5 Ways to Make Friends When You Move to a New City

UPDATED: April 1, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 26, 2024
Group of friends in a cooking class

Moving to a new city is often both an exciting and stressful experience and requires a lot of energy, from finding a comfortable place to live to lining up a job. Whatever the reason you might be moving, be it for employment, housing, school or health-related reasons—all of which are among the most common reasons Americans moved from 2021 to 2022—one thing is true: you’re going to want to make friends in whatever new city you wind up in! 

Whether you already have a friend or two or are starting with a completely blank slate, figuring out how to make friends in a new city can feel a little overwhelming. And while making new friends might not be as simple as you’d like, especially after a big move, there are some ways to start meeting new people with similar interests. Here are some helpful tips on how to make new friends in a city you’re brand new to.

1. Attend events at your local library to make friends in a new city

When thinking of how to make new friends in a city, your local public library might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But libraries are often a bustling hub for local communities through public programming and events. The American Library Association (ALA) notes that libraries often offer programs focusing on the arts and humanities, encouraging people to talk and think about art, poetry, other cultures and more. 

Many public libraries offer monthly scheduled events, including book clubs, craft workshops, writing labs, classes (ranging from photography to technology and everything in between) and discussion panels. Find an event or program that’s interesting to you, and chat with others who are attending—they likely have similar interests!

2. Chat with your neighbors to make

There are definitely going to be plenty of opportunities to connect with new friends outside of your immediate living area, but don’t overlook the potential friends you might find in your neighbors. Whether they’re a few doors down in your apartment building or you just happen to share a street, connecting with neighbors is a great way to form connections in your new city. Some easy ways to start a quick conversation with neighbors include:

  • Answering the door if a neighbor pops by to welcome you
  • Seeing if your apartment building or neighborhood has any social events—these might be posted on a bulletin board or in a social media group dedicated to your specific area
  • Striking up a brief conversation in the hallway or elevator
  • Introducing yourself to your most immediate neighbors once you’re settled

3. Join a local group, like a book club, running group or sports team

Whatever your interests are, there’s likely to be some type of group, club or team in your new city that you can join. Groups are a great way to make new friends in a new city, whether they’re tied to something you’re already interested in or you’re exploring a new hobby.

Consider joining a book club where you can meet fellow book lovers, joining a sports team (there are often lots of formal or informal adult leagues for sports like soccer, baseball, basketball and more), or search out a local running group that you can meet up with a few times a week to get in your cardio. You’ll have plenty of chances to get to know other members of the group thanks to the semi-structured format that comes with these types of groups.

4. Make friends in a new city by using social apps

Social apps are a great tool to turn to if you’re finding it hard to connect with others. Apps like Meetup and Facebook (specifically Facebook groups local to your new city) are prime ways to find people with interests similar to yours. Meetup and Facebook let you easily search for groups by location and topic, allowing you to really fine-tune what kind of connections you’re most interested in finding. Here are some ways to start using social apps to make new friends:

  • Search your city and a favorite hobby or activity on Meetup or through Facebook groups. Most cities have a variety of groups that individuals have started in hopes of connecting with other like-minded people. Whether you’re looking for friends who are outdoorsy, artsy, into playing games or even those who can introduce you to the nightlife of your new city, this is a good place to start.
  • Once you find a group, look at their upcoming events. These will give you a chance to meet up with other members of the group in person! The types of events will vary based on the group you’ve joined, so keep that in mind as you scan planned activities.
  • In the meantime, try chatting with members who are posting in the group or make a post yourself. A quick introduction about yourself can be an easy way to start a conversation.

If Facebook or Meetup aren’t really your speed, there are apps you can use to find friends. For example, the popular dating app Bumble also offers BumbleBFF, a separate section of the app that shows you others in your area who are also interested in making new friends. 

5. Take a class to make friends in a new city

When it comes to making new friends in a new city, taking a class of any kind, be it a painting, workout or language class, is a fantastic way to meet new people. Think about what you’d like to learn more about or even something you’ve always wanted to do (there’s most likely a class out there!). When you sign up for a class, you’ll have potential new friends organically built in via your classmates—other people interested in the same class as you!

You can easily start conversations with your classmates before and after class to get to know them better. Chat about what you’re learning, why you both joined or even other classes you might be attending or interested in, and hopefully, it will kickstart a brand new friendship.

Remember to be patient and open to starting new friendships; it might take a little while once you’re in your new city, but as you start making connections and putting yourself out there, it’s only a matter of time before you make new friends.

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