The CROWD Guide to Meeting People in a New City
Moving to a new city is terrifying on its own, especially if you don’t know anyone yet. You get a new home, new neighbors, new places to discover and the first months are always touristy – but what about friends? Where do you find them?
Making new friends in a place where you don’t know anyone can turn out to be quite the challenge. Don’t worry. You are not alone, and there are others like you out there who are just as scared to reach out to new people. But it doesn’t have to be as frightening as it may seem. Just shout out a “Yes” to every opportunity, and you will have a rocking group in no time.
Coffee shops, bars, and clubs
This is probably the most chliché part of this guide, but it’s been tried and tested, and I feel like coffee shops, bars, and clubs are a great place to start your search for new acquaintances.
Eating alone or visiting a club all by yourself can be intimidating at first, but once you accept it, things start getting better. Believe it or not, these are the best hangout places to meet new people – given you are the kind of person that knows how to start and hold a conversation with a stranger.
Try busy coffee shops or bars. You can share a table with a stranger and start a conversation. It goes without saying that getting to know people at these places requires some involvement on your part. Don’t just sit there. Smile and invite people to sit with you. Ask them how they are.
(My extensive tests have shown that it’s easier to talk to people after the second beer.)
If nothing works out, there is probably free Wi-Fi. Learn to accept rejection. Tomorrow is a new day.
You really can’t go wrong with your local bar’s Happy Hour. Most people come to these events to relax and not be too serious, which makes it easy to strike up a conversation.
I’ve found that strangers become friends in no time when you pay for a round or two.
Seminars or classes
Put your hobby to use or start a new one. Yoga class, a cooking course, or some art workshop are perfect opportunities to get to know people organically. You’ll see the same people every other week and already share similar interests, which helps to break the ice. Say hi, talk about the class and the conversation should find its flow naturally.
Rinse and repeat the next time you see each other, and you might end up wanting to meet each other outside your classes, too.
If you like the outdoorsy vibe more, join a group of people in the park near your house. You can choose to do yoga, practice running or participate in a biking club. Make sure you visit regularly and chat with people. Smalltalk is okay. No need to go deep when you’re starting to get to know someone.
Join the gym
One of the best ways to meet people is in a class at the gym. But if classes aren’t your thing, spend time in the weight room when it’s busy so you can converse with other gym rats.
If there’s a cafe or juice bar at your gym, hang out for a bit after your workout and connect with other members.
Host a party
Host your own casual dinner party or open house and invite your neighbors, people from work, or acquaintances you’ve bumped into along the way.
Invite them to bring a friend along so you expand your potential circle of new connections. You don’t have to do anything elaborate. Make a pot of soup or order a few pizzas. The point is to simply bring people together and expand your circles.
Visit a museum
Do you like art? Natural history? Science? Most cities have one or several museums devoted to something that interests you.
You’ll have no shortage of things to talk about if you chat it up with another museum-goer.
Wanna see a list of events and places made for meeting new people?Show me!
Know thy neighbor
Try and get to know the people that are already around you.
Whether you love them or hate them, your colleagues from work or the people sitting next to you in your lectures are the ones you’ll end up seeing most anyway. Why not get to know them? Chances are you’ll have something new to look forward to each morning.
Getting familiar with your literal neighbors will immediately give you an opportunity to befriend them! Introduce yourself when you move in, invite them over for some coffee, beer, or a bbq, and see where it goes. Even if you don’t end up best buds, you’ll have someone to ask for a cup of flour when you inevitably run out of it on a Sunday afternoon.
Pro tip: I haven’t met a person that doesn’t like freshly baked cookies. They are a great reason to knock on someone’s door.
Find a workday crew
Many people telecommute or work from home these days, which can be isolating, especially when you’ve just moved to a new city. That’s why finding a group that meets to work together — either in an actual coworking space like WeWork or informally at a coffee shop — is an excellent way to meet other telecommuters. Why not post in your city’s Facebook group? “Every Tuesday morning, I’m going to be working at this coffee shop if anyone wants to join me.” You never know who will show up!
Ask for introductions
If you have a couple of friends or acquaintances who have a larger circle of friends, ask them to introduce you to new people. Maybe your existing friends know people in your new city. Ask them to make an email connection and then follow up yourself to suggest a get-together.
Get a dog
Don’t get a dog to make friends. That’s not a good enough reason to adopt an animal. But if you’re contemplating making a dog a part of your life anyway, ‘making friends’ goes on the list of pros! Cute puppies are definitely in the top 3 best ice breakers.
Ask people on friend dates
Be forward! Say, “I have a friend-crush on you, would you wanna go for coffee or something sometime?” Mention that you’re new to the city and looking for insider tips.
Eat in public
If you don’t know anyone in a new city, it can be tempting to order take-out and retreat to your lonely apartment or hotel room. Instead, try eating by yourself in public as often as possible.
You might feel self-conscious eating by yourself but it has an important benefit: you are much easier to approach when you are alone. People may be afraid of interrupting you or being rude if you are in a conversation with someone else.
Bring a book or newspaper to read (this will make you feel less self-conscious). Plus, having an interesting book with you will give others an excuse to start a conversation if they’ve read it.
Go on dates
If you’re single, date date date! Dating widens your social circle. Even if things don’t work out, you might end up with a new friend. I highly recommend not going for drinks or coffee on your first date. Instead, explore the city together or bond over another unusual activity. Check out our tips for a unique first date for some ideas!
Hang out at a jazz or music club
Do you enjoy jazz or some other music genre that works well in a smaller venue and allows for conversation?
Find a cool, low-key club where you can listen to great music and start up an interesting conversation.
Get a roommate
Don’t like riding solo? Find a roommate of similar age.
Maybe if you haven’t moved to the new area yet, consider looking at sharing a flat or house instead of living by yourself. Even if it’s just for a few months in the beginning. There are plenty of websites out there with a whole diverse group of people looking to live with someone. You could find the best friend you didn’t think you could, and it can also be an excellent way to get integrated into the area and their social lives which then present lots of opportunities for meeting new people.
Develop a routine
Having a routine is what keeps most of us sane. It’s something to look forward to and something that can hold us accountable. Could it be SoulCycle after work? A scone at the local bakery every Sunday? A trip to the dog park on the weekends? Developing a routine will get you outside of the house quicker than your social calendar might, which will help you own your new city. You may even feel more confident to introduce yourself to those who might share a similar routine. After all, you have nothing to lose—and possibly a new friend to gain—by being friendly.
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