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Tips for Settling into a New Town or City

3 March 2020 379 views One Comment

Now that you’ve graduated, chances are you’ll be seeking new residence. Of course, as things, you’re not always going to be living in a familiar town. Heck, due to a career move or even just personal preference, you may even find yourself halfway across the country.

So what now? You’re in a new town with new people, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. Typically, it’s a good idea to build a new social life and get some hobbies. It’s just a matter of knowing where to start.

Remember the basics

Not sure what to do with your free time? Stick to the basics. You can always:

  • Rent a movie
  • See what’s playing in local theaters
  • Go bowling
  • Hit up the bar
  • Find a mall

Really, there are endless ways to pass the hours without locking yourself away in your home and gluing your eyes to the tv set. Take a walk in your town and see what’s happening locally. A simple Google search can help you find a movie theater and show times, or you can try sites like Fandingo.com.

Make friends at work

If you’re relocating to a new town or city, you’ll likely have a new place of employment as well. Whether your workplace is career oriented or simply something you’re doing to just pay the bills, it’s always a good idea to get to know your coworkers. Maybe you’ll find you have a lot more in common than you initially thought.

Of course, it’s important to be cautious with this, as it does have the potential to lead to drama at the workplace. Fortunately, if you and your coworkers are mature, level-headed individuals, it’s definitely something to consider. Not to mention it will make your shifts a lot easier and lot more fun.

Check out the independent stores in the area

If you’re lucky, your new town will be full of independent stores to explore at your leisure. Try and find a store to your liking (music, clothing, video games, etc.), and get to know the management and employees. Become a regular, and maybe you’ll even make a few friends. At the very least you’ll secure a few casual acquaintances.

The best thing about independent stores aside from the more authentic quality of customer relations is the products you can find. Smaller music/media stores tend to carry a lot of merchandise at great prices, and sometimes you might be lucky enough to find something out of print on the cheap.

Try new foods and restaurants

Never had sushi? Now’s your chance. It’s healthy to step outside the norm every once and a while, especially with food. Trying new things is a fantastic way to broaden your horizons, and you’ll finally be able to say, “Ever have eel? I have!”

A knowledge of foods and the restaurants in your area can actually be really beneficial, should you ever want to take someone for a meal or just make simple conversation.

Google Maps is incredibly useful in finding local restaurants, though when it comes to reviews, it tends to be lacking. While an occasional review will be posted, there are other sites that are much more helpful if you’re still unsure about a restaurant’s quality. Try checking out UrbanSpoon.com, DineSite.com, or Yelp.com for more in-depth reviews of local restaurants.

Go outside, dammit!

In your time off from work, get out of the house. Go to the park and read a book. Go for a bike ride. Take a walk. Just do something, man!

It’s good to get outside. Healthy exercise is always welcome, and it’ll help you become better acquainted with your new surroundings. Going for a 15-minute run every day or a hike through the woods can be enlightening. Take advantage of the good weather and explore your surroundings.

Make use of your roommate’s connections

If you’re sharing a house or apartment with someone else, you can always use them to springboard your way into a new social circle. Of course, you should avoid being pushy and annoying, but if you get along with your roommate(s), casually ask if they’d like to go out for dinner, to a bar, or anything really. Even ask if they’d like to bring some friends along. Maybe they’ll say yes, and you’ll make some new ties in the process.

Try social sites like MySpace or Facebook

Meeting people over the internet is a touchy subject. It’s pretty risky, but if done carefully, you can actually make some great friends. Of course, it’s always better to take a little extra time to get to know people with these sorts of things. Try online forums and social sites to find people with similar interests in neighboring towns.

Online dating services, on the other hand, are something else entirely, and probably should be saved for another discussion.

Go for a random drive

If you’re moving to an area you’re unfamiliar with, get lost on a random drive to check out your surroundings. You’ll likely be surprised what you find. Perhaps you’ll stumble across a store or a go-kart racing track or something you didn’t know was there before. It’s good to know the area you live in. While this isn’t quite as intimate as a jog or a bike ride, it will allow you to see a lot more in a much shorter span of time. You can even travel to neighboring cities to see if there’s anything that interests you.

Join a special interest club

A good way to meet people and help settle in to a new town is to join a club. Check Craigslist, look on bulletin boards, or even just do a simple Google search and see what’s in the area. If you like books, join a book club. Is music your thing? Then maybe you can find a group that does jam sessions. The possibilities are endless.

Aside from the internet, check bulletin boards at local stores, libraries, bars, etc. Often people post fliers regarding clubs and events on public bulletins, making it easy to find info on local happenings.

Like animals?

How about getting a dog or a cat? If pets are your thing, an animal makes for great company (if your landlord allows it). Keep your work schedule in mind and what you’ll have time for, as pets are obviously a huge responsibility. If you find you’re pressed for time, even something small like a fish or hamster can make a big difference.

Things NOT to do

Of course, there are plenty of things that would be counterproductive to someone hoping to ease in to a new environment.

  • Don’t get stuck inside-explore your habitat.
  • Don’t try to force friends-if you do, you’ll just come off as a creep.
  • Don’t be shy-there’s no reason to be afraid because people are just people, right?
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things-life’s too short for that.
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One Comment »

  • Lynn M said:

    I think making friends at work is a great idea, especially if it is a job that brought you to your new town to begin with. Making friends anywhere, work or no work, is a risk. I believe you can contol the drama. Remember, it takes two to make drama. If you’re prone to drama, you’re probably going to have it at work and your home life as well, if you’re not, you’re probably not going to attract those kinds of friendships at work anyway. Here’s an old USA Today article that actually offers research to prove work friendships are good. It says,
    “People who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job.” So, not only are your spirits lifted by having a friend at work, but you’ll be more likely to excel in your job, which might lead to a better career, better opportunities, and better pay! So, don’t be shy about socializing at work!

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