HOW I MADE FRIENDS IN A NEW CITY

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When I first announced that we were moving to Dallas, someone offered this advice for meeting people in our new city: say yes to ev-er-y-thing. Every invitation to coffee, happy hours, double dates, house parties… Say yes to every single one, no matter how rainy it is outside, how tired or lazy or antisocial you’re feeling, or how much you’d really rather curl up in pajamas with Netflix and popcorn. It’s easy to get so overwhelmed by a new place that you’d rather opt out than begin the daunting process of starting over and making new friends. But I can say hands down this saying yes strategy is the best thing I’ve done for myself since we got to Dallas.

Saying yes to everything is a mindset I first adapted several years ago when I lived in San Francisco for a few months after college. I didn’t know anyone on the west coast and would cold email other bloggers every week asking if they wanted to grab coffee or cocktails just as a way to meet people and see new parts of the city. Thankfully, my blogging network has grown quite a bit since then and I continue to meet a ton of people that way. But I also moved to Dallas with someone who grew up here and already knows a bunch of people and our New York friends have graciously put us in touch with friends of theirs who live here — all of which have helped making new friends a lot easier and more fun.

After a New York winter where I practically hibernated six nights a week, I’ve been a social butterfly at least three or four nights a week since we got to Dallas. I might even say I’ve been too social, except that saying yes (even when I sometimes feel like saying no) has been so much better than sitting home alone wondering when Dallas would start to feel like home. Instead of waiting for life to happen to me, I’ve been actively pursuing new friendships, trying restaurants in new neighborhoods, and just saying yes to every email or text that comes my way. Just like going on actual dates in New York, I know realistically each “friend date” in Dallas isn’t going to turn into a lasting friendship — but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! More than a dozen “girl dates” later, I’m slowly but surely finding good girlfriends and really glad I made that such a big focus right from the start. (Now if I could just find the same motivation to work out…)

If you’re trying to make friends in a new city (or you could just use a few new pals in a place you’ve lived for a while), saying yes and being proactive is the only way to make it happen. Coordinate a happy hour with your coworkers, ask friends if they’ll introduce you to friends of theirs, and say yes when your family friend offers to put you in touch with her daughter’s boyfriend’s cousin’s dog walker’s childhood BFF. At the very least (again, not unlike dating), you’ll get a good story out of it. At the most, you might make a new bestie or three. I promise the Netflix documentaries will still be there when you get back.

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41 thoughts on “HOW I MADE FRIENDS IN A NEW CITY

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  1. I appreciate how you said that you should strive to be social when meeting new people. I also like how you said that you have to actually try to make new friends. My sister and I just moved to a new city, and we want to meet new people. It would be cool if there was an app for making new friends.

  2. Thank you for this advice! I am hoping to move from Boston to Dallas at the end of the summer (if the job market works out!) I will be moving alone and not have any friends waiting for me in Dallas. Hopefully I can easily find some girlfriends to socialize with!

    1. Hey! Not sure if anyone is even on here anymore but I just moved to Dallas a few weeks ago with my boyfriend & we don’t even have anything to say yes to! We work with people who are ALL older than us & never invite us anywhere so it’s literally work then home. If you want to hang out just let me know!

      1. Hey Jamie! My boyfriend and I just moved back to Dallas after being in college. Stumbled upon this blog entry as it’s been challenging to make friends post-college. If you’re still looking to say yes to something, let’s meet up??

  3. This is such great advice! I’m moving from NYC to Chicago in a month and will definitely take this to heart!

    1. hi Katie,
      I was reading this post and saw you commented that you’re moving from NYC to Chicago, I just moved to Chicago from NYC about 2 months ago- let me know how it all turns out, and I’d be happy to grab some coffee with you sometime!

      Amanda

  4. This is so spot on for me right now! I just moved to the Bay Area and only know my boyfriend. I’m totally tempted to just stay in with him all the time, but I really need to force myself out of this habit so that I can make some girlfriends! I really need to tap the blogger network like you said!

    Catherine
    http://www.myinnerfabulous.com

  5. After school, I didn’t move to a big city like the rest of my friends, but rather a much smaller city surrounded by suburbs. (Since you grew up in Connecticut as well – think moving to a city the size of Danbury.) Everybody here seems to be FROM here. When you meet new people, the first question they ask is “where did you go to school?” and they don’t mean college, they mean high school. My friend who moved to another smaller city said she had luck with Meetup.com so I’m hopefully going to my first event this weekend!

  6. Mackenzie! I couldn’t agree more with this advice. I moved to a new city a few months ago and lately the running joke with some of my co-workers is that I’m too social! There are definitely times where I would love to simply sit at home and binge watch the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but it’s definitely worth putting yourself out there. Meeting new people and making new friends I feel is exactly what you’re supposed to do in your twenties! Thanks for this post and reminding me to keep saying ‘yes’!!

  7. Great post! Will keep these all in mind when I go to a new city for college. Thanks for keeping things in perspective. Hope you find some great long lasting friends in Dallas. xo from Puerto Rico

  8. I moved to DC three months ago from the Midwest and totally understand! The “Yes” strategy really is best way to dive in. Glad to know there are others in same situations and with the same anxiety. Great post!

  9. This is really great advice. I recently moved back to a city that I’d previously lived in, and expected it to be the same in terms of friends as the last time I lived here. That hasn’t been the case and I’ve been struggling to make friends in a city full of cliques. I definitely need to say yes more and find some new activities and gal pals.
    On that note, Sydney bloggers – I’d love to hang!!
    Amy x

  10. Thanks for the great post! I am also getting ready to head from 8 years in DC to Dallas! Your blog and posts have provided great motivation and inspiration!

  11. This hit me at the perfect time, Mackenzie! I just moved to London and definitely will be taking this advice!

  12. I love this! I’m starting college in the fall in a new town 16 hours away from where I live. I’ll definitely keep this in mind when trying to make new friends!

  13. Great advice! Recently lots of my very close friends move out from NYC, and many other personal changes took place in my life and I really know it is very hard to get out of “Netflix comfort zone”. Thank you so much for your honesty and you you really inspire me to say yes and look for opportunities to get out of the house much more this Summer!

    http://www.stylecharmer.com

  14. I enjoyed this post! I think you can kill two birds with one stone by asking girl friends to exercise classes – yoga and cycling are my two favorite to do with friends. But running 5ks together also creates a nice bond (and brunch afterwards!) Of course, easier said than done. And drinks are way more fun, if you ask me!

  15. Really, really good to remember! We’re moving to Austin in a few weeks (!!!) and I know I should apply your advice! I tend to love more relaxed evenings at home, but if there’s anytime to push myself a bit, it’ll be then. 🙂

    Always, Anita

  16. I love this post! I’m unfortunately losing a lot of friends in DC as they head off to grad school, so this comes at the perfect time! I agree that saying yes to everything makes a huge difference!

  17. Great post! I am going off to college next year and so far I know nobody so I am a little nervous about making good friends. I am sure when you are thrown together in a dorm and in classes with people it is a little easier than moving to a big city and living alone, but it still is nerve-wracking!
    xo, Scarlett
    The Trendy Chick

  18. These tips are great! The idea of making new friends is rather daunting but these tips make it seem easy!
    Emily // simplyemily.blogspot.com

  19. I have never commented before – but this advice is great! I moved to Switzerland a few years ago, and whole the language barrier itself was daunting – saying “yes!” helped me to meet new friends. The other important thing is to keep an open mind! Life is as sweet and exciting as you make it!

  20. My husband and I are relocating to Boston soon for his job, and I know how easy it is to get sucked into unpacking and be overwhelmed by a new city. This post was a great reminder for me before our move!

  21. This is just great! I have been in a new city for almost a year, and I feel like this post is the kick in the pants I’ve needed, So a big thank you! On the exercise front– I have been going to Pure Barre for a while and loving it. While it can be a little pricey, many studios offer specials on packages so that helps a lot! And scheduling it ahead of time really makes me stick with it. I would also recommend Class Pass because that gives you a chance to try many different things. I find that this scheduling system suits a planner such as myself, and consistent exercise keeps my stress at a minimum 🙂 good luck with it, girl!