a Club
I love reading, so I joined a book club. I also enjoy running and after signing up for the Sydney marathon, I got involved with my local running club. Both have been great ways to meet totally different types of people that have made me laugh and helped me enjoy my time in my new city. There are often local sports teams that are looking for new players. Find them online or go to your nearest library or community center and see what you can find. Joining a club is a great way to meet like-minded people with common interests.
Meetup.com is a website that helps you ‘meet up’ with people who are likewise trying to make some new friends. There are groups listed for just about anything you can think of from corporate networking events to those looking to practice their foreign language skills. I’ve been to American Expat picnics where I’ve had a chance to reminisce on life back home and speak to other people going through similar transitions that I am experiencing. If you don’t find something there that you’re interested in, you can start your own group.
It’s not just a way to travel around on the cheap–Couchsurfing.com is also an amazing community of open-minded people, both young and old. They often hold events once or twice a month in bigger cities where you can meet those who are visiting or living there. In Sydney and Melbourne, it has are great parties hosted at local pubs where you can introduce yourself to hoards of new people.
Putting yourself out there is never easy, but you didn’t move abroad to spend all of your time alone. Sometimes you’ll do some of these things and you won’t meet anyone you click with. In fact, that will probably happen more times than not, but persevere. As you get older making friends becomes a lot like dating. If you give it enough tries you’re bound to find someone you connect with. So get out there, be social and make some new friends.