Tips to find new friends in your neighborhood
Whether you’re moving across the state or around the world, it’s usually impossible to bring some of your most cherished people with you: your friends.
Over 40 million Americans move every year, but making friends in a new city is easier than ever with online platforms like Nextdoor. There are countless opportunities to meet new friends and jumpstart your social life in a new city by taking those connections offline into the real-world. Your new hometown is brimming with potential friends you just haven’t met yet. All you have to do is introduce yourself to your neighbors.
Here are five actions you can take today to start meeting new people and establish new connections.
1. Pick up group-oriented hobbies
Finding people who enjoy the same pastimes as you is one of the best ways to make new friends in a new city. Group activities allow you to meet people with a similar interest in the same hobbies you love.
When you’re in a brand new neighborhood, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and branch out from your usual hobbies. Try searching for activities and local groups in your area by talking with your neighbors, searching for Nextdoor groups, asking old friends, or visiting your local community centers. You can either continue with your favorite activities or try something new altogether, such as:
- Team sports – If you enjoy physical activities, team sports are a fun way to make friends while getting some exercise. Wherever you go, you should be able to find competitive or recreational leagues for your favorite sport. If you’re not a traditional athlete, you might enjoy playing in a local dodgeball league or finding an ultimate Frisbee team.
- Performing arts – If you like to sing, dance, play music, or act, your new town might have a performance group. Consider trying out for the community musical, joining an improv troupe, attending the local jam night, or signing up for ballet lessons. Along the way, you’re sure to meet like-minded locals who enjoy the creative arts.
- Language courses – Have you thought about learning a new language? Language courses or clubs are fantastic places to meet new people given that learning a language naturally requires conversation and social activities. This is especially true if you’ve moved to a foreign country.
- Book clubs – Book clubs offer a casual setting where you can regularly connect with other avid readers. The best part of a book club is that the topic of conversation is already set. That means they’re a brilliant way to make new friends and become acquainted without any awkward pauses or small talk.
2. Take part in community events
In cities of all sizes, organizations often host meet-ups and singles events to encourage mingling and welcome newcomers. There you can find people who want to connect with those around them and maybe even discover an activity you’ll grow to love. Some of the activities you might find include:
- Paint nights
- Neighborhood block parties
- Community cleanups
- Tree planting
- Local movie night or TV screenings
The best part about attending a neighborhood meet-up event is that everyone is there for the same purpose—to make friends who live nearby. To find activities in your new neighborhood, try using Nextdoor to see what’s happening near you each week.
3. Find friends of friends
Even if you’re moving to a new location, your friends in other towns are still part of your support network. Why not see if they can introduce you to someone new?
Given how interconnected our world is, there’s a chance that someone in your family, social circle, or friend group knows somebody in your new city. Ask around and see who has a cousin, close friend, old roommate, or social media acquaintance in your new location.
Even if this mutual friend of a friend doesn’t become your new BFF, it helps to have a local on your side as you navigate your new neighborhood. They can help you discover the best spots to eat out, favorite hikes and viewpoints, and even where to go to make more friends.
4. Connect with coworkers
If you moved to your new town because of your job, you have a prime opportunity to make friends at work. After all, you’ll likely see your coworkers for hours each day over virtual meetings or in-person at the office.
The office environment may seem like the best place to socialize or find a potential friend, but it can be a springboard for social connections. You all end your workday in the same place—you might as well suggest heading to a nearby restaurant or theater together.
To spark new friendships in the workplace, try:
- Eating your lunch in the break room
- Participating in work events
- Posting about events or fun ideas in your work’s communication channels
- Inviting colleagues to join you for lunch, dinner, happy hour, a group activity, or other social events — online or in real life
- Engaging in small talk about a common interest with the people you meet at company outings or when you make your morning coffee in the office pantry
5. Throw your own housewarming party
Your new neighborhood is a great place to start. It’s already full of people who have a shared interest in where you live, and maybe even some potential friends. Why not throw a moving-in party or invite your next door neighbor over for a cup of coffee? In no time, you could find yourself with a new friend.
To invite your nearby neighbors, you can go door to door and introduce yourself to your new community. Let your neighbors know you’ve just moved in, and let them know you’re hosting a get-together at your place or a nearby park.
For a larger get together, you can spread the word and invite neighbors to come by posting on your neighborhood’s online network. Letting neighbors know you’ve just moved to town and are looking to build friendships in your community can go a long way. It also never hurts to give your gathering a theme: choose a game night, ice cream social, a watch party, or come up with your own theme.
Reaching out to your community goes a long way
Cathy, a neighbor who moved to Longview, WA during the pandemic and posted on Nextdoor that she had California irises to give away if any neighbors wanted some. One of her neighbors, Yenni, responded to the post and met Cathy at her home to pick up the flowers. They immediately clicked and made a plan to go walking later in the week. The two have been inseparable ever since and go walking every week together. Cathy said having a wonderful friend to walk with made all the difference during her life in the pandemic and it’s all thanks to her post on Nextdoor.
Find your new best friends with Nextdoor
Figuring out how to make new friends in a new city can feel intimidating, especially for introverts and those with social anxiety. But if you step out of your comfort zone and embrace new challenges that come your way, you’ll be rewarded with new friends and new experiences. And with easy-to-use ways to connect like Nextdoor, new pals are never too far away.
With Nextdoor, you can:
- Find local restaurants and other businesses hosting meet-ups
- Access information on upcoming yard sales, community events, and more
- Find neighbors who are looking to connect
Your new neighbors are already on Nextdoor. Join them and tap into an expanding network of future friends. You never know—your future best friend could be just around the corner.
- Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Who Is Moving and Why? Seven Questions About Residential Mobility. https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/blog/who-is-moving-and-why-seven-questions-about-residential-mobility
To connect with your local neighborhood, download the app or login at nextdoor.com.