A common theme in a lot of my conversations with new clients is that they either just moved to a new city or are thinking about it. Whether the reason is your job, a romantic partner, or you’re just looking to reinvent yourself, most of us move to a brand new city in our 20s. Based on my own experience moving to Denver at 22 and countless clients experiences moving to new cities, I put together 4 ways to take action & put down some roots in your new city.
Adventure. At least half of us are introverts & even extroverts have times when all they want to do is netflix & chill – alone. Let’s face it, the couch & endless hours of binging a show is most of our comfort zone, and when the prospect is going out alone to try things alone, it’s easy to stay in. If you’ve moved to a new city, you’ve got to shift your mindset to embrace adventure. This can look like driving around to get the lay of the land, trying new grocery stores, doctors, salons, gyms, etc. This might be trying a cooking class alone or joining a running club without knowing anyone there. Being alone in a crowd can feel sad but you can choose to think of it as an adventure.
New #squad. Remember the good old days when you just showed up to school and automatically made friends? Consistency and a shared experience are built into school and made it so easy to make friends. As adults, especially in a new city, you better work if you want meaningful friendships. There are a million ways to meet people – Bumble BFF & other friend connection apps, asking your friends who they know in your new city (some of my best friends have been friends-of-friends), and going to a ton of activities and events where you might meet people. I met my best friend on a retreat. The important thing to know once you meet people is that you have to be intentional to turn an acquaintance into a friend. It might feel weird asking them to get together and pursuing a friendship but everyone likes to be liked. It’s ok to be afraid of putting yourself out there but do it anyway.
Volunteer. This is my #1 tip for putting down roots in a new place. I’m not the kind of person who finds it easy to connect at a party or bar. I’ve built my circle in Denver through volunteering. There are two causes I really believe in that I got really involved with when I moved here and having a common goal and a purpose for your frequent interactions with other people make it really easy to re-create that easy school friendship thing I talked about earlier. It also feels really good to build connections with your local community and give back – that’s just fulfilling, friendships or not!
Time. I know you already know this one, but I have to say it. It’s going to take a hot minute for you to build your new life in the new city. I’ve heard it can take 2-3 years to really build tight friendships and community and feel like you’re at home. It’s also ok if your old city always feels a little more like home. Be patient with yourself & always celebrate the small victories – maybe your first birthday in the new city, you had a solo shopping spree, and the second one you met friends out at a bar to celebrate. That’s huge, my friend! Be kind to yourself – you’re doing something really big and brave!