5 ways to make friends after moving

I'll be the first to admit that my life has been pretty sweet. I got to move across the country and the world multiple times. My memories consist of things like hot air balloon festivals in White Sands, New Mexico. We spent weekends visiting castle ruins in the English countryside and hiked around the snowy trails of Switzerland. Sunbathing in Barcelona, witnessing New Year's Eve and the dawn of a new Millennium at the Eiffel Tower...those were the massive perks of the lifestyle I was raised in, and ultimately the experiences that shaped my love of travel. 

However, with all of that good shit came switching schools, memorizing a new home address, unpacking boxes you knew you'd have to repack eventually, and {the worst} being the new kid. I've really lucked out in the 'friends' department, ya know? Add onto my upbringing my time studying abroad, navigating new adventures in foreign countries, and volunteering with complete strangers...I'd say I have some qualified advice for making new friends no matter your situation.

Here is my top advice for making friends after a big move!

Join a club //

Truth game: I'm not much of a 'joiner.'  Only because I hate forced social interactions. My worst nightmares include things like small talk, standing up while giving a brief introduction, etc. This is a change I've seen in myself over the last few years. I used to love adding my name to the sign-up sheet of any and every available activity. My mum put me in every extracurricular imaginable. Multicultural Club, Destination Imagination, theater productions, dance classes, the Environmental Club, Spanish Club...if there was a group activity, we were signed up for it. At the time, I absolutely ate it all up! And, looking back, I appreciate it, because that's how I made a large majority of the lasting relationships I still enjoy today. I became better friends with Ellyn, Steph, and Jacqueline thanks to evenings spent at Girl Scout meetings. I met Mike and Abbey through the Alpine Club at Massey in New Zealand. It might seem silly, but joining a group of like-minded individuals can be really comforting after moving. 

Get active //

Not for everyone, I get it. Think of it this way: hot bod + endorphins + new friendships! Three birds, one stone, amirite?! I'm one of those sick individuals who loves physical activity. I believe that my love of exercise stems from the many friendships I've made via sports. Let's be totally real, k? I would have had a completely different life had I not been involved in athletics. Little league, soccer, basketball {God help me}, cheerleading {we call this period of my life 'the Dark Era'}, volleyball...I tried everything. In the end, I wasn't a child basketball prodigy. But, I made fast friends and built camaraderie with my teammates. I never felt alone growing up, but I was constantly surrounded by friends at practice, encouraging each other. I built a supportive network of people around me. If you're reading this, you probably are too old for teeball, but there are adult leagues for everything from bowling to football. The perk of being a runner is that you can do it anywhere and there is a running club or training group almost everywhere I've ever been. Don't feel like joining a group? Go for a jog in the park regularly enough you'll run into other regulars and coffee dates will follow. On this, I can promise. 

Take a class //

What could be a sweeter deal than accomplishing a goal by learning a new skill while meeting new people? My point exactly. You could take a cooking class for reasons outlined in my post here. But there really is no limit to what's available! New cities, especially overseas, offer language courses, auditing University classes, crafting lessons...the possibilities to meet new people are endless! Check out Groupon for deals to cheap classes in your new area! 

Volunteer //

I love volunteering! You meet people from the local area who are passionate about the same things that matter most to you. That's setting yourself up for friendship gold, I promise! I met Grace, Luke, and Will all through volunteering and have met up with them again in different parts of the world. Volunteering creates a broader network of relationships with people who have big hearts. 

Use your existing network //

When I first moved to Auckland, I was in a very strange place mentally. I was finally back 'home', but my friends were finishing up their last semester of University. I had a 'so close, yet so far away' feeling being up north. Sure, we all visited frequently {like every few weekends...}. And, admittedly, it wasn't long before Keegs and S moved to Auckland. However, before they moved up and in the time between visits, S took me to a pub to meet friends he had made. He introduced me to Matt and Rhys over a night of laughs and beers. 'Even if you don't meet up again, I feel better knowing you have more people up here,' S had said in the cab that night. The next morning we were all Facebook friends and I had new contacts. 

It's important to make meaningful relationships. I'd be lost without mine. They're the most supportive, genuine, hilarious, protective people I know. They're family. I hope everyone reading this who makes any kind of move, whether it be across the country or across the world, finds people like I have. Know that good people can be found if you just put yourself out there!

If all else fails, buy a stranger coffee! ;)