I am a journalist. What does that mean beyond face value specifics like occupation, salary and experience? It means that people like me, people with jobs like mine, can never get too comfortable. I’ve had to move or be willing to move at a moment’s notice to advance my career. Realistically, sure, I would love to settle down in some place, furnish an apartment permanently and have a flourishing group of friends. Consequently, if you have a job that won’t let you be still, you’ll have to start from scratch over and over again.
Friends and support systems alike are the people who compose your tribe, whose moments will make up the memories in your lifetime. Even if you are introverted and can manage not having a circle of people around you, why should you? When you move to a new place, you may experience excitement, shock, loneliness and hopefulness— maybe even in that order— but being in the company of others who you enjoy being around, can calm anxious nerves and help you settle in, even if only for a short while.
So, this is my foolproof, but also inaccurate, and sometimes embarrassing, sometimes genius way to find your tribe in a new city.
There are only three ways to do it:
Stick to What You Know
Self-actualize where you and your friendship find a home. Think about what it is that you like to do and venture out to do those things. There’s a likely chance that someone else, or many people, who like to do those things will be there as well.
I’m more of a laid back, artsy person. That means I tend to meet people at art exhibits, open mic nights, and maybe even a coffee shop or film night. Every city I’ve been to has all of those things, and if the city didn’t, I wouldn’t have been there in the first place. Let Google and Google Maps be your best friends until you make real ones.
“Hey Siri, where’s the nearest Sip ‘N Paint?”
By sticking to what you know, it’s a guarantee that you and everyone else you meet will have fun or be relaxed because you are already doing something you have in common.
And if that doesn’t work…
You’ve done the coffee shop thing, but they are always crowded beyond capacity. The libraries have been empty, and the sip ‘n paints’ have been booked solid for weeks. The worst part is that these are your favorite places, and not only do you not have any cool places to hang, but you also haven’t been able to meet anyone.
Go to unconventional activities alone.
Pastimes like concerts, going to the beach, clubbing, and, yes, even sporting events can be great places to meet friends. It’s true, people don’t usually go to these activities alone, but there are so many things you can bond over in these places.
Beaches? It’s an approachable setting and your future friends are likely to be in a chill and relaxed mood. Go meet them! What are you waiting for?
Clubs and concerts? You and other people will be dancing around and sharing the same taste in music. Talk about it —well, it’s probably too loud for that, and you don’t want to be that person trying to hold a conversation over loud music (guilty). You can join groups of friends and dance with them.
Baseball games? Talk about the state of the game with the people around you, and if you’re really hitting it off, take turns buying the rounds of drinks.
Once you start meeting people, you can meet other friends through them. Or, if you’re the introverted type, you may only have the social capacity for one friend. That’s cool too.
Speaking of being social, don’t be afraid to try social apps! These days, they expand far past dating. There are apps for dating, obviously. There are apps to find babysitters or pet sitters. Now, there are even apps to create long-lasting friendships! Some people even use apps like Tinder to meet friends, but they make it extremely clear that they are there to make friends and nothing else. So, be sure to do the same.
It’s 2020, and it’s not weird to meet people online. Relationships and real authentic friendship can blossom from behind a screen.
In your BFF search, maintain the mindset that you are going to do things by yourself. You will probably leave by yourself and not meet anyone in the process. And that’s O.K. Creating new and good— both keywords— friendships will take time. What do you have to lose? You’re going to successfully build those friendships. Then, you’ll have your tribe.