Recently, one of my friends moved to a new city and she was telling me how she’s finding it hard to meet people. I moved to Nova Scotia almost eight years ago and I’ve made so many great friends here. I’m lucky though because Nova Scotians tend to be super open and willing to talk to pretty much anyone. I mean, by the time you are done paying for your groceries, you will pretty much know the life story of the cashier and the person in the line up behind you.
I feel as you get older, it becomes more difficult to meet people and make friends outside of work. As a mom, it is especially important to have friends to lean on or to socialize with. I’ve compiled a list of ways I have been able to make a new circle of friends in a new city.
1. Get off your phone.
We, as a society have an addiction to our phones. Have you ever stood in a lineup by yourself or sat in a waiting room and tried not pulling out your phone? It’s difficult. You almost feel exposed. Well, I suggest you try it! No one is going to approach you or make conversation if you have your face in your phone, so put it away, make some eye contact and smile. You never know who might smile back and initiate conversation with you.
2. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
If you meet someone in a random situation and you feel like you have something in common or that there is potential for friendship, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The first dentist appointment I had when I moved to Nova Scotia ended up leading me to a great friendship. Somehow, the dental hygienist and I ended up having a great conversation (yes, while her hands in my mouth). We found out we had everything in common, we were the same age, our husbands were three years younger than us, we got engaged in the same year, we drove the exact same 2007 Silver Yaris, we had the same middle name, our husband’s had the same middle name. We just couldn’t not be friends. So I put myself out there and said we should hang out sometime. Or maybe she did. It’s been so long now I can’t remember. In any case, one of us put ourselves out there and she became one of my favourite people in Nova Scotia.
3. Make your Insta-friends real life friends
I’ve been making friends online ever since Myspace. Ha ha. No, seriously! If you find a connection online, why not extend it to real life. Recently, I’ve turned several Insta-friends into real life friends and they have been just as wonderful in real life as they seem online.
Take advantage of any opportunity that may come your way. Recently a friend from Vancouver reached out to me and said someone she knew was moving to Nova Scotia and asked if would be alright for her to give her friend my contact number. I agreed, and since then I have met for coffee with her friend several times and it’s been a lot of fun.
5. Use your kids (or dogs)
Carlos has made fun of me and when I come home from playground he asks if I picked up another mom again. Kids are so social and will play with any random kid at the playground, so when they do, use that to your advantage and strike up a conversation. I have met several other moms because our kids have started to play with each other. One friend that I see almost weekly I met at a 3-year-old’s birthday party.
6. Find something that interests you and pursue it
If you like to workout, join a gym. Instead of putting your headphones in and spending the whole time on the Stairmaster, go to a class where you have to interact with other people. If you are interested in photography, join a photo meetup. If you love to blog, go to a blogging conference. The options are unlimited. If you find people who love the same things you do, then you have a common ground on which to build friendships.
7. Create your own community
Start something up yourself. Organize a block party for your neighbourhood. Start a wine club, book club, an anything club! Create a facebook page for people who just moved to your city. Not only will you meet a bunch of people that way, but you will be the ‘go to’ person!
8. Be the person you wish to meet
If you have ever moved to a new city you know how exciting it can be. However, it can also be scary and lonely. If you meet someone who is new to town, reach out. Extend your number and offer to show them around. The very first day we moved to Halifax, we were down on the waterfront and started chatting with a girl who worked in a store. We told her it was our first day there and we had just moved from the other side of the country. I’ll never forget what she did next. As we were leaving the store she wrote down her name and number and said: “Since you don’t know anyone here, I’ll give you my number and maybe we can hang out sometime.” A week later, Carlos left to go up north for work and this girl invited me to a BBQ at her house. It was such a simple thing that she did, but to me it meant a lot because I barely knew anyone here. So if you meet someone new to town, be the one to welcome them. They won’t forget it.