Moving to a new city can be exciting or it can be miserable. Either way, it is guaranteed to be stressful to some degree. Moving can create the perfect storm of loneliness and unhappiness. Here are 5 tips to adjust to a new city that will help you quickly acclimate to decrease the “New-city-blues”.
I personally have moved a lot. Mostly in the state I grew up in, but most of those moves meant leaving behind my support group and having to start fresh. My most recent move (5th city I’ve called home now) was in the last few months, and I feel like I’ve got a system down now – so I wanted to share.
1 Social Media is Your Friend to Find Friends
Have you ever been scrolling on Instagram and land on someone’s feed where you’re like, “dang, I think I’d really get along with them”? I certainly have, and when I’m somewhere new, I make sure to take action and message them. You may or may not hear back, but aren’t we all used to that by now with dating apps? It’s just some harmless stalking. It’s fine.
Use the hashtag of your new city to find other people doing cool things that you vibe with. Before moving to Juneau, I started following #Juneau for a couple weeks to see what the city had going on.
Also Facebook Groups is a fantastic way to find a group of people doing something you enjoy. I look up hiking groups in whatever city I’m in. A tip with this is to check how often people post and how recently the last post was put up. If it’s an inactive group, don’t waste your time!
Another great use of social media is to use your current group of online friends to see if they know anyone living in the city you’re about to move to! I make sure to post on Instagram and Facebook that I’m moving and that I’m looking for hiking and wine night buddies (bonus points if you have a cat)-HMU!
BumbleBFF is a fantastic app for finding friends that may be into similar hobbies. I know from my own friends’ experiences that it can be more challenging if you are male looking for male friends, but give it a shot. My two best friends in Seattle are from using BumbleBFF.
2 City Events
Find out where your new city posts fun events and happenings! I make a point to find my city on Twitter and also venture to the local library where posters usually promote upcoming events! Facebook events has a feature where you can choose ‘Find Things to Do’, and it shows you local events.
Going to events is a great way to feel like you are a part of your new city and to immerse yourself in the culture of that city. If you’re slightly extroverted like me, you can try to strike up some conversations with people around you. I find that people can usually relate to starting fresh and are often excited to help and give recommendations!
3 Do Things in Your New City That You Are Comfortable Doing Alone
If I’m somewhere new and don’t know a soul, my emotional and mental psyche can degrade REAL fast. I’ve learned that in this situation I need to take action and do something that I would enjoy and that I feel COMFORTABLE doing alone.
For me that includes: Going to the movies, finding live music, spending time in a park, reading with a beer at a nearby bar. These activities get you acclimated to your new city and open up more opportunities for meeting people – especially if you work from home or don’t relate to any of your coworkers.
4 Say Yes to Everything
I know this sounds exhausting, but by putting in this time up front – I swear it will benefit you in the long run. When anyone you feel comfortable with suggests plans, say yes.
I’ve been curled up in a blanket in my pajamas hours deep into Netflix when someone texted me about a Rap Show at the local bar. I promise you it was painful for me to get off that couch (also Rap music is not my thing), but I ended up making 4 new friends that night and was introduced to 3 new places in my city that I knew nothing about!
You can be choosy with your time later, but in the beginning you need to show up or else people won’t bother inviting you later on.
5 Live in Temporary Housing Initially
I realize this is not feasible for everyone, but if you can make this work it can be a godsend. When I first moved to Seattle, I was able to afford an Airbnb for the first few months (most have discounts the longer you stay). By doing this, I was able to get acclimated to my city and figure out which neighborhoods I vibed with BEFORE signing any kind of lease.
In big cities this can be essential. If you make friends, but they live on the other end of the city – chances are neither of you are going to want to put in the energy every week to meet up. I was able to move to a spot after my Airbnb stay that allowed easy access to social events and new friends that I discovered in the first few months.
Moving is hard and social anxiety is very real, but remember the displacement is temporary. Set positive and achievable goals for yourself to enjoy your new home.