20 Ways to Make Friends in a New City

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Staff Writer


1. Volunteer Away
Volunteering is an easy way to meet new people who believe in the same cause that you do. It’s also a shortcut to determining a person’s values, because unless it’s court-ordered, most people volunteer at places they believe in and support.

2. Hobby Group
There are tons of hobby groups out there, from scrapbook making to comic book collecting, so whatever hobby interests you have, use them to make connections with hobby groups in your new city. Like volunteering, joining a hobby group guarantees that you will meet like-minded people, which is more than half the battle in making new friends.

3. Cooking Class
A cooking class exposes you to people from all walks of life, and it’s also a great way for you to eat healthier meals, because most cooking classes emphasize using fresh ingredients and minimizing fat and calories. Cooking classes are a fun and relaxed way to hook up with new people in your city.

4. Art Class
You don’t have to know a Monet from a Manet to take an art class. In fact, it’s precisely people who don’t know the difference between these two icons that should take an art class. Just make sure you avoid signing up for a life drawing art class, which typically features nude male and female models, which can make meeting new friends awkward.

5. Cultural Organization
Most cities offer a number of different cultural organizations, such as bar crawl groups, young professional groups, and meet-and-greet groups. You don’t need to have a specific interest to join a cultural organization, just a willingness to meet new people and learn more about their life interests and leisure time activities.

6. Join a Book Club
Since Oprah made it cool to join a book club, it’s become a way for people to connect over a shared interest in reading. There are many types of books clubs, including ones that only read books in a specific genre, such as science fiction and fantasy or highbrow literature, and book clubs that read bestsellers. Book clubs meet weekly to discuss books and many sponsor outings where members can relax at a club or bar and talk shop.

7. Specialized Gym
Fitness centers have become highly specialized, so you have a lot of choices when you move into a new city. The latest craze is CrossFit, which is a cross training fitness program that focuses on dynamic movement and bodyweight exercises to develop strength and endurance. Join a specialized gym such as one that teaches CrossFit, or another type of workout program that matches your needs. You’ll meet people who have similar goals, which is a great starting point for a friendship.

8. Sports Bar
Sometimes you do want to enter a place where everybody knows your name, and where better than a sports bar? If you love sports, a sports bar offers the joys of communal sports watching, and an easy camaraderie with sports fans who support your favorite team.

9. Happy Hour
Make an effort to join your co-workers at a Happy Hour so you can start to make connections not only with them, but with people you might meet at the bar. Happy Hour is a great way to get to know your work colleagues in a relaxed environment. And since your colleagues know more people than you do in your new city, it’s an effective way for you to multiply your friends.

10. Join a Friends of Friends App
There’s a lot of new apps that aggregate your friends on social media, and then match you with friends of your friends whose interests are similar to yours. Chances are that some of those friends of friends live in the new city you now live in, so this could be a quick and easy way for you to hook up with new people.

11. Speed Dating
Although speed dating used to be a big thing a few years ago, it is still a fun and exciting way to meet new people without any pressure. And you’re not out to make a love connection, which makes things even more relaxed. You get to learn people’s likes and dislikes in about five minutes, which can help you befriend them based on mutual interests.

12. Get a Roommate
Living with a roommate is a shortcut to finding a friend in a new city. More than likely, your roommate or roommates have been in the city longer than you, so they can show you where all the cool places are where you can meet new people. And your roommate may end up being your new BFF.

13. Seek Out a Local Bar
There’s always a popular bar in your neighborhood, and it’s pretty easy to find it by hitting up Google, or just asking around. Local bars are hallmarks of most cities, and they are relaxed, fun and filled with regulars who are eager to welcome new patrons.

14. Throw a Stranger’s Party
This requires some boldness, but arrange a ‘stranger’s party,’ in which you invite people in your apartment building, people in your neighborhood or friends of friends to a special party where people who don’t know each other can mingle and meet. The cool thing about a stranger’s party is that everyone who attends knows what to expect, so there are no surprises.

15. Find a Church
Although it may be a cliché, churches are one of the best places to meet new people. A church is also an environment in which you can learn about a person’s spiritual beliefs. The other good thing about a church is that it is always looking for new members or at least new visitors, so you’ll definitely feel welcome.

16. Alumni Network
Alumni networks provide you with information about people who went to your school that live in your new city. When you find people who attended your school, you immediately have a point of reference to establish a friendship. Most alumni networks throw meetups and parties that give you the chance to find new friends.

17. Art Gallery
Art galleries are not just for the high-brow, but are increasingly attracting young, hip people who are interested in postmodern art and installations. Modern art galleries often host new showings, and they attract an interesting and eclectic crowd. You don’t even have to love art to attend a gallery showing, just show up and enjoy the diversity.

18. Explore Your City
When you move to a new city, explore your surroundings when you have free time. You can’t meet new friends by staying at home, so make the effort to visit the major attractions as well as the more obscure places where interesting people hang out. As you start to know more about your new city, you will gain confidence, and confidence is something that attracts people to you.

19. Use Your Dog
If you own a dog, take it out to a dog park where you’re likely to run into other dog owners, which makes that first conversation much easier to initiate. You’ll also be surprised how many people like to stop and chat when you have a cute dog, so if you don’t own a dog, you may want to buy one that generates conversation, such as a beautiful Alaskan Malamute or a Dalmatian.

20. Join a Meetup
Meetup websites match your interests with the interests of others who live in your city. They aggregate factors such as age, hobbies, goals and personality, then provide you with activities and events where you can meet new people who have similar likes. Meetups have become a popular way to break the ice and make new friends.