Last Updated on May 24, 2022 by Sophie
Finding friends in a new city can seem daunting, if you don’t know where to look. And so, whether you’re moving to a new city, new area, or even a new country, here’s how to make friends in a new city (and have fun in the process).
As someone who has moved to two major cities during their adult life (London and Paris), having come from a tiny village in the countryside with a population of under 600, I know first-hand just how intimidating it can be to arrive in a new place, only to know no one at all. Luckily, there are a number of ways to meet new people, many of which I will detail below.
‘They’ often say that it’s often harder to make friends as an adult, but I honestly think that ‘they’ are wrong. While it’s true that attending school as a child gives you an automatic group of people with whom you can potentially become friends, you are all forced to go to the same place (meaning that you don’t necessarily share the same views or interests).
As an adult, you are more likely to find people you’re going to get along with, for simple virtue of going to the kind of places where everyone shares the same interests (studying in a specific field, living in a certain city, enjoying the same hobbies, working in the same domain). So long as you don’t give up and do try and find friends, it’s probably going to be much easier than you may think!
Tips for making friends in a new place
Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up
First things first is a little note on adult friendships. While childhood friendships are easily formed (and often easily broken as you grow up, and often grow apart), making friends as an adult is obviously much more complex and so may take a little more time. As a result, be patient and be sure not to give up.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people
In the same vein as the previous point, don’t feel like you can’t reach out to people to make connections and new friends. If you’ve been out with friends of friends and get along well with someone, don’t hesitate to reach out to them over text/ social media to ask them to hang out again to grab lunch/ dinner or a coffee.
Say ‘yes’ to new opportunities
One of the most important things to remember when moving to a new city is that you’re really going to have to put yourself out there to meet new people (even if you’re like me and you’re a bit of an introvert!) Try and say ‘yes’ to as many opportunities as possible within the first few weeks of moving somewhere- you’ll thank yourself later!
Where to find friends in a new city
Get to know your co-workers/ fellow students
If you’re moving to a new city on the account of a new job or studies, then one of the easiest ways to meet new people (and potential friends) is to reach out to the people you already have easy access to.
If you’re headed somewhere to attend a course or work for a company you’re passionate about, then the chances are that the people also at that insitution already hold similar values and interests as you. Reach out to them and ask to go for coffees/ lunches/ or after work drinks.
Hop on a dating app
It sounds weird and not like the #1 way to make friends in a new city, but if you’re in a new place, it can always be fun to hop on a dating app and head out on something as normal as a date, where there are no expectations for you to see the other person again if you don’t get along well.
Of course, you should always be cautious, meet in a public place, and never reveal personal information to a stranger, but going on a date can be a great way to meet someone new with no expectations placed on you. Alternatively, some apps, such as Bumble, have a ‘BFF’ feature where you can match with people who are looking for friends with similar interests in your area.
Join Facebook groups
While no one might wish one another ‘Happy Birthday’ anymore on each other’s timelines, Facebook remains an invaluable resource for meeting new people. Each city (especially larger hubs or places where there are plenty of digital nomads) tends to have its own groups for likeminded people.
Just type in ‘your city’ and ‘digital nomads,’ ‘expats,’ ‘newbies,’ ‘foreigners,’ or ‘girls’ (if you identify as female) and you’ll come across plenty of groups where you can find potential new friends. These groups often host events and meet-ups for their members. Other people in the group might write a post asking to meet with others.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, then you can write something like ‘hello, my name is X and I’ve just moved to X. My interests are X and X. I am looking to meet some fun new people and would love to go for coffee or drinks.’
I would note that you should take particularly precautions when meeting new people and should only ever meet in a public place. I personally am wary of unsolicited DMs from men and only tend to meet up with women.
While Facebook is a great place to start, if you’re not having much luck, then there is an entire website dedicated to meetups: Meetup.com. This website allows people to create ‘meetups’ based on everything from hanging out with people with similar hobbies to people who are newly arrived in a new city.
Though in a similar vein to joining Facebook groups, I have placed language groups as a completely separate category for making friends in a new city. This is because there are a number of ways to learn the language of your new home (if you’ve moved somewhere where a different language is spoken than your native tongue).
The first way is to take official classes with a certified teacher in a language school. While often the pricier option, these classes are often the most immersive way to learn grammatically correct language (particularly the written part). There are often a number of other people in the classes that you can chat to and get to know.
Another option is to join language Facebook exchange groups. These are more relaxed, casual groups where you can (often for free) meet up with people to practice each other’s languages. These groups tend to be more focused on learning the spoken language.
Meet friends of friends
Once you have a handful of friends in a new city, the hard part is over. When you find people that you get along with and are naturally drawn to, you’ll likely discover that their friends are pretty similar to you too. After all, it’s often said that you’re a summation of those you spend the most time with.
Speak to people you already know
If you’re moving to a new city and have friends of friends who already live there, then be sure to ask your acquaintance in common to put you in touch. Even if it’s a neighbour’s friend’s son who you’ve never met before, at least you have a starting point for meeting new people in your new place of residence!