Being new in town can be challenging, and lonely. I made the mistake of spending too much time unpacking and pulling the entire house together before I finally got out and started to get acclimated to my new place. At that point, I was exhausted and emotionally drained, and it pretty much sucked.
Unpacked boxes and your chaotic, messy home are temporary. Stepping away and out is an act of kindness towards yourself. Becoming familiar with your new surroundings will help you feel grounded and acquire place attachment much faster.
Start with making the most of running errands. Use apps and sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and anything local to find your favorite stores. Look for the local markets as well as big chains. And use them again later when looking for activities near you.
Outings don’t have to be just about errands. Start scouting the area, look for restaurants, coffee, home décor and more. Extend your errands to include a stop, something that brings you joy, even if you eat out by yourself. You’re new in town and may (hopefully) discover that going alone can be more fun than unpacking at home.
Make small talk with people you encounter, and at the very minimum, smile at people you pass. If it feels awkward, do it anyway. Whether you get to know the people you run into or not, most of these people are a part of your larger community.
It’s also normal for all of this to feel surreal for a while. And possible that you think you see people you know, who look a lot like a friend or neighbor from your previous town. Or, maybe that’s just my weird thing each time we move.
Being new is the perfect reason to go out alone.
Going out alone only feels as weird and uncomfortable as you allow. Most people don’t notice and those who do will more than likely be giving you a thumbs up in their thoughts. An added bonus, going alone means that you get to do the things that you want to do, on your agenda.
Relocation is an opportunity for a fresh start, if you desire, and to experience new people, culture and growth. A time to recreate yourself, your routines and rediscover what lights you up. Take time to reflect and journal, create lists and take notes during this transition. If you want to dig in, some questions to ponder:
- What are my hobbies and passions, or some that I’ve neglected or haven’t pursued yet?
- What kinds of places would I like to check out: coffee shop, yoga studio or (insert interest here)?
- Are there any changes I want or need to make to my routine or in general?
- What would I like to see happen living in this new place?
- What can I do to really enjoy the process of being new?
- When you have an idea of what interests you, finding activities and groups to join becomes easier.
As you’re meeting new people, make the first move and ask potential friends to coffee, lunch or on a playdate with the kids. Being new in town doesn’t mean you can’t go first.
If they say no, consider asking again. The timing, their mood, something that has nothing to do with you may be why they say no the first time. And keep going, keep asking.
Being new is the perfect reason to go first.
Finding new friends is like dating, and completely worth all of the agonizing moments. Ease in slowly and connect with 1 person at a time. Or dive in and attend big social gatherings. What feels best for you? Finding friends can happen quickly or, in my case, can take a few years to find the very right ones.
Connecting to people in a new place is a crucial component of loving where you live. Consider writing about your journey, laughing along the way or whatever you can to embrace and enjoy this process.