When we were kids, all it took to make a new friend was sharing your snacks with the kid beside you on the playground and, fortunately, that kind of bond could last right up until everyone graduated high school and headed off to the college or university of their choice or, even longer, until everyone graduated and found jobs. But what then? Why is it so much harder to make real lasting friendships in adulthood? In this piece, I will tackle that question and offer some reasonable suggestions to try to combat loneliness in a new city.
Having just moved out on my own for the first time, I have faced this challenge and found that there’s a few things that may yield results in the way of finding friends, so I’ve broken them down below:
The dreading “Networking”
I know, we all hate doing it but networking with people in your line of work is a great way to meet people who share your interests. Often some of our childhood friendships can’t stand the test of time and distance because people change, but you can find people who are more in line with the new you. As a lawyer, I have found it easy to connect with other lawyers and often, given our shared experience, we have a lot of other things to talk about. The trick is finding the places or websites where other people in your line of work hang out. Which leads me to my next point…
Technology is your friend
I’ve been embracing some of the technological innovations of late to help me find friends. I often forget that any problem I have in today’s world, I can google it. There’s also always “an app for that” in today’s society. For example, the popular dating app Bumble is not just for finding romantic connections. The app also offers a “bff” function to help you find other people near you who are looking to just hang out and grab a coffee. Facebook and LinkedIn can also help you find groups of people in your area who are interested in the same things as you. Even Pokémon Go has been getting in on the action. Going out and hunting the little creatures is a sure-fire way to find other people doing the same and the app itself offers a great starting point for a conversation. Use it to your advantage!
Choosing where you hang out
In a similar vein, there’s some advice out there which says that in order to meet people you’d want to date, you should go to places you want to go to. For example, if loud nightclubs aren’t your scene, don’t go to them to find your potential mate. The same advice applies for friendships. If you’re the kind of person who likes to sit in a coffee shop and read, go do that and maybe you’ll find that other people are doing the same. It’s easy to strike up a conversation by asking someone about the book they’re reading.
Ditch your PJs!
My last piece of advice is probably the hardest to swallow. I, myself, am guilty of neglecting it but it must be done. The temptation to sit on the couch, order in, and watch Netflix on a Friday night is high, but you’re not going to meet friends that way. Explore your city, make a point of finding places you want to see, like museums or restaurants, and make the effort to go and see them. You never know who you’ll meet on the way and, even if you don’t find your new best friend, you’re sure to forget about feeling lonely in the process.
With all that said, just know that you’re not alone in your loneliness. Plenty of new students or new grads feel the same longing for companionship and if you have the bravery to reach out to someone who looks like they could use a friend, you never know what will happen. Just always careful, safe, and open to new possibilities.
Got any advice for people looking to find friendship in a new place? Leave a comment below to let your fellow readers know!