Making a Social Shift by melissa n., M.A., CCC-SLP
After thirteen years in the field of Speech Pathology which include experiences in outpatient pediatric clinics through skilled nursing facilities and literally everything in between, I have been fortunate enough to work in five different states and in Toronto, Ontario. This includes nine different (sometimes, very different) cities. Each of these relocations has posed a large, both terrifying and exhilerating question…. what about friends and a social life? How will I occupy my time and how, how on Earth will I make friends?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Choose a hobby. Maybe something that you already do, maybe something you’ve always wanted to try. Either way, find a class or a group that focuses on that hobby. Whether it be scrapbooking, mountain climbing, photography, sailing, whatever. There’s always a group of folks who have similiar interests and enjoy sharing the experience.
2. Take a class. It can be something that counts towards another degree, or an adult education ceramics class. It will lead to meeting others in the community, and you’ll be gaining something educationally.
3. Be a tourist. Google for state parks, historical sights, landmarks, and cultural sites to visit. Enjoy the experience and talk to the staff. Be honest, and explain that you have just relocated to the area. Ask where the locals go and what the locals do… and then go there.
4. Take in a game of the local team- whatever season it may be. It might be the high school football team or the NBA team. Becoming involved and being a regular at events that support the community attract others’ notice. Inviting a co-worker or someone you casually chat with at the gym to go with you is an opener for developing a friendship.
5. Join a team. Softball, bowling, darts, golf, being a member of a team is an easy way to branch out into friendships and other types of social events.
6. Volunteer. Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, the local food bank or mission. There are many organizations that are in need of assitance and through which you can meet others and develop friendships.
7. Join a church.
8. Attend some free seminars and local events that are of interest.
9. Go out alone. Don’t be afraid to go to the local coffee shop alone to read the paper. At the very least, it’s relaxing, and possibly could lead to someone asking to borrow a section of the newspaper. 🙂
10. Go to locally owned restaurants and taverns. Become a regular and eventually, you will create friendships.
There are many ways to become socially active in a new city and build friendships when relocating. I am blessed to have friends in all of the cities in which I have lived, and remain in contact with them. The most important thing to keep in mind when building a social life and making friends in a new city is to be adventurous! Be willing to try new things and go new places. That’s what makes being a traveler so fun!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain