Time needed: 30 days.
Moving to a new city can be overwhelming. There are many changes, often a new job, a new life situation and a new schedule. It is not until you begin to meet people and gain some kind of social circle that you begin to feel grounded. The hard part is finding the social circle. Apart from entering a bar and asking, “Do you want to be a friend?” In kindergarten style, here are some ideas on how to meet people in a new city.
- Don’t bring your lunch to work
Ask around for the advice of your coworkers about a good place to eat, and when they make a suggestion, tell them that you would like to join us at some point. It will give you the opportunity to chat outside the office, away from homework. This way they can get to know you, instead of simply answering all your questions about the designs in Excel. If you find someone you like, invite him at a happy hour.
- Become a regular
Look for a bar or cafe in the neighborhood and go regularly. You will know all the familiar faces and after a couple of weeks they will begin to remind you and your request. Friendly greetings will become short talks, and you can learn about all the good things that are happening in the neighborhood.
- Watch trivia night
And hit her alone. Ask a friendly-looking group if you need an extra player. Highlight your knowledge of Gilmore Girls, or navigation terms, or European history, or any other field in which you are a professional. And if you stink in trivialities, offer to pay a round.
Find something with a social aspect. The cleaning of the parks in groups or the service in the kitchens give you the opportunity to work in community, and many groups of volunteers offer happy hour meetings later. Alternatively, become a volunteer dog walker. Those hairy cuties are great to get people’s attention in the park.
- Go to the gym
Join a gym that offers group classes such as yoga, zumba or kick boxing. You will often see the same faces one or more times a week, and there is a certain bond that forms when sweaty people dance badly together.
This may seem like an activity too congested or too quiet to meet people, but many museums offer great events such as movie screenings, conferences and after dark nights, where they serve alcohol and have some kind of entertainment. All these options make an art or science museum a great place to meet people.
- Try public transportation
If you can work on a public transport line, check it out. Most likely, there are many other young professionals along your route, and you may start seeing the same faces regularly. A 30-minute bus ride is a great opportunity to chat about the last book you are reading or about what is going on in the city over the weekend.
- Go to a sports bar
Ok, duh, right? But don’t settle for any sports bar. Find one that represents your hometown team. If you are a fan of the Bears who have moved to New York, chances are there is a good Chicago bar somewhere that shows matches. And you will automatically have something in common with everyone who is there on game day. It’s a great sense of community when you’re not home, and you can exchange relocation stories while cheering on your favorite team.
Whatever you choose, meeting people in a new city is about finding opportunities that make it easier for you to go outside. You’ll have to do a bit of initiation and you may have to be more aggressive than usual when you approach people, but it’s also part of the fun. After all, it only becomes new for a short time, so it is better to take advantage of it while you can.
And don’t forget to use one of the best excuses to start a conversation with someone that interests you:
I’m new to the city, so…New comer