How to Meet People in a New Town
After the boxes have been unpacked, the pictures hung, and you’ve found your way to the grocery store, you’ve got a couple more big challenges when you relocate.
Finding your way around your new town and meeting new people will make your new home feel like home. For whatever reasons behind the move – retirement, job placement, or your children – the only way to meet people is to head to the places where people gather.
Gauge Your Own Interests
Perhaps you have a hobby or a favorite activity, such as listening to live music or watching old movies? Perhaps you’ve rekindled an interest in 19th century American poetry you had for a few months several years ago? Do you like the bar environment, or something quieter? Answering these questions is the key to meeting new people who’ll be a good match for you.
Let us say you want to plant some flowers in front of your new home. You’re curious about gardening, but you’ve never gardened before. Instead of hiring a landscaper, take a walk to a local flower shop and asks the owner if there are any gardening stores in the neighborhood.
You’ll probably meet up with someone who’s passionate about gardening, and you may even learn that there is a gardening club in your new town. It’s a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests – even if you’re just a novice.
Seek Out Group Activities
Often, the town’s community center will post lists of ongoing activities and groups. Sports activities such as basketball and softball leagues will also be posted there as well. Town hall meetings are great for civic-minded people, and can provide a great volunteer opportunity – there’s no better way to make friends than by working on a community project together. If you’re looking for someone special, some towns even have singles evenings where local singles gather for events every month or so.
Check Out the Music Scene
If you enjoy live music, visit your local music shop. They often have posters up to advertise local concerts. You’ll find everything from town theater performances to classic rock bands playing in local venues. The same is true for the library if you have an interest in literature and plays. Often, local drama performances take place in schools and libraries. If not, the librarian surely knows of the local happenings.
Churches & Gyms
Many religious centers are places where people come to meet. Churches, temples, and other religious centers pride themselves on building networks of people. In many larger cities, some worship centers offer social activities and even feature physical fitness centers, much like a YMCA. A gym is also a great place to meet people. Just sign up for a special aerobics or yoga class and you can get in shape and find a group of people to have lunch with – that’s two benefits disguised as one!
It might sound like something right out of the movies, but don’t overlook your local laundromat. It might be an idealized setting, but if you’re waiting for your clothes to dry, why not walk over to a local sandwich shop and get a cup of coffee? Coffee shops, especially after the early morning rush, are fantastic places to meet people. You’ll find that most people in a coffee shop who are just sitting down to read a paper during the afternoon are eager to engage in small talk. Just comment on current events or ask if they know a place to get a good sandwich.
Most importantly, if at all possible, try to leave your car home when you explore your new town. That little metal box with wheels can take up most of your errand time. Spend time walking around town when doing errands and you’ll meet more people than you would in the car. Turn each errand into an opportunity, seize those spare moments during the day. It can take a few months to build new, fulfilling relationships, but if you’re intentional about it, you’ll have a lot of fun in the process.
(by Sue LaPointe)