After a certain amount of time, your homesickness in your new location will fade. It’s widely different person to person, so there’s no telling when that will happen. Once it does, strengthening your network will be a surefire way of building a community and environment that makes you feel at home, regardless of how far away your hometown may be.
This is our fourth installment of a five-part relocation survival guide designed to help anyone going through the moving process make it as seamless as possible. If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve already moved in and it’s now time for you to establish some roots.
Find friends to “do life” with
When you first move somewhere, chances are your interactions with friends will be pretty limited to specific plans that you’ve set ahead of time. That’s fine and in fact, essential to the initial phases of relationship development. Once you’ve established a foundation however, it’s important to find a group of people that you can simply exist in the same space with, without having to make any elaborate plans.
My friends and I call this “doing life” together. It’s a completely content state when you can be together, absent of any expectation of what to do. This is where deep connections are made and where you can find connection on days where you need company, but don’t feel like going out. If you can build this with your circle, it will be a highly valuable asset to have in your social life.
Get to know your coworkers!
You’ll need somewhere to start when finding the group we discussed. From what I’ve found, the best place to start is work. You’re already with your coworkers all day every day, so you might as well make a connection with them! Not only will it give you a start for your social life, but you’ll improve your at-work relationship as well.
Like our previous installment mentioned, you can start by making sure you say yes to every invite. This gives you a foundation of experiences outside of work to start developing. After you’ve moved on from that phase and feel ready to dig your roots deeper, you can try setting up a ritual. These can take many forms from Friday night movie night to brunch every Saturday. Even if your coworkers may not be able to meet up after work, you can form at work rituals as well. Whether it’s lunch together or a game of Table Tennis every other day, you can make it happen.
If rituals aren’t your thing, stay aware of when you feel like you need company. Invite those friends over for dinner and an activity you can bond over, whether it’s philosophy or TV. Making the shift from going out to inviting them to your home will add a new layer to your friendship that feels more and more like home every day.
Go to local events!
Local events are not only fun, but a great way to get to know your city and the people in it. DoStuff and Eventbrite are two great resources for determining when and where these events will be, but what I’ve personally found to be most effective is hanging around downtown and seeking out flyers that advertise them. Usually these will be more niche events, so if you find something that interests you, chances are it really interests you. Additionally, if you’re into music Bandsintown is another great resource to find local shows, big and small.
These offer a great opportunity to also discover new interests, as you may pick something and not realize how good of a time it was going to be. Of course, this stuff is even better with the friends you’ve already established. Keep an eye out while you do this, and you might find something exciting!
Go to conferences/conventions
This is definitely in my top 3 favorite pieces of advice when it comes to building a network. Conferences and conventions are always centered around a very specific interest and wrangles large sums of people that share that interest. This means if you’re into liberty, finding a liberty based conference near you could allow you to make some connections with people that you really resonate with.
On the flip side, if you’re a big fan of pop culture and comics, I can almost guarantee that your new city will have its own local Comic Con to attend. Again, you’ll not only be surrounded by great art and ideas, but people that appreciate them to the same extent that you do. Sched is a great resource for identifying events like these in your area. It has a wide variety from tech and philosophy to comic books and music festivals. Especially if you’re an extrovert, finding a large scale event like this is a must for networking.
Do keep in mind that if you take this route, you may need to travel to get to an outside conference that really excites you. Whether you drive out to a con or not, you’re also going to need to understand that some other may have. This means that some of the friends you make may become primarily remote friends, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Stay in touch!
After you’ve spent time growing a web of connections, the only way you can maintain them is by keeping in touch with those you really want in your life. After you meet someone new and get their contact information, send them a followup! A simple message or email that outlines how you enjoyed speaking with them and look forward to seeing them again can go a long way.
If they live close, start including them in your plans as well. It’s easy to feel like you’re struggling to maintain connections, but if you make an intentional effort to stay involved it becomes much easier than you’d imagine.
Finding things to do
Remember, the most important part of building a community of friends and colleagues is being intentional. If you don’t actively seek out these connections and put in the effort to strengthen them, they’re not likely to fall in your lap (although some will). Start with your best foot forward and you will have a caring and diverse group of friends before you know it!