The Many Ways To Connect With Like-Minded People In A New City
Meeting people, and eventually making friends in a new place can sometimes seem intimidating, scary, or even impossible. Where do you even begin? It’s not the same as when you were in school, and you got to see the same people in class day after day, week after week.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a little longer to get your social life going in a new city. It’s going to take some intentional effort to meet people, as true friendship doesn’t always fall into your lap. Be willing to try a bunch of different approaches, and keep an open mind at all times. So with that said, where to even begin? How about right here…
Your Friends Have Friends
A solid way to jump start meeting people in a new city or town is by connecting with friends of friends. What better way to dip your toes into the social realm than through a warm connection with someone you already know?
Make an Effort with Co-workers
Work is going to be the next automatic choice for making potential friendships. Much like being in class at university, you and your coworkers will find yourselves in proximity on a regular basis, making reaching out and getting to know someone easier. But even if your work place is a bust, there’s still plenty of ways to meet new people.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Where you live can have a huge impact on the accessibility of community, too. For example, if you live in an apartment, make sure to attend events hosted by the management. It’s a great way for you to meet the people living closest to you.
Connect through Shared Beliefs
Another way to connect with total strangers in a new city is to find common ground in beliefs, values, or faith. While, of course, not everyone is religious, we do all share values. Looking for that kind of commonality—whether it’s a place of worship or regular meet up for environmental initiatives—can be very comforting, especially in a time when your life is in general upheaval from a move.
Find a Place of Worship
If spirituality is an important aspect of your lifestyle, connecting with a group that shares your faith can really help establish a solid foundation for life in a new place. The common thread of belief and spiritual practice weaves you naturally into the group, and traditions can make you feel at home even in the most foreign place.
Find Your Tribe
Often times, places of worship will have gatherings large enough that you still feel anonymous. When this is the case, they usually offer a chance to meet together weekly in smaller groups to build closer connections with others who share your beliefs. While it may seem a bit more out of your comfort zone to try this, don’t underestimate the powerful connection that comes from sharing common beliefs.
Connect Through Exercise
Maybe linking up with others through common beliefs feels a little too personal to begin with and you’d prefer to start with something a little more casual. How about meeting new people while you exercise? They say you’re most likely to make friends where you spend time regularly. If you like to hit the gym, then this might be the natural route for you!
Start with Your Gym
The easiest place to start is wherever you get a gym membership. The YMCA is an excellent choice if you’re not sure where to begin. They offer tons of different programs and classes for you to try, which gives you a chance to meet other regulars and get to know people while having some fun doing it.
Get into an Exercise Class
Perhaps instead of a full-fledge gym membership, you like to spend your time enjoying a particular type of exercise. Try a spin class if you want to focus on cardio; or opt for a yoga class if your high-stress job calls for a more meditative practice. Either way, feel free to get as picky and specific as you want. The key is consistent attendance. That way you’ve a chance to get to know the other members of the class.
Take it Outdoors
If gyms and classes aren’t your thing and you’re more of the outdoorsy type, there are still plenty of ways to make your exercise a group venture rather than going solo. And lots of these options are free. Try joining a local jogging, hiking, or cycling group.
Join an Adult Rec League
Maybe organized sports are more your style. If you like to toss around the old pigskin in a game of flag football, enjoy pitching from the dugout, hitting the basketball court, or running on the soccer field, there are tons of opportunities to enjoy yourself and meet new people by joining an adult league.
If you tend to have hobbies that you can do on your own, you may want to consider branching out from time to time in order to invest in your social life. While it may be tempting to park it on the couch and binge episodes of your favorite show on Netflix after a long day at work (and you totally can, from time to time!), make sure you’re also stretching yourself and making the most of opportunities to enjoy time with others, as well.
Connect Through Your Hobbies
Since we’re on the topic of connecting with other through activities you enjoy, it’s a great idea to use your hobbies as a way to meet other like-minded people in a new city. It may have been optional or a bonus while in high school or college, but your hobbies are going to be one of the main ways for you to meet others in a new place on your own.
Embrace Your Interests
Think about the things you are already interested in or have a habit of doing on a regular basis. Consistency is key since the more you show up, the better others are able to get to know you. The things you do most often are often the key to making connections. So embrace your natural interests and make the most of them.
Think Outside the Box
Perhaps you are an animal lover. If you have a dog, you can meet other owners at a local dog park or beach. Even if you don’t have a dog, you can still walk one. With the existence of apps like Rover and Wag, you can sign up and offer your services to enjoy a fun-loving, four-legged companion for a time. Pups can be an instant ice breaker.
Use the Library as a Resource
Libraries are one of the most underrated free resources available to the public. It’s far more than just a building full of books. Libraries are dedicated to strengthening their communities and offer tons of wonderful programs at absolutely no cost. Make sure you check out your local library for lists of groups you could join, or even starting one of your own!
Join a Book Club
Obviously a book club is one of the primary options you’re going to come across when looking at potential local groups to try at the library. Book clubs can be a great way to expand a solo habit into a group setting. If you’ve never tried one, give it a go! You don’t have to be a bookworm to enjoy discussing a well-written story.
Join a Writing Group
Perhaps you enjoy writing stories even more than reading them. A writing group is another great way to take a hobby that is primarily practiced alone and bring it into a more communal setting on a regular basis. Sharing your creative work can also be a fantastic form of motivation and accountability.
Let Music Connect You
If you’re a hobbyist or even a full-fledge musician, then connecting with other people through the beauty of sound is an obvious choice. Again, practicing on your instrument can often seem like a lonely sort of hobby, but what better way to keep you practicing and connect you with other musicians that signing up for an open mic night at a local venue?
Get Your Grove On
Not a musician, but definitely love to appreciate music through the art of dance? Taking dance classes is a great way to connect with others (especially when partners are necessary!) and it keeps you actively doing something that you love. Some places even have regular dances you can attend for free at a local recreation center.
Try Something New
Not sure which hobby to pursue? It doesn’t have to be something you’re already good at doing, it can be something you’ve never done before, too! Consider taking a continuing education class and try something you’ve always wanted to learn. Perhaps take a language course, like Portuguese, or sign up for a cooking class or wine tasting.
Check Out the Local Scene
Ultimately, one of the best ways to meet people in a new city, is to get acquainted with the city itself. It’s good to know the area you’re in and get a feel for the culture there. If it’s a huge city, break down your exploration into smaller quadrants and sections. Familiarize yourself with the area and get a feel for the lay of the land so you have a better idea what to look into.
Patronize the Local Stores
There’s no better way to get a pulse on a city than to visit their local shops. Not only is it a chance for you to browse for items to decorate your new place, but it gives you a chance to talk with the locals and get a better idea for the feel of the area. In fact, you may end up hearing about a group or event you’d never find listed online!
Visit a Local Coffee Shop
You may have your favorite order at Starbucks, Dunkin, or another national chain, but skip the regular and try a local joint instead. Not only will they greatly appreciate the support, but coffee shops are usually deeply connected with the heartbeat of the community and local events. Plus, when you do make friends, you can enjoy meeting at a unique, local space rather than a generic franchise.
Visit a Local Bookstore
The local bookstore is also going to keep close tabs on the pulse of the community. Often their window display and walls will be filled with flyers for upcoming local events. In fact, bookstores are often a venue themselves for book signings, poetry slams, readings, and other fun events. Pop in and see what you can find.
Enjoy a Play
If you’re not a thespian or theater buff, you’d probably be amazed to know how often a city or schools put on plays for the community. It’s an activity that you can enjoy year-round which brings you right into the heart of the community. Not only can you meet people at the event itself, but it makes for a great conversation topic in the future as well.
Check out a Concert
The same principle applies for local concerts. While famous bands may not come to your new city every quarter, or even at all, there’s likely no shortage of local concerts to enjoy. Again, lots of schools and universities promote concerts, live orchestras, ensembles, and the like for the public to enjoy.
Look into the Live Music Scene
Speaking of live music, that’s another great way to join a gathering of people and have a chance to meet some new friends. Many restaurants, bars, and cafes will host live music, even on a weekly basis. It’s a great chance to get out of the house, get a feel for the local culture, and maybe meet a few new people.
Attend an Art Exhibit
There have been many methods listed so far that don’t incur any cost from you to try. Another one of those is visiting an art exhibit of a local artist. There are cases where an exhibit may be ticketed, but there are often free nights, too. Local artists are always thrilled to know you’ve taken time to come see their work.
Attend a Seminar or Lecture
What better way to find truly “like-minded” people than at a local seminar or lecture focusing on a topic of interest to you? While conferences can do the same thing, they are often very expensive and extremely lengthy. Local lectures and seminars are much shorter, more focused, and are, in several cases, free for you to attend.
Browse the Local Farmers Market
Farmers markets, much like local shops, are often made up of vendors who are local to the area. Regular visit to the market on the weekends not only stocks you up on the best fresh produce, but it also gets you familiar with local faces. Supporting local is a great way to get to know your city and its people.
Try a Night of Trivia
As mentioned at the beginning, making connections in a new place often requires a bunch of different approaches. A super fun way to connect with and get to know other people in a casual setting is a trivia night at a local place. Nothing like a little friendly competition to get people engaged.
Attend a Local Sporting Event
Not everything on the list may tickle your fancy, but these are all valid methods to try. Maybe you’re not so much into the arts or academic scene, but you can’t get enough of sports. College sporting events are a huge crowd draw. Depending on the sport, the tailgating alone can be enough to surround you with a crowd of new friends.
Meet Others by Giving Back
Another great way to meet others—and one that doesn’t cost you anything but time—is giving back to the community through volunteering. There’s nothing quite like the satisfying feeling of knowing you’ve spent your time well by helping others. And just imagine the kind of people you’re likely to meet who are volunteering alongside you!
Volunteer at the Local Animal Shelter
It’s been scientifically proven that spending time with animals can relieve stress. So why not love yourself and some animals in need by volunteering at a local shelter? Shelters always appreciate the help and you get to enjoy some furry cuddles at the same time! If you happen to meet your new best friend there (furry or otherwise), too, then it’s a total win-win.
Volunteer at the Local Food Bank
There’s no shortage of need for helping hands at food banks, soup kitchens, and charity pantries. You don’t have to be a cook to help out, either. You can utilize whatever skills you have at your disposal, whether that’s through organizing events, data entry, or handing out hot meals. It’s a great way to get to know local faces and make a positive impact at the same time.
Volunteer at the Community Garden
Maybe the actual food preparation and distribution isn’t quite what you have in mind, but you do like the idea of volunteering to help a local charity. Lots of food pantries have a community garden planted for fresh produce. You can get your daily dose of vitamin-D and enjoy working with your hands in the soil while you meet others tending the garden alongside you.
Join a Clean Up Initiative or Building Project
While it seems a bit morose to talk of natural disasters creating a necessity for people to come together and work side-by-side, it’s definitely true that clean up initiatives and disaster relief projects can be a fantastic way to spend your timing meaningfully while simultaneously connecting you with others of the same generous heartbeat.
Volunteer at the Library
As mentioned before, libraries are an excellent resource to the community. Not only does it provide tons of wonderful programs and events for you to explore and enjoy, it also offers opportunities for you to give back, too. If you have a heart for reading, try volunteering at your local library and offer your services to the library itself, or as part of one of the programs, like tutoring children to improve their reading skills.
Volunteer at a Museum
If you’re artistically or historically inclined, working in a museum can be an incredible experience. You can surround yourself with great works of art or important archeological and culture discoveries, soak up the knowledge, and acquire skills to add to your resume at the same time. Plus, whether it’s people you work alongside or the ones who are coming to enjoy the museum, the potential for meeting like-minded people is nearly endless.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
There are tons of places you can volunteer and meet people who have the same passions and values. The Red Cross is always looking for assistance in a variety of areas. The YMCA is a great place to volunteer your services, as well. And if you’re politically inclined, there’s no shortage for a need of help during a campaign. A quick internet search will yield so many local options for you to try.
There’s an App for That
If attending tons of events is a bit overwhelming, know that you can space it out over time, being intentional with your selections and increasing your circle bit by bit. And you can also take breaks and let the internet be on your side. Social media groups can be a great way to connect with local people. Just check to see if other members live in your area.
There are also apps like Meetup, which are built to specifically help you get connected in a new city. Meetup is a platform “for finding and building local communities.” With over 335 worldwide groups and tons of suggestions for exploring your city, you’ll find lots of way to meet new people.
Check out Nearify
Another app to help you explore your city and meet people, Nearify is specifically catered to notify you of events. With personalized listings of events in your specified location, you can plan your free time ahead to enjoy trending events like concerts, standup comedy, and more.
Look into CitySocializer
Combining the enjoyment of fun with others offline with a place to stay in touch with them online as your circle of friends grows, CitySocializer is advertised for people who are looking for a way to improve their social life, especially those looking to meet people in new cities. Although specifically catered to major cities, it is continually expanding.
Hopefully this list has inspired even more ideas than those mentioned here. Though it’ll take some getting out of your comfort zone, and a bit of intentional effort, you can certainly discover a wonderful group of friends in a brand new city.
Make sure you’re making the most of every opportunity, say yes to invitations, and embrace discomfort. The only way to meet new people is to actually put yourself out there from time to time, and to give yourself the chance.