Moving, even under the best of circumstances, isn’t easy. Moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone except maybe the people you are moving with adds an extra layer of anxiety to the whole process. I work with people all the time who are new to town… transplanted here from some other part of the country to follow a spouse, take a new job or get a fresh start.
I’ve moved plenty of times myself so I feel your pain but moving is also exciting! It always signals a new start of some kind.
Still, for those of you facing it right now, it can be overwhelming so here are a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way to make you feel like a local FAST.
Go on Facebook. I don’t mean spend hours mindlessly scrolling to see what your old friends are doing. I mean ask those old friends if they know anyone in your new town. Just because you don’t know anyone doesn’t mean they don’t. It’s kind of like playing that game Six Degrees of Separation. Any connection is a good place to start. Social media is also good for finding groups that could be full of potential new friends. Search out a local moms group, or other kind of club on Facebook. Those groups are filled with people sharing information about local places and services. It’s ok if your first friends are virtual friends. You can eventually meet up with them in real life.
Go for a walk! This is one of my favorite ways to get to know someplace new. Wander around. If you get lost, don’t sweat it (that’s what cell phones are for). See whats in your new neighborhood and around it. You’ll likely find a small business or a restaurant you want to try. I like walking so much I rank all of the Charlotte neighborhoods by their walkability (link)
Go old school. That’s right, I mean say hi to the neighbors! No one seems to do that anymore but it’s still a good place to start even in our digital, don’t make eye contact world.
Go to a safe place. I’m not talking about personal safety. Your safe place is somewhere you feel safe going alone. It could be cool coffee house, or the local farmers market, or a fun boutique. Go somewhere you don’t feel self conscious that you stick out like a newbie. Some place you can just hang out for awhile.
Go out to eat. Food brings people together. You can tell a lot about a place by the restaurants in the area. I encourage you to try more than one pizza place, chinese takeout, or bar before you settle on your favorite.
Moving requires an adventurous spirit! Embrace your inner adventurer and know that like the weather, the awkward ‘I’m new here’ stage won’t last long. You’ll be navigating around traffic jams, stopping at your favorite dive for dinner and meeting friends after work before you know it!