A new friend of mine grew up in a small town, so everybody she met already had some sort of connection to her. When she moved to a city, she didn’t know where or how to begin. If you’re moving to a place where you don’t know anybody, how do you get started?
Introductions: People you know may know somebody in your new town. Even a casual acquaintance can introduce you to someone who ends up becoming a close friend, so start working your networks. If you’re active on social media, post something along the lines of “Thinking about moving to San Diego but don’t know anyone there. Would love to meet up with some residents while I’m in town checking it out next week. I’d appreciate any and all introductions!” (Sadly, I have not had similar success using this technique to meet single male billionaires.)
Memberships: What organizations do you belong to (or are eligible to belong to)? University alumni associations can be a great way to meet people, as can fraternity or sorority alumni chapters. So can professional associations and unions. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) often have group gatherings, as do the recipients of some major scholarships. When you’re a member of a group like these, you can walk into an event where you don’t know anybody confident in the fact that it doesn’t matter, because you all have something major in common (and might even discover some mutual friends).
Groups: I asked you in an earlier post to think about what activities you like doing that would be even more enjoyable with a friend. There’s probably a group of people already doing that activity together. If you love writing and wish you had at least one writer friend, then look for a writing group. MeetUp is a great resource which I’ll discuss further in a future post.
Sit at the bar: Many restaurants offer the full food menu in their bar. Sit at the actual bar counter – patrons who sit there, even in twos, are generally open to talking to the people next to them.
Tell people what you’re looking for: In general, people enjoy helping other people. Make it easy for strangers to help you – tell them what you’re looking for. Have a few stock lines or questions you can pull out of your back pocket when the timing is right. At a university alumni happy hour? “When I was at USC, I used to love pretending I was on the crew team. Do you know anyone who pretends to row here?” At an RPCV gathering? “My two years in Morocco were among the best of my life. Where’s the best Moroccan food here?” Better yet, because it leads you to other people, “Do you know any groups for people who love cooking foods from other countries?”
I could do an entire blog post on each of the above strategies, and perhaps I will eventually. What about you? Do you have any additional tips?