Whether it’s for school, your career or a much needed change of scenery, moving to a new city is both terrifying and exhilarating. It can teach you a lot about how you deal with loneliness.
Trust me – I just did it. I’ve been in Toronto for a little over a month and I have to say, the past several weeks have been lonesome, but rewarding. Instead of souring in my sadness, I decided to think of it as an opportunity to surround myself with awesome people I’d never have the opportunity to hang out with otherwise.
Here’s how I made friends and kicked my loneliness to the curb.
Use your networking skills
You know, the ones that landed you in this beautiful new city in the first place.
Thanks to social media, chances are you know someone, or know someone who knows someone, who lives in the same city as you do. Send them an honest message explaining that you’re new to the city and looking for a local to show you around. This is a great way to get acquainted with your surroundings (like the awesome cafe just five minutes from your apartment or the boutique with great sales). Suggest doing something you both have in common, like cocktails at happy hour or a fitness class. Ask this person to bring their friends along and watch your social circle start to expand.
Don’t hesitate to go out on your own
Don’t be afraid to take yourself on some solo adventures. Pack up a blanket, some snacks, a good book (I’m currently reading “I Hear She’s a Real Bitch” by Jen Agg) and sprawl out at the park. If you see people doing something you enjoy, like playing frisbee, ask to join in. It’s also likely that someone will approach you if you’re by yourself because it’s less intimidating than striking up a conversation with a group. After all, books are a great conversation starter.
Tap into BFF apps
If you’d prefer to keep to yourself while ‘meeting’ people, apps like Bumble BFF can be helpful. It’s a great way to align your common interests without actually having to put yourself in a social position too soon. Similar to dating apps, friend-finding apps require both parties to swipe right before a conversation can start. After that, it’s easy to start chatting to figure out an ideal hangout that suits you both.
Start saying yes more often
Have you always wanted to learn to play the ukulele? Make pottery? Take a philosophy class? Do it now. Enrolling in something new is a refreshing and organic way to meet people who have similar interests. And at the very least, you’ll walk away with a new skill! Start saying yes to the things you’ve been putting off – like going to the laundromat (my grandmother insists this is a great place to meet people), or grabbing a drink with the people you work with. The more you engage in social outings, the better the chances you’ll have of bumping into some people you actually like along the way.
These simple suggestions will be even easier if you stay open and stay positive. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that loneliness doesn’t last forever – unless you let it.
Do you have any cool ideas about ways to make friends in a new city? Let us know in the comments!
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