Moving to a brand new state takes a bit of time to feel nice and settled into. It takes time to move in your furniture, explore the town, and get acclimated to your new work environment. Meeting new people can feel challenging at first as well, especially if you have moved to a town where you don’t know anyone. Additionally, if you find yourself outside of the college / academic training program window, it may be more challenging to connect with others your age or those who share similar interests. Here are a few ways to explore a new town and potentially make a new friend or two:
Find a coffee shop
Take your computer or a book and set up shop in a local coffee shop. Visit a few times so the baristas become familiar faces. Spend a few minutes (assuming there isn’t a long line behind you) making quick conversation with them as you wait for your coffee. Find out where great places to eat are, what they like to do for fun around town, and recommendations for any other interesting activities you may have particular interest in. Grab your coffee and sit at the coffee bar where you are more likely to share a coffee with another friendly face.
Do “Town Rounds”
This is my equivalent to”Morning/Afternoon Rounds” on patients at the hospital. Grab your car keys and just start driving around town. Pull into parking lots of large strip malls and see what stores are there. Park downtown and walk in and out of shops. Meet local business owners and get their perspective of the town and local activities for that season. You may find stores that surprise you, or you may run into other places of interest you may not have discovered without casually being curious.
Find a Farmer’s Market
Assuming it’s not Winter, google some local farmer’s market for an activity to do on the weekend. Grab a coffee or tea and stroll through the market stands. Mingle with local artisans or shop owners and hear how they got started and what makes them passionate about their products. Pick up a bag of seasonal foods such as apples and pumpkins and make a fresh recipe to share with others in your family or that you can bring in to share at work.
See what Groups are organized on Facebook. Plug in the name of your town to see if there are any public community groups that share your similar interests. Join the Group(s) and be active on their feed. If there is an opportunity to share information about yourself, your hobbies, and what you do for a living, don’t hesitate to be put yourself out there. You may be surprised by others who may reach out and contact you because you share something in common!
Join Groupon / Living Social etc.
Sign up for free accounts with local coupon websites such as Groupon and Living Social. These sites offer awesome discounts on things such as:
- Wine tastings / Breweries
- Group fitness classes/ trainers
- Spa treatments
- Car services, etc!
Buy a discounted yoga membership for a month at a local studio to have an activity to stay consistent with and to potentially meet some other yogis. Or, buy a night out painting / drinking wine at a local art studio. A glass or two of wine always makes it a little easier to ask the stranger next to you if your clouds still need a little painting TLC.
Attend Work Happy Hour
Ask around at work if anyone would be interested in going out for Happy Hour. Maybe some of your colleagues already get together for appetizers every Thursday for an hour or two after work each week. This is a great way to potentially meet other friends of your colleagues that may come along for the fun too.
Attend Sporting Events
Does your town get excited for their local college football team? Is basketball big? Or is hockey what they really care about? Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, find a local restaurant/ bar and order up an appetizer or drink during one of the season’s games. You’ll likely run in to a bunch of people tailgating who will swing you a smile or high five if you’re donned in the right team colors.
All it takes is meeting someone you connect with. Once that happens, your network of friends will slowly start to build and expand. Before you know it, you’ll be connecting with even more new people, and the stress of being lonely in a new town will gradually dissipate.