This was another concerned question I got repeatedly when I told people I was moving across the country. And it’s not something I didn’t think about daily, if I’m being honest. I’m leaving my home, my friends, my family, and moving to a city where I know zero people, with the exception of a cousin that’s two hours north of me. It’s terrifying. And it’s hard as all hell to make friends when you’re older. So how do you go about making friends?
First, thank goodness for social media. Sometimes all of the nonsense on social media can drive me crazy and make me want to delete the apps from my phone – but I am so appreciative of the tools it has provided me with in this move. On Facebook, there’s so many groups that are filled with other travel therapists who are just as alone, scared, confused and looking for a friend. One of the nights on my drive when I was feeling particularly down, I commented on one of these pages literally saying “Hi! I’m moving to Eugene and know nobody – let’s be friends!” Within 24 hours there were over 40 comments on there and I had made plans to meet up with 2 different girls. Friends!
This one may seem obvious, but: work friends! Most facilities that we get contracted by will have multiple travelers – physical therapists, occupational therapists, and nurses. That gives you a whole group of people that are most likely around your age, are also alone and looking for people to explore the area with.
Next – scope out any activities that you used to do at home and try to find similar activities. Example: In Philly there was a popular running store that would put on group runs. I never went because I was more of a solo runner, but I feel that this may be an opportunity in a new city that I should take advantage of. I’m also on the hunt for a soccer league, as the co-ed league I played in was a huge part of my time of Philadelphia. A good way to do this is through MeetUp.com. I just recently learned about this site but so far it has a lot of promising opportunity.
Become a YES person. I’m an extroverted introvert. I appreciate my alone time; I need my alone time to recharge after a long work week or a lot of social activities. But you can’t make friends sitting at home every night! So say yes to happy hours, to hikes, to festivals, to coffee, to anything that anyone invites you to. You may not want to go out all of the time, and it’s fine to say no every now and then – but for every no, there better be 5 YES‘s to follow.
Lastly – don’t shy away from dating apps. Yes, some can be creepy and sometimes seem pointless. But it’s actually a great way to casually meet people and possibly find a new group of friends that you can hang with on weekends. Bumble also offers a “BFF” portion, where you can meet up with girl friends.
Any way that friends can be made, take advantage of it! Making friends is hard, being on the road is lonely, there’s others out there looking for friends too – go find ’em!