Ok, I’m going to be honest here: making new friends in a new town can be HARD! It’s like dating all over again and I was never good at that!
As an adult, I have moved to a few different new cities where I did not know a single person. It’s been many years now since I have moved, but I can still feel the excruciating pain of trying to make friends in a new place. When you are thrown into a new town, not knowing anyone, it can be really hard to meet your peeps!
When my husband and I moved to Sarasota, FL, several years ago, we did not know a soul! We were past our partying days, but also hadn’t started a family yet, so we had no idea of where to meet new friends. I remember shopping at Publix one day and my husband pointed out a couple to me and said eagerly, “They look like they could be our age and nice.” Oh geez, we were feeling pretty lonely and desperate during that time!
Growing up, we are easily paired with potential friends while at school, in our neighborhoods, at after school activities and in sports. Childhood is very conducive to making new friends. For those of you who have left your hometown and close friends, you know that making friends as an adult can be completely different!
What I have learned over the years of living in new towns as an adult is this…
New friends are not going to be like your old friends.
Your new friends are probably not going to be anything like your old friends and this can be an awesome thing!
When I moved across the country for graduate school, one of the best lessons that I learned was to stop trying to find my old friends in my new town.
I had originally set out to re-create my old life, with similar friends, in my new city. Well, I soon discovered that duplicating my previous life was impossible! This was overwhelming and scary at first, but it ended up being one of the best experience of my life!
Once I let go of the past and what I thought a friend should be like, I was able to meet some amazing people, including one of my very best friends, and have so many amazing experiences.
You may feel rejected at times.
I remember joining a moms group when my daughter was around 2 years old. I was so excited to finally have an opportunity to meet some new friends! But there was this one day when these two moms were chatting away together and I just felt so left out. I was instantly transported back to 7th grade, starting a new school and just trying to fit in. After the group meetup that day, I went home and cried to my husband. I was feeling so lonely and insecure. Once I was thinking clearly, I knew that it had nothing to do with me and that I couldn’t just expect people to read my mind. That leads to my next crucial piece of advice….
You have to put yourself out there!
This is the most important thing that you need to do if you want to make new friends. Unfortunately, at this stage in life, people are busy and friends aren’t going to usually seek you out. So, you have to get out there and start dating your future friends! You’re going to have to initiate conversations with new people and even ask them out. It’s going to feel uncomfortable and awkward at times, but it will get easier the more that you do it. It definitely would have been a lot easier if Sarasota Moms Blog existed when I was desperately trying to meet new mom friends. It’s such an amazing resource and community of women and they even have Local Mom Tribes groups that you can join to connect with like-minded moms in your area.
You just need one!
Once you meet one person that you connect with, things will start to fall into place. Meeting that first new friend can help to boost your confidence and make you feel more relaxed and like yourself. Plus, it’s a lot easier to make more friends when we have a “wing-man,” right?
Friendships looks different.
We are all so busy as adults, so we don’t have as much time to build the type of friendships that we had when we were younger. As adults, we have the demands of family, career, home and just life, so our new friendships may not develop as quickly or as deeply as they did before. I learned that instead of having friends who are my everything, I can have different types of friends.
There are friends that I can go deep with and some that are just lighter in nature. I have mom friends, work friends, neighborhood friends, old friends and acquaintance friends. I have my friends who I can cry with, who make me laugh, who have known me my entire life and just get me, and the ones who are always up for an adventure. Local or long-distance, I cherish each of these amazing and unique friendships.
If you are experiencing the pain of trying to make new friends, I promise that you are not alone!
When talking about this with others, I am surprised about how many people are going through the same exact struggle. Looking back, I am so glad that I went through the struggles and insecurities of moving to a new town and meeting new friends. It has helped me get to know myself better and to become a more confident person.
I feel blessed to have lived in so many different parts of the country and to have had the privilege of meeting so many amazing people and friends. None of this would have happened if I had played it safe and stayed in my hometown.