Wouldn’t life be amazing if we could pack all our very best girlfriends away in a box and take them with us wherever we went? Not with any intention of keeping them in that box long-term, of course, but solely for the purpose of ensuring that no matter where we were—our best friends would be close behind.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work that way. As a girl who has embarked upon several big, solo moves in her life—I can tell you that it is always hard to say “goodbye” to the friends you leave behind. And perhaps even harder to find women who can step into those same shoes in your new location.
It’s not like you lose your old friends. They are always there, in the periphery, available for phone chats and e-mail conversations. The friendship is still strong, but you’re out that physical presence you used to rely on. And it doesn’t take long to realize you actually really enjoyed having friends you could meet up with for a drink or night out on the town.
Finding new furniture is the easy part. Finding new friends takes work.
The older we get, the more difficult it seems to become to make new friends. People get so wrapped up in their lives, be it child rearing or dream career chasing, that they stop making as much time for new people and interactions. Which is why making new friends in a new city requires you to be bold; to be willing to interrupt the lives of others in your quest for new connections.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means not being afraid of going out of your way to introduce yourself to someone who seems like they would be exactly your type of friend. And it means being willing to extend invitations, sometimes even after being rejected. Obviously, paying attention to social cues is important. But so is remembering that people are busy, and that just because a new potential friend doesn’t accept your first invitation, doesn’t mean she might not be interested the next time an opportunity arises.
Now is the time to evaluate what kind of friend you are, and how you can be an even better friend. What we put out into the world is absolutely reflective of what we bring back into our own spheres. Which means that if you want to start attracting good friends, you need to be a good friend in return; the type of person with whom people will want to spend their time.
Too often, we are all guilty of becoming so self-involved that we fail to see the needs of others around us. Insecurities and loneliness can cause people to succumb to gossip or negativity, creating an overall toxic presence. That isn’t always intentional, and for some it can be difficult to find the balance between being authentic and being a positive influence. But people generally want to spend time with those who are uplifting to be around. So think about the way you represent yourself to new potential friends, and about how you can be a good friend to them first.
You won’t make new friends sitting alone in your living room. If you really want to start making those connections, you have to get out into the world, associating yourself with the kind of people you might want to spend your time with. Perhaps that means joining a local club that piques your interest, or signing up to be a part of an intramural athletic team. Anything that gets you out there socializing with like-minded women.
Spend some time thinking about your own interests and the kind of people you want to be around. Then, find ways to get out there. Local Meetup groups can be a great place to start!
Forging new relationships online isn’t just for dating anymore; friendships are now being built this way as well. And when you are new to town and feeling unsure of where to even start, what better way to make new friends than by getting online and connecting with other women who are also looking to add to their social circle?
SocialJane.com can be a great way to meet other women, both in your area and beyond. Women who share your interests and are just as excited about making new friends as you are. There was a time when a lot of women felt uneasy about the idea of seeking friendships out online, but just as with internet dating, the realization that this can be a great way to make connections is starting to take hold.
So dip your toes in and see if there is anyone online who might be looking to fill the role of your new friend. Then, get bold about pursuing that friendship, and introspective about being the best friend you can be.
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a new group of friends just as amazing as your old ones. And while you will likely still always wish you could keep all those women you care about together in one place, the desire to cart that box around with you will no longer be as strong.
After all, you won’t need that safety net anymore when you start making new friends in your new town.
But you will still need a couch for everyone to hang out on when you invite them over for wine!
* * *
Have you recently moved to a new city or town? Have some great advice on how you built a new social circle? We'd love to hear from you!