By Eleanor Beeslaar, HRI Graduate Assistant
Moving to a new place can add an extra layer of complexity to the process of making and maintaining friendships during adulthood. People relocate for a variety of reasons including job opportunities, professional/graduate school, or a partner or spouse’s job. The idea of making friends in a new city, state, or even country can be daunting, especially if you are moving on your own.
When you move to a new place, it’s important to be intentional about pursuing friendships and building social support! Though it can be tempting to stay in after a long day at work or in class, if you are pursuing higher education, we encourage you to try your best to make plans and connect with new people. This will help you build new connections and develop social support early on in your transition, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation that often occur when moving to a new place without knowing many people.
Start with what you know! When you move to a new place, a lot of things will be unfamiliar, so a great way to make friends is to put yourself in situations or places that feel familiar. This will help you feel more comfortable and may lead to making connections with people who have similar interests and values! Join an organization, class, or club based on your interests or hobbies. This may look like joining a church or other faith group, taking a workout class, joining a book club, or participating in a sports league.
Another great way to meet people and feel connected to your new community is to volunteer with a local organization! By consistently volunteering with a cause that you feel passionate about, you can build a sense of connection and belonging after moving to a new place. This is also a wonderful way to meet people who have similar values and care about the same causes as you do, giving you a place of common interest for the foundation of your relationship.
When you meet someone who you feel comfortable with and would like to be friends with, be intentional about inviting them to spend time with you. This will help you get to know one another and develop a strong and meaningful friendship. Keep in mind, however, that this will not happen overnight. It will take time to develop a support system and find a sense of community and belonging in your new home.
For more tips about making friends as an adult, visit yesterday’s blog post, Making Friends as an Adult!