Moving to a new city is hard: new job, new neighborhood, new…friends? It seems to be increasingly difficult to find new friends as you grow older. In college, it was as simple as walking through your dorm hallway. Although you’re no longer sharing a bathroom with 50 potential friends, remember that recent grads can still share common ground as they navigate office life together.

We all know that adjusting to a new city and social scene is hard to face on your own. But with these sure-fire strategies, you’ll have more happy hour dates and coffee dates than your phone calendar can handle.

featured image by kate lesueur

photo by outdoor voices

Join an athletic team.

Nothing says camaraderie like sports. From soccer leagues to weekly running groups, cities are full of options for the athletic-minded. Just last week during my Saturday running group, a girl who had moved from Boston four days ago said that she had found us online, came out to run a few miles, and sparked conversations with people in the neighborhood. It’s as simple as that.

Bonus: Most athletic groups also have a social component after the main event, be it drinks at a bar, bagels and coffee, etc. Chat up these new connections who share a similar interest, and know that they will be there next week to talk again — no awkward scheduling necessary.

photo by hannah haston

Reach out to your alumni club.

Cities attract many young professionals, and university alumni groups are popping up along with them. Most alumni groups will host seasonal happy hours, after-work networking sessions, sports outings, and industry-specific chats. Old classmates offer an easy entry point for conversation: You already have shared history and someone who understands your funny college anecdoates. Plus, you might know people in common! At alumni gatherings, you can expand your friend network without all the “getting to know you” banter.

photo by belathee

Get a roommate.

Alone in a new city, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and spend every night in with your Netflix. No pressure, no awkward conversations…and no chances of making new friends! Finding a roommate is a fast way to meet new people and fall into an existing group of friends. Of course, Craiglist is an easy roommate generator, but often you can find a more personal connection through a LinkedIn Group, a mutual friend, or alumni connection. If you and your bunkmate already have a shared background, it’ll be easier for you to click.

Connect with coworkers.

You’d be surprised what you and your coworkers have in common. After all, you spend eight hours per day together. Many companies host happy hours and social events, so go out and take advantage of the fun. If you click with someone outside of the coffee break chatter, even better.

Pro tip: Inviting a potential new friend on a morning coffee run is a low-key way to see if you want to do evening drinks as well.

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Hit up your hot spots.

To meet people with common interests, frequent your favorite spots: museums, music festivals, art shows, church, and more. Strike up a conversation with someone at the event, or join a group or associate board that focuses on that cause. By collaborating with people on a project you’re passionate about, you can create a new circle of dedicated, philanthropic friends.

photo by jenny sathngam

Keep it in the neighborhood.

Often, your own neighborhood is bursting with activities like local gardens, festivals, community projects, and nonprofit organizations. Even your book club can bring new friendships (and professional connections). Staying involved solves two problems at once: You’ll get acquainted with your new community, and your neighbors will also have the insider scoop on even more places to check out nearby.

Have you ever moved to a new city completely by yourself? How did you make friends? Tell us in the comments.

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Comments (7)
  1. 1
    Laura June 12, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    As someone who moved to a new place recently, I love this post! Have a great book suggestion that really helps with the art of making and developing friendships as an adult by Shasta Nelson called Frientimacy. It’s full of wisdom and a book that I will go back to time and time again.

  2. 2
    Natalie Redman June 19, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Great tips. As someone who lives in London, it can definitely be a lonely place if you don’t have many friends!

  3. 3
    Cecilie Vester June 19, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Great post! I instantly clicked as I am moving abroad for the first time in my life.

  4. 4
    Tiffany June 19, 2017 at 10:10 am

    I like the idea of joining an activity club and also the roommate (which I seriously needed ideas on how to search for!)

    Thanks for the tips!


  5. 5
    Victoria Honeywood June 20, 2017 at 4:30 am

    Volunteering can be a great way to make friends. I once volunteered at a radio station and had so much fun and made some great friends

  6. 6
    Kim Kramlich-Taylor June 1, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Start a social media business . . . my daughter moved to Dallas & knew
    very few people and began Dallasites101 with another new to Dallas gal.