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We are all hyperaware of how in flux the world is right now. Among the changes I’ve noticed in my circle is how many of my friends are moving, have moved, or are thinking about moving in this year of uncertainty.
For a lot of people, this may be the impetus to make that change they have been considering for a long time. While moving can be an exciting new adventure, getting into the dating and social scene in a new city can take some work.
Here are my top tips for getting back into the scene in a new place. (I will be talking in terms of assuming things are safe in your area. Please follow any local and state mandates and safety guidelines.)
Let’s start off by saying that if you do nothing, nothing will happen. So you need to do the first part of just getting out and exploring. What does your new area offer around you? Go wander and/or drive around. Get both a physical lay of the land and an idea of events and activities.
Most towns and cities will have an events calendar on their website, letting you know about lots of upcoming events. Make a point to attend as many events as you can, even if they don’t necessarily seem up your alley. You’ll start getting a feel for the vibe in your new neighborhood and meet a great cross section of the people in your area.
I love to play pool, so I use a lot of pool metaphors. You rack the balls together and you break. Now, you’ll have an idea of where those balls are going to bounce around to, but even the most experienced pro will not be able to tell you exactly where they will end up.
It’s the same thing with putting yourself out there in your new city. Now that you are in play (a ball bouncing around), you are going to randomly come up against other people in play and bounce off them and continue. Great opportunities can present themselves this way, but if you never take the shot, you’ll never know.
“But I don’t have anybody to go out with!” How many times have you heard or said that? Probably a decent number, and that feeling may pop up more often when you’re living in a new place.
Well, that doesn’t matter. We all have to be better about doing things on our own. I think it’s a two-pronged psychological trick we tell ourselves: 1.) I don’t have support and 2.) Everyone will think I’m weird if I go out solo.
For the first part, I get that it can be daunting to throw yourself into big situations alone. I’m not necessarily saying you have to go to huge concerts alone. Start small. Take walks, get coffee, or have brunch. It’ll get you out and about and used to it.
Back in the day, I used to sometimes just grab a book and go to my local bar and have a beer or two and read. And you know what? Everybody wanted to know what I was doing and why was I reading in a bar. Basically, it helped me meet people. And this leads into the second part.
No, people won’t think you’re weird if you go out alone. Imagine you were at a party with your crew and someone walked up to you and said, “Hey there! I’m new in town, and you guys seem cool. Mind if I join you?” Most everyone would give an excited, “Yeah!”
Most of us respect and admire people who go out on their own and chat people up. And everyone loves to get the mysterious new guy with an unknown past into their group!
“When was the last time you did anything fun for fun’s sake?” When I ask this question to my coaching clients, I usually get a confused look. It really astounds me how many people struggle with this question.
I’ve even had some of my friends tell me they feel like they are getting more boring as they get older. No hobbies, no spontaneous fun, etc. And I get it. We’re all busy.
But that’s such a lame excuse. We’re ALL busy. But we can find time for the things we really value.
For you to be interesting, you must be interested in something. Whatever your hobbies or pastimes, find other like-minded folks who also have those hobbies. If you like to jog, find a running club. If you like bar games, join a trivia group.
If you don’t have a hobby, maybe it’s time to find one. There are so many activities, including cooking classes, painting, splatball, woodworking, and soccer, that you could explore.
When you are doing something you like, your body language opens up, you smile more, and you get excited. Basically, you become the best version of yourself. (FYI I do woodworking as well as cross-stitch. One is loud and bangy, while the other is soft and relaxing.)
Developing a circle of friends/acquaintances/colleagues is actually more important than finding someone to date. There are a couple reasons for this.
First off, having friends is a form of social proof. It shows that others have vouched that you’re a decent enough guy. Secondly, we learn a lot about a person from the people they hang out with. So, if you are hanging out with no one, it can unintentionally signal something that isn’t true.
But the most important thing about getting a circle is that you start having allies. You have people to invite you places. They will also be inviting their friends and introducing you, and you can start relaxing a bit and seeing where life takes you.
During this time, you want to work on an improv tool called “Yes, and…”. Basically, it just means that you say “yes” accepting the premise followed by “and…” to build on it.
Bad example: They say, “Oh, you’re new in town! Have you been to the Brewhouse yet?” You say, “No, I haven’t been much of anywhere yet.”
You haven’t given them much to go on, and this can affect the energy of the conversation. Now, let’s try it with “yes, and…”
Good example: They say, “Oh, you’re new in town! Have you been to the Brewhouse yet?” You say, “Yes, I just moved a few weeks, and unfortunately I haven’t had the time to get there yet. But have been wanting to! Maybe we can go together sometime?”
See the difference in energy! You want to say “Yes, and…” to everything when you move to a new place.
One of the fun things about moving to a new place is that you can reinvent yourself and become the version of yourself you’ve always wanted to be. Maybe you always wanted to garden. In your new place, lean in and become “the garden guy” in your neighborhood.
Moving gives us the opportunity for growth, and I know that growth can be challenging. But the best things in life are always earned!