As people relocate, they often have to leave behind their familiar spaces, friendly neighbours and favourite haunts. If this is you, this article in the Guardian has some tips on how you can make new friends and avoid being lonely in your new neighbourhood.
Take some time to look internally...
Firstly, acknowledge any sense of loss you feel. It is ok to let yourself miss your old space, and the old life you created while you were there. Realise that a sense of loss does not automatically mean you made the wrong decision in moving.
Assume that everyone likes you. Having such a mindset is likely to make you feel more confident, be more present and more social. Dr Marisa G Franco, a psychologist and friendship expert says that this is the “acceptance prophecy”, which is based on research finding that people often underestimate how much other people like them.
Don’t be tempted to reinvent yourself, because being authentic will help you make the best connections. However, Dr Franco notes that this is different from taking the chance to rediscover parts of yourself which were not able to flourish in your previous locations – whether due to others’ perceptions of you, or a lack of space or time to pursue a hobby.
Look externally for opportunities (or create them)
Use your social network. Consider posting your upcoming move on social media, and ask if your friends know anyone in your new area whom they can connect you with. This increases the chance that the other person is someone with shared interests or values.
Make the first move by asking if you can join an event or gathering. Connection coach and author Jillian Richardson recommends this trick, even if it may feel awkward at first. It has not only worked well for her, but has also led to people commenting that they like her honesty.
Be open to a broader range of friends, at least initially. It is well established that quality connections are essential for our wellbeing, but Dr Franco advises that “even having brief interactions with people in general benefits us”. All good things start somewhere, so strike up that conversation with your neighbour, or start talking to your barista.
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