Help! I Moved to a New City: 5 Tips for Settling In and Making New Friends

Recently, I relocated from New York City to Washington, D.C. I moved because of a job, but I’d be lying if I said the job hadn’t spurred from a deep desire for change. Needless to say, the move’s been an exciting transition — a back and forth battle between feeling at ease and altogether on-edge. Below are five basic, but easily forgotten tips for settling into a new city:

Take your time finding a place to live.

Unless your job is all-consuming, chances are you’ll be spending a fair amount of time in your new home — be it an apartment, a house, or your friend’s couch. It’s where you wake up, where you eat most meals, where you decompress after a long day’s work, and where you nest on a sporadic sick day. As if uprooting and re-planting yourself isn’t stressful enough, disliking your new pad won’t make it any easier. Take your time — if you have it — to figure out which neighborhood is most in-line with your priorities: budget, commute, noise, neighbors, pets, etc. Dealing with Craig’s List and landlords can be painful, but the headache will be worth it once you’ve scored a place worth bragging about.

Let it be known you’re in the market for new pals.

Peter Claven went on a series of man-dates to find his best man — eventually meeting the ultimate dude, Sidney Fife — which is one reason why you needn’t be shameful about pimping yourself out to find new friends. Make it known you’ve relocated, that you’re anxious to meet new people, and ask your friend of a friend of a friend of a friend to grab coffee. However awkward meet-and-greets are, the benefits you’ll reap from an ever-expanding network of buddies are worth any first-date unpleasantries that may arise.

Be super social, even when you’re exhausted.

I typically save socializing for the weekends. But when you’re in the market for mates, you don’t have the luxury of calibrating your social calendar. If your coworkers are happy-houring, go. If your building is throwing a mixer, attend. If your yoga buddy wants to grab dinner despite dripping in sweat, change your shirt and dig in. Small and spontaneous sacrifices that may upset your routine are usually moments that generate the most cherished memories.

Yelp! is your friend.

We’re in the midst of a manic media era — Take advantage of online resources replete with consumer reviews to suss out your day-to-day destinations: a gym, a framing shop, a salon, a dog-grooming boutique, etc. If I had a nickel for every time I put my iPhone and its apps to use in Washington — Yelp!, UrbanDaddy, or Zagat — I’d be a lucky lady with a purse full of change.

Embrace your anonymity.

Being in a city where no one knows your name can be scary, but mostly it’s scarily liberating. Every step you take is yours to be taken; you’re sharing your experiences walking unknown streets with nobody but yourself and that is nothing short of thrilling. However daunting being a nameless face in the crowd may seem, if you approach the situation as a proudly anonymous being, you’re bound to eventually make a name for yourself as someone who’s one step closer to who you’ve always wanted to become.

Photo Credit: Trodel

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Annie Ferrer

Currently a writer/editor living in New York City, Annie hopes to contribute to the burgeoning landscape of online journalism.

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