After moving to D.C. for college and Los Angeles for my first job, I’ve almost become an expert in feeling comfortable in new places. It’s definitely hard to adjust to new surroundings and new people, especially while going through the post-high school or post-college transition. While these experiences have been difficult, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want in life from moving to these big cities on my own.
Don’t be afraid to ask people you meet to hang out.
Have you ever been at a party or workout class and thought, “wow that girl is so cool, we would totally get along?” Don’t be afraid to ask her to hang out and explain that you just moved to the area! Believe me, people are flattered by it. Even if it doesn’t end up in an actual meeting, it’s good to practice talking to strangers and putting yourself out there. I’ve had a lot of Verve Coffee meetings from this approach and I even found the photographer for my small Instagram business by asking her to hang out after briefly meeting in Downtown LA!
Go to that event you really don’t want to get out of bed for.
If someone asks you to an event, GO! Unless it’s totally not up your alley or detrimental to your health and wellbeing, I always end up regretting not going to an event that someone asks me to go to. When I transferred my sophomore year of college, a group of girls asked me to go out and I went home early because I was tired from moving into the dorm that day. Since I left early, the girls thought I wasn’t having a good time and I may have missed an opportunity to be asked to go out with them again. Plus, you never know who you’re going to meet – I usually connect with the coolest people at events that I was second-guessing.
Connect with alumni on LinkedIn.
This is an important one. When I moved to Los Angeles, I immediately reached out to alumni explaining my situation. I’ve been to coffee with a few of them and since then, they’ve referred me to interesting groups and invited me to unique events that only locals would know about. Don’t take it personally if they don’t respond – if you do enough outreach, you’ll get some good responses! Plus, it doesn’t hurt if they work at a company that you could see yourself working for in the future!
Join newsletters and follow local Instagram accounts.
Social media is a powerful tool that you can use to your advantage when moving to a new city. I’ve discovered various events by subscribing to newsletters and following local social media accounts. I also recommend including your email address in the bio section of your Instagram, I’ve had interesting people contact me by having my contact information present on social media.
Remember that most people have been in your situation before and want to help you acclimate to the city – either by introducing you to new people, referring restaurants, taking you around town, etc. I’ve always stressed about not being able to cultivate relationships immediately when I move to a new place, but this time around, I let myself find friends over a period of time – and didn’t force new relationships. Relationships take time to develop. If you put yourself out there, you’ll find your group and thrive!