Have you recently moved or are considering moving to a new area?
Six months ago, I decided to move to Detroit, Michigan. Although I have relocated throughout different parts of my life, I knew this time would be different. This time my relocation would primarily be for a new job opportunity, but also a chance to move closer to family. In the past when I’ve relocated, I was always in school which naturally provides a setting for socializing, meeting new friends, and exploring new interests. Moving into the unknown, without access to the school setting, meant I had to seek out meaningful connections and places to grow roots in the city of Detroit for years to come.
This post will be less about actually finding the right place to move or apartment hunting tips and more about what to do once you arrive to start meeting and connecting with others.
Tip 1: Seek Out Groups of People
Fortunately, I was chosen to be a part of Challenge Detroit which immediately brought me into contact with about 30 individuals. A fellowship program might not be the best fit for your situation, but it can be a great way to jump-start your network. I encourage you to consider your passions and hobbies and try to find a group in your area that is connected to that passion. When looking for a group, try to find a mix of individuals like you so you have a common ground for making a connection, but also different enough to bring you new perspectives. Social media sites like Facebook have a plethora of groups to sift through. Find one, try it out, and if the vibe isn’t right, try another one.
Tip 2: Say YES
Your experience is going to be what you make it, without a residence assistant or university programming to set the stage for mingling. I challenge you to say yes more and push yourself to explore new options. After a move is a great time to explore new interests, but you won’t find them if you stick to your comfort zone. Take this time to explore yourself and your new city/town.
Tip 3: Take Tours
During orientation week of Challenge Detroit, we went on a few tours of the city. Going on a tour probably wouldn’t have been something I thought to do myself. However, it was a great way to understand the history and build empathy towards Detroit. There is likely a company or two established in your area that does a variety of tours. Pick a topic you are naturally more drawn to and give it a go.
Tip 4: Trust the Process
It takes time to foster and grow deep connections with people. Being a newcomer to an area, the friends you are making are probably already established in the area and have their own lives and networks to maintain. With that in mind, it is going to take effort on your part to be persistent but to also give space to those you’re just meeting. Remember that you are fostering lifelong friendships and connections, and that takes time. Trust the Process.
I wrote these tips in hopes of easing the process of establishing yourself in a new area, wherever that may be. I know they have helped me discover new avenues for self-growth and valued connections.