Sunday, November 22, 2015

How to make friends in a new town.

I posted an article about making friends after moving a few days ago, but I wanted to talk about it again from my own perspective because it's something that's challenging when you move, and we recently did so it's a topic close to my heart. Everyone goes through a move sometime in their life, and even if you physically live in the same place your whole life you will still have life transitions/stages, so it's applicable to everyone!

Not having friends is lonely. Making friends is scary. 

It's hard, but worth it. It will be uncomfortable and awkward for awhile, but it's important to push yourself and put yourself out there. Here are a few tips I have learned over the past year of living in a new town:

1. Try. In most cases, people are really friendly and welcoming to new people, but you have to try to put yourself out there to be noticed and available. This is hard, especially if you are really introverted or shy, but it gets easier with time and it's better than being lonely!

2. Find a church. To me, this is the most important part of trying. As a Christian, I believe that fellowshipping with other believers and having a body of believers to encourage and support you is so important. 

3. Find events in the community you can attend that fit your life stage. For me, I am a stay-at-home-mom with a one-year-old. That meant that I started going to MOPS and Babygarten class at the library. We also got involved with a small group at our church right away. Finding opportunities like these give you chances to meet new people who are in similar life stages as you. (It's always good to have friends from all walks of life, but it's easiest to start with people in similar walks as you.)

4. Set goals. When I first started going to Babygarten (a song/rhyme/finger play/story time open to the public at the library), I made it a goal to introduce myself to two people each class. Was it easy? No, it wasn't, but I am glad I made myself do it. It's important to set a goal, because it's easy to slip into the back and blend in. To make friends you have to assert yourself!

5. Set up some "friend dates." After you have met some people, think about a few that you think you would like to connect with further. Ask them to do something! If having them over to your house seems too intimidating at first, find something to do in the community, like go for a walk, go to the park, meet at a coffee shop, etc. 

This can be tricky, because they don't always "work." Sometimes you don't connect like you hoped you would or the friendship you hoped would grow just doesn't. That's okay! Try not to be discouraged by this. You tried and that's the most important part. This happened to me a few times when we first moved here too, where I was sure this particular person could be my new best friend, but it just didn't pan out. 

The beauty on the horizon is that it WILL work eventually. Keep trying!

I did these things when we moved here, and still am doing them in a sense, and I'm really glad I did. It definitely wasn't easy- it's really scary to not have that "at home" feeling or to have friends that live close to you- but it's worth it. We have lived here almost exactly a year now, and it's been a year of growth, but good growth. I'm so happy with where we are at now!

We have lived here for one year, and I have just recently felt that this is my home and I belong here, and it's such a good feeling. We have made some great friends, and I am excited to continue those relationships!

So, to the people who just moved, hang in there! It gets easier and the friends will come!


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