One of our newest contributors, Annie Reeves, offers her tips and tricks below for learning how to ease into a new city when you’re new to the area and don’t quite have your support system in place.
A little over a year ago, I moved to a city in which I knew not one soul. Of course, there were those connections (my best friend’s college roommate’s friend’s friend, etc.) that I intended to eventually meet, and the guy who I had chatted with on the phone when he hired me for my internship, but I didn’t have any friends per se.
In college, it was pretty easy to make friends. Everyone was looking to be a part of something at the same time—we were all new. When I moved to Charleston, I was (what felt like) the only new person in the city. So, I had to do some things that were a little out of my comfort zone to make it work. Continue reading for five of my tips in case you’re in the same boat!
Schedule coffee dates and happy hours—and don’t cancel.
What is it about those first face-to-face meetings that you suddenly don’t have time for at 4:45 p.m.? It can be extremely intimidating to walk into a bar to meet someone you have never seen in person. Sometimes, those meetings are a huge hit, and sometimes they are a total bust. But—just like dating—you have to go in order to know. So, schedule meet-ups with any and all connections you have, even if that means the random blogger you’ve been quietly following for months or a coworker you haven’t spent much time with at work. I made it my goal at the beginning of the year to schedule coffee, lunch or cocktails with someone new every single week. I can’t say I’ve done it 100 percent of the time, but it’s been close—and some of my favorite friendships have been formed because of it.
Join a group with like-minded people.
When moving to town, I joined the Charleston Blog Society almost immediately because blogging is one of my favorite activities. The important thing is to find a group for a hobby or interest you find exciting so you can connect with like-minded people. Resources like Meetup are helpful, and there are always the classic options like volunteer groups and local organizations.
Utilize social media.
This may sound a little crazy, but I schedule so many random meet-ups through social media (specifically Instagram). I started following local business owners, jewelry designers, bloggers, photographers and more. After a few weeks of commenting back and forth, we eventually scheduled coffee dates. What’s so neat about meeting people this way is that you automatically have something to talk about—whether it’s an appreciation for a delightful coffee or cocktail (Hi, that would be me!) or a love for fitness, dogs or photography.
Attend local events.
This is a big one. You know those Facebook invites to a store opening or a local happy hour that you’ve been ignoring? Accept them. I know, I know—walking into one of these places alone is slightly terrifying, which is why I avoided it at first. Invite the last person you shared coffee with or use this as an opportunity to connect with someone you’ve been meaning to reach out to. Not only will you meet new people, you’ll also grow to appreciate your new city even more.
Have lunch (or dinner, or coffee or a glass of wine) by yourself.
Seems a little counterintuitive, right? In the past year, I’ve come to relish a meal by myself. It feels a little unnatural at first, but there’s something sexy about sitting down alone at a bar. It’s always fun to chat with a bartender or the waitstaff about the city and get some local recommendations. Plus, you never know who might sit down beside you!
What has worked for you? I’m still relatively new to my city that I love so much, so I’m always open to more tips!