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How Can I Make Friends In A New City? 19 Unique Ideas

Moving to a new city can be a scary experience, especially if you do it alone. Once you arrive in the exciting new city, you might suddenly realize that you have no friends and don’t know anyone. Here is how to make friends in a new city.

#1 Go to a super “touristy” spot

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These kinds of spots (like the Statue of the Liberty in New York, the Eiffel Tour or Champs Elysees in Paris, The Hollywood Wall of Fame in Hollywood, etc.) are great spots to make new friends for 3 key reasons:

  1. You get to meet tourists: Foreigners/tourists are easier to talk to: they already come with a spirit of excitement, they are open to small talk and are willing to talk to other people. And who knows, you could stay in touch with them for your next trip!
  2. Locals also love sightseeing, and generally if you are observant enough, when you get to a tourist spot, you can spot a local easily. They tend to be calmer and a little more reserved.
  3. Even if you’re not good at introducing yourself, you get to practice by trying to talk to many other people!

Contributors: Clementine Affana from Travel with Clem

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#2 Exercise Buddies

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Find exercise buddies, playgroups for toddler moms, or a new French conversation partner on meetup.com. You’ll find new things to do in your city as well as new friends to do them with. 

Contributors: Sandi Haustein from The Welcoming Table

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#3 Do what you love and new friends will find you

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The best way to make new friends in a new city is as simple as doing what you love. It could be anything from playing bridge to base jumping. You can bet if you have a passion for it, there’s an entire community that shares that same passion. With a bit of help from Google you can find these communities and events in minutes. From there, all you have to do is show up. This group of people are all there for the same reason, common talking points will present themselves quickly. Rapport will follow soon after -- no effort required. Go ahead, explore your new city. Do what you love and within a month you’ll look back and wonder what you were ever worried about!

Contributors: James Anderson from Beyondages

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#4 Meet Your Neighbors

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Whether you live in an apartment or a house, make some cookies, package them up, and take them to your nearest neighbors. Tell them you are new to town and that if they ever need a cup of sugar or for you to water their plants, you’d love to help out. 

Contributors: Sandi Haustein from The Welcoming Table

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#5 Plan a Board Game Night

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Invite all of the people you’ve just met to your house for some snacks and your favorite board games. Try Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme, or Telestrations. You’ll create shared memories and a sense of community with a night of fun.

Contributors: Sandi Haustein from The Welcoming Table

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#6 Professional or Social Organizations

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If you are an entrepreneur or business owner I highly recommend BNI, Business Networking International. This organization has a strict weekly attendance policy but the main premise is to build relationships with other members while giving and receiving referral business. Rotary club is another favorite of mine. It's less expensive as BNI and is more active in the community. 

Contributors: Steffany Lee from BTC Consulting

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#7 Volunteer

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Volunteer where you think you might help or want to get experience. Once again, you will be appreciated and very often referred elsewhere.

Contributors: Gayle Carson from Spunky Old Broad

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#8 Host Dinner

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Move in and get yourself settled as quickly as possible so you are ready to engage your new community, and/or host a dinner/event. This can be as simple as a neighbor meet and greet in the apartment courtyard or an ice cream social with the neighbors and their kids in the driveway. 

Contributors: Amy Shick from SAPLACOR

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#9 Invest Time In People

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It takes time to make new friends and feel a part of a community. You need to invest time and effort into people to create lasting quality relationships. It doesn’t happen over night. Be patient. 

Contributors: Amy Shick from SAPLACOR

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#10 Switch Up Your Routine

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Do you go to the same coffee shop every day or take the same classes at the gym? If you haven't made any connections through your regular routine, switch it up. Change your route when you walk around the neighborhood. Park on a different side of the building when you go to work. 

Contributors: Ali Wenzke from The Art of Happy Moving

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#11 Make Connections Before You Move

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It's much easier to go from one friend to two friends than to go from zero to one. So, if you're moving somewhere different, crowd source. Ask your friends on social media whether they know anyone in your new city. Even if that person doesn't become your closest friend, she can connect you to other people in the area. 

Contributors: Ali Wenzke from The Art of Happy Moving

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#12 Get a dog!

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It is always a conversation starter and many towns have dog parks which become great places of socialization. Dogs are like children… you can meet so many people at various dog parks and set up dog playdates — ! 

Contributors:  Alison Bernstein from Suburban Jungle

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#13 KIDS are key and your entry way into meeting friends!

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Take them to classes, get to know other parents… chat at birthday party drop offs or sporting events! They are the key to meeting people that are in the same stage of life…and as your kids make friends, you automatically have things in common with them as you kids will go through all of the “firsts” together… starting kindergarten, trying new activities, gaining independence and ultimately graduation ! It is a common bond that goes a long way! 

Contributors:  Alison Bernstein from Suburban Jungle

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#14 Connect With Social Media Contacts

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I recently made a cross-country move from NYC to Seattle. I came here Seattle knowing nobody, aside from a couple former colleagues and individuals from my hometown. I reached out to everyone I knew on LinkedIn and Facebook, told them I was moving and asked for coffee or a drink. Every single person replied with, yes! All you need to do is ask!ou need to do is ask!

Put yourself out there. Most people will happily share their city with a newcomer. There are a number of resources you can utilize, such as Bumble BFF or MeetUps. Also, look into alumni groups and get involved! And, don't be afraid to go to a bar or restaurant by yourself. I don't believe there is a secret sauce to making new friends in a new city, you simply need to put in the effort and be open to new people and experiences.

Contributors: Lili Morton from Armoire

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#15 Go to a special event

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Cities offer a plethora of special events where like-minded people can meet up: concerts, festivals, fairs, business openings, hobby shows, outdoor movies, and even city-wide scavenger hunts. Check your local newspaper or city’s website to find opportunities for social gatherings. Social media, especially Facebook, is another great source to use. 

Contributors: Justin Lavelle from PeopleLooker

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#16 Get to know your coworkers

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Like with high school and college, work forces us to be around people for extended periods of time. For some people, the faces they see when clocking in are the faces they will see until retirement. This is a perfect opportunity to make new friends. Take the initiative and introduce yourself, eat lunch in the cafeteria (if there is one), attend work events, offer help, and give random acts of kindness. Once you feel ready, ask your coworkers if they would like to hang out after work sometime. Be careful to not force friendship on someone. Otherwise, you may steer them away. 

Contributors: Justin Lavelle from PeopleLooker

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#17 Take A Class

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Joining a rec league or taking a class can be a great way to meet new people that have similar interests to you. It's also a great excuse to learn a new skill. For instance, you can take an adult art class and learn how to sculpt or take a cooking class to help steer away from all the take-out. 

Contributors: Kershan Bulsara from Roofmaster

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#18 Sign up for a retreat

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If any of the local groups do a retreat or getaway sign up for that too, like a golf tournament in the summer or ski weekend in winter, there are lots of opportunities to get to know people on personal level.

Contributors: Paige Arnof-Fenn from Mavens & Moguls

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#19 Use an app

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Making new friends as an adult is hard. Not only are we busier as we get older, but we also get pickier and lazier. Most tips to make new friends are really time-consuming and are not guaranteed to work. An app might be the way to go.

Suggestion: Try We3

Contributors: Julian Ilson from We3 

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