Earlier this year, I mentioned that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to make new friends. As I also mentioned, I have recently moved for the second time in two years, and having to start over is intimidating, especially when it comes to making new friends. Making friends as an adult is more difficult than I thought it would be, and meeting people that you can connect with is surprisingly hard.
So what are my strategies to make adult friends in this new city?
- Attend professional networking groups in my area
- Attend “meet ups” using the app Meet Up
- Explore my new area with my husband
So, I thought that since it’s July I would update about my journey towards new friendships. What worked? What didn’t work very well? If these tips help someone else in the same situation, that would be great too!
Professional Networking Groups
Since beginning my job I have learned that in most industries connections are very important. So I attend networking events put on by professional organizations. Networking groups are divided into 3 types: by city, by industry, and by experience level. As far as making personal friendships, people who work in a similar industry are a good place to start. It’s easier to meet people who are in the
Networking groups can be a great way to meet people from various industries and age groups that live in your area. This is especially useful if your business relies on a variety of other industries and you live in a large area, since everyone is gathered in one place. Industry groups are similar, but on a more industry-focused scale that is less overwhelming than a city-based group. Meeting with young professionals is good for shared experiences and learning about the city.
It can be overwhelming to meet a lot of people at once, and you really have to weed through the crowds to find someone you can connect with. In general, professional networking groups are good to meet people involved in your industry and around your experience level, but it is difficult to make any deep connections with such limited contact unless you put in a lot of time outside of the professional groups.
Final Thought: Not the best way to meet new friends unless you are willing to meet lots of people and make a huge effort… not always easy with limited time.
Meet Ups and the App
At a networking event, I heard about an app called MeetUp. Disclaimer: I am not getting any sponsorship from the app (or from anyone else for that matter!), but I have had a lot of success with this app. You can find groups by distance to your location and interests. If they don’t have groups with your interests, you can always try putting together one yourself (but I haven’t tried making a group).
The groups I found included a professional networking group for young professionals in the city, a few Japanese/English language exchange groups, and a few groups for travel enthusiasts. The professional networking group was a bit overwhelming, since it was professionals from all industries, but it was a fun time. The groups for travel enthusiasts seem interesting, but they really only work if you are willing to travel to specific destinations with people you don’t know.
The best group for me (as you might have guessed) was the Japanese/English exchange group. There are other language exchange groups, including ones for multiple language learners, but since I speak English and Japanese this was the best for me. I was able to find people with shared common interests (Japanese language and culture), and while I didn’t become close friends with everyone, I have found a core group that I enjoy spending time with outside of the meet ups.
So I can highly recommend this app for making new friends in a new city. Find a few groups, try them out, and then pick your favorites (trust me, you’ll know).
With groups formed based on particular interests, you can focus on what you are really interested in and quickly meet a lot of people with similar interests. Meet ups are in public places and therefore usually safe.
You sometimes have to try a few groups before you find people you really get along with. But don’t get discouraged! If there isn’t already a group with your interest, you can make it. But it seems like it costs money to run it through MeetUp, and it might be a bit more difficult to garner interest in a less popular hobby/interest.
Final Thought: This is a great way to make new friends, and I can highly recommend it! There is a bit of time commitment while you check out various groups, but it’s easy to make connections when you find the good groups.
Exploring a New City
While exploring a new city with your significant other or even by yourself won’t necessarily make it easier to find friends, it can make it easier to make friends. How? If you find out what you like to do – go to cultural events, go to bars, go shopping – you can find the kind of people you want to hang out with and do these things. Different cities have different attractions and specialties, and this determines what kinds of events you attend. The friends I made at the meet up events like doing the same kinds of things I do, so now I can talk more about the things I want to do in this city, and they can make recommendations or go with me.
Final Thought: Try something new! Even if you don’t make new friends, it will help to have an idea of the things you enjoy about the new city when you do make friends, so that you can meet people who have similar interests. And it’s fun to get to know your new city!
What are your suggestions on how to make friends (adult or otherwise)? What has worked best for you? What would you NOT recommend? I’m still looking for more friends, so let me know your suggestions in the comments!