Wednesday, March 6, 2013

3 ways to meet people in a new city

by n_corboy via Flickr
Once you finish school at any level, your trusty built-in social system disappears. Meeting new people becomes a little trickier. Whether your friends move away or you move away, there are times in almost everyone's life when you will look around and there are less people there than there used to be. I recently moved to the west coast and, just like when I moved to Richmond, Virginia, I find myself in need of some local friends and acquaintances. There are many, many ways to meet people, but I thought I'd share three ways that I have found to be the most successful.

1. Coworkers. Just started a new job? Haven't really ever gotten to know the people you work with? Chances are good that you and your coworkers share similar interests and goals. Sometimes your coworkers will take the initiative and invite you out as a welcoming gesture, but you can't always wait around and hope that someone will reach out first. Coffe, lunch, or happy hour are all good, low commitment ways to get to know a coworker better. If you get along well, then you can plan something a bit more personal or time intensive.

2. Neighbors. When you first move somewhere, be sure to at least smile and say hi to everyone you see in your building and or who live on your block. Bonus points for introducing yourself. Not only does this help to foster an inviting and calm living environment, it helps to ease you into the friend making process. Instead of silently tossing your clothes out of the dryer while your downstairs neighbor silently throws his or her clothes into the washer, start a conversation: say hi, introduce yourself, ask what they do for a living, how long they've lived in the building, etc. If you have a pleasant chat, ask to grab a drink or coffee with them the next time you see them in the building.

3. If you've never heard of MeetUp, it's a site where people create groups based around mutual interests and then host events for the group members to attend in real life. I've met a wide range of people through all sorts of groups: Scrabble, German, dachshund owners, 20s and 30s social groups, book clubs. The Bay Area especially seems to have a ton of groups and it's one of the quickest and easiest ways to connect with people who share similar interests.

I've found that meeting new people is more about the effort you put into it than any kind of luck or fate involved. What are some of the best ways you've successfully met new people in a new city?

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