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Making Friends in a New City

Posted on August 14 2018

If you’ve recently moved to a new city, chances are the city isn’t the only major change going on in your life. In addition to the move, you are possibly also figuring out your new roll at your company, tackling a new position at an unfamiliar company, or facing a demanding course load at school. These things can shake up your routine, your sense of self, not to mention your confidence! When life is tiring and confusing, the best way to let off steam is getting together with your people—but making new friends is the last thing you have energy for right now, so weeks, months, and sometimes years go by before that part of your life falls into place.

We by no means claim to have all of the answers to this tough time in your life, but we have gone through similar experiences and have pulled together some tips to hopefully get you acclimated to your new life a little quicker.

1. No More Excuses

You’ve had really good reasons to skip attending all past drinks or parties organized by coworkers. You need to clean your house, you had a long day at work, it doesn’t sound like something you would enjoy, but you’ll hit the next one for sure. The thing is, if you continue to make these excuses, you are losing chance after chance to grow these friendships. Try to make a pact with yourself that you will attend the next three things you are invited to, no matter what they are. Force yourself out the door, and have an old friend from back home keep you accountable to your pact. Take note of your feelings after the event ends—you might be surprised to find that you very rarely actually regret going out.

2. Get Over Yourself

This one is a little brutal, but often great connections are missed because you are just too obsessed with yourself and your image, and with finding someone who fits your mold. Take a look back at your friends. Really, go ahead, pull up facebook photos. Do the majority of your friends look exactly alike? Long, blonde haired girls? White soccer loving dudes? Be honest with yourself. If this is the case, you could be missing out on the deepest, truest of friendships. The minute you love people for what they bring to the table, instead of the ways they remind you of yourself, you are opening up doors to growth, to new experiences, and new perspectives that change you life. C.S. Lewis writes, in The Four Loves, “The moment when one first says, really meaning it, that though he is not “my sort of man” he is a very good man “in his own way” is one of liberation. It does not feel like that, we may feel only tolerant and indulgent. But really we have crossed a frontier. That “is his own way” means that we are getting beyond our own idiosyncrasies, that we are learning to appreciate goodness and intelligence in themselves, not merely goodness and intelligence flavored and served to suit our own palate.”

3. Put in the Time

A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships recently calculated that, on average, it takes about 50 hours of time with someone before you consider them a casual friend, 90 hours before you become real friends, and about 200 hours to become close friends. You have to put in the time. Working together doesn’t count, invite someone out of the office with you, whether it be for lunch or after work drinks, and that is when your clock truly begins. Logging these kinds of hours as an adult can be tough when you mix in kids and spouses, and that can be frustrating. But chances are there are people looking for connections just like you are, just keep trying.

4. The Importance of Shared Experiences

Have you ever noticed that nobody talks to each other in an airport? Everyone sits quietly, listening to headphones right next to each other, then boards the plane in silence. The one middle aged man who tries to talk to people in line is usually seen as an odd bird, or the nicest person on the planet. However, the second the airline announces that the flight is delayed, people react to that shared experience by discussing, voicing their feelings, and sometimes laughing together for hours after the news. You can’t just exist in the same room as someone else, you have to have a shared experience! Find things to get involved in that get you up, active, and living life next to someone else. Hiking, taking an interactive class, going on a road trip, or joining a club can be great examples of this. You have easy days and hard days together, and that is when the bond begins to form.

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