Well, my husband Zach and I did it again: we moved. This is now our 3rd move in under 3 years. And I’m not just talking moving neighborhoods or across town, I mean state moves. In the last 3 years we have moved from Georgia (for me) and South Carolina (for Zach) to Rochester, Minnesota to Asheville, North Carolina and now to Greenville, South Carolina. And let me tell ya, moving is exhausting — all the planning and prepping and organizing. I joke I don’t want to move again for at least 10 years. We have been in a continuous season of life of upheaval and reestablishment and I am ready to be settled for awhile. As tiresome as moving can be, I would say I have become pretty good at it. And I don’t just mean the prepping and organizing, but the laying of new roots, even if temporary, and putting myself out there to establish new relationships and community. Moving can be difficult and leaving behind friends and family can be disheartening, but it is possible to create wonderful and lasting relationships in your new location.
Are you in a season of moving or know someone who is about to move? I have 6 steps and actionable strategies for you to put into place to make friends in no time. These steps have been faithful and helpful to making friends and establishing community faster. So, be encouraged!
Making new friends and creating lasting relationships is possible with a little bit of work, intentionality, and these 6 steps and actionable strategies.
Say ‘YES’ to Everything
Okay, not literally everything, please use discretion, but for the most part if you’re invited to, read about, or have interest in something, go and do it! You may be invited to something you have zero interest in, but there is the possibility you will meet someone else there you have a lot in common with. For example, I went to an impromptu Halloween movie night at this random girl’s house where I met a bunch of other people for the first time . I didn’t know one girl (not even the one who owned the home), but because I went two of the girls from that night ended up becoming my best friends.
Try New Things
When we moved to Rochester, Zach and I firmly decided that we were going to become rock climbers. We had rock climbed once together before and had practically tore all the skin off our hands in that one session. But we had always wanted to learn and so moving to Rochester was the perfect opportunity. You can start a new hobby anytime but moving to a new city where no one knows your preferences is the perfect chance to do something you wouldn’t normally try.
They say that moving to a new city is a chance to reinvent yourself. It’s true to an extent, because you can maybe get a new hairstyle or wear red lipstick like T-Swift, but no matter how hard we try, our true nature will always creep back in. Do you have a loud laugh? Let it roar! Don’t hide the things that make you unique. That’s what attracts others: someone who is unapologetically themselves.
Don’t Be A Hermit
The worst thing you can do if you move to a new city is to stay at home all the time and never go out. And that goes for if you have a spouse or significant other too – being with them doesn’t count as being social. You have to GET OUT. You’ll become so lonely and homesick if you stay at home watching Netflix all day. I learned this the hard way. Don’t be sad me.
Invite, Invite, Invite
Invite people everywhere, invite yourself everywhere. Don’t rely on those around you to establish friendships and community, but put forth the effort to meet others and connect with them. Have people over for dinner, invite people to a game or movie night, text some people and ask if they want to join you at the festival downtown. Also, invite yourself places, too! Know someone having a potluck? Ask if you can join. It may feel awkward, but it’s so worth it and you might be the community and connection that person has been praying for as well.
Get Those Digits
Connecting with your hairstylist? Get her number! The girl at the gym also likes to hike? Get her number! It may feel awkward, but every time you don’t get someone’s number you’re losing an opportunity to make a friend! Digits = Connecting = Friends. My husband and I even play matchmaker for each other. If I meet a guy at church or another couple through work, I’ll make sure to get their names and numbers to share with Zach. And Zach will do the same for me. We help the other get numbers for potential friends, but this works with other people you’ve met or co-workers. Ask people you have met if they know anyone you would get along with. Network, network, network!
God is with you in this new location and season of life.
If God has called you to this new location and new season of life, be assured that it is purposeful and that God will make it clear in His timing. Do not be anxious or have fear about the change. Trust that there are friends to be made and community to be established in your new city. Continue to move forward in faith by making connections and trust that God will reveal to you those relationships you crave.