Lee and I recently moved. We’re in a new place, thankfully in our dream home (find out how we got it here), and are trying to find friends and community. When we were living in Milwaukee that was one of our biggest challenges. It took 5 months until we felt like we had people we could call friends. That might not sound like a long time, but when your in a strange new city, it can feel like years.
Now we’re starting the process all over again. So, Lee and I made a game plan to make sure our Milwaukee friend slum won’t happen again, and we are sharing our tips with the one and only you. Lee is making me try all of these, so the one and only you is not doing this alone.
1. Make use of connections
Do you know someone who knows someone where you live? Be bold and take advantage of it. If the idea still makes you uncomfortable, think of it as the 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon, only in this situation, you are Kevin Bacon, and since you are Kevin Bacon, they will love you, and there most likely will be some sort of dance party. Win-win.
[Tweet " think of it as the 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon, only in this situation, you are Kevin Bacon, and since you are Kevin Bacon, they will love you, and there most likely will be some sort of dance party. Win-win. think of it as the 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon, only in this situation, you are Kevin Bacon, and since you are Kevin Bacon, they will love you, and there most likely will be some sort of dance party. Win-win."]
Make sure it is something that you love. I’m currently an assistant soccer coach and I love it. I feel connected and valued. I’m also back in the soccer ring (a big part of my life) which feels like part my identity has been restored. That’s a big deal being in a new place.
3. Hit the town
One of Lee and my favorite ways to try out new things is by getting groupons (local coupons bought online at www.groupon.com. It gets us out of the house without breaking the bank and takes us to places we might not otherwise go, which might bring us to new people we wouldn’t otherwise meet.
4. Look at bulletin boards
It might sound old school, but check out bulletin boards at your library, school, park, coffee shop, etc. to find fun local events. You might see school fundraisers, clubs, races, concerts, you name it. All these things bring you to people and these people might become your friends.
5. Join a recreational sports league or workout program
You’ll meet people with similar interests and bond by competing with them. I’m nervous saying this one because Lee is going to make do some crazy exercise class.
6. Take a local class
You’ll learn something new and share it with others. I’ve always wanted to learn how to decorate cakes, maybe I will try that.
7. Build a garden
In your yard or in a local community garden. This will get you outside and be an invitation for your neighbors or fellow gardeners to talk to you. Building a garden will also help you love where you live, because you are investing yourself into it. People like people who love where they live.
8. Pick up an incredibly local hobby.
Lee and I live 5 blocks from Lake Michigan in the “freshwater surfing capital of the world.” We’re saving up to buy paddle boards. I’m hoping paddle boarding will be to my summer as back country skiing is to my winter (pure joy). Hello paddle boarding club and paddleboarding friends.
9. Don’t write off the people you work with
They could be your friends. Invite your coworkers to dinner, you might have a good time.
10. Join a church
A church is a place that if if is functioning properly, has the aim of giving people a community. It may take some effort branching out and getting involved in different ministries, but it was the number one thing that brought us friends in Milwaukee. It’s definitely going to be a big part of our finding community in Sheboygan.
Keep us posted on the new adventures you go on to meet new people and comment or tweet to share your own tips of meeting new people. We would love to hear them and try them out.
- Katie Veldkamp