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November 15, 2019

How to make friends when you move: building your community

  • Long Distance Moves
How do you make friends when you move? Volunteering in your new community is one great option.

There's nothing quite like moving to a new city to remind a person about the value of the connections they have in life.

One day, you're surrounded by an invisible network of support, and the next, you're dropped into a new location, forced to restructure your whole life. Suddenly, the value of your friendships and your community become so much clearer.

According to Cigna's U.S. Loneliness Index, nearly half of adults said they sometimes or always feel alone or left out. Loneliness can seem pervasive, and forging new connections in a different location can feel overwhelming. But it's entirely possible to create a new personal community, and it's totally worth it.

Whether you're leaving for a new job, for your partner or spouse, or for any other reason, here's a few tips to help you make friends when you move.

Making friends when you move can be a challenge, but it's completely worth the effort.Making friends when you move can be a challenge, but it's completely worth the effort.

Building on what you have

Look up old friends or ask acquaintances in your current location for contacts in your new area. Plenty of people will be happy to renew old relationships or to expand their circle by meeting friends of friends. When you get together, you'll already have something in common.

If you're the kind of person who desires a strong overlap between your work and social circles, make sure to ask a lot of questions about company culture during the interview process. See if you can quiz some current employees about their work friendships, too. If you're considering relocating for a job, your employer should be open to that kind of request.

Pursuing passions and hobbies

If you have an existing hobby or an artistic inclination, chances are, there's an opportunity to break in and meet people in your area. Do some online digging to see if you can find an initial point of contact. Meetup postings and Facebook groups can be a good first stop. 

If you're not already an avid birder, an expert crocheter or an experienced songwriter, do some research to find out what pursuits are particularly popular in your area. Maybe you've never hiked before, but you could be a stone's throw away from some remarkable trails. Find a novice group and befriend some other newbies while getting to know what your new town does best.

Volunteering your time

In addition to meeting new people, volunteering will give you a good feeling about how you've plugged into your new community. If you have children who attend a local school, inquire about participating with a parent organization, coaching a sport, fundraising or tutoring students in the district. Ask if your new workplace has connections with any area nonprofits. If you like to go for the occasional drive around town, consider being a volunteer driver for your local Meals on Wheels.

Park districts, animal organizations and community centers of all kinds depend on the support of volunteers. When you pitch in, you usually commit to participating for a set amount of time, so you can later opt in again or try out different organizations.

Organizing around beliefs

For people of faith, their new place of worship will serve as a nerve center that connects them to the community. Regular services, coupled with volunteer and social opportunities with other followers, will readily connect you to people who share some of your values.

Politically active individuals can work with community organizing groups, which may be structured around issues unique to the area, or they can sign on with local chapters of their preferred political party. You'll learn about your new region, and you'll bond with like-minded people while knocking on doors, passing out petitions or phone banking together.

If you're moving to a new city and figuring out how you'll meet new friends, the last thing you need to worry about is the actual moving. Contact your local Atlas agent today to see what we can do.