The prospect of giving up the life you’ve built in the city can be disheartening. You’ve spent years or maybe even decades getting into a comfortable routine – a favorite grocery store, workout spots, restaurants, parks and activities, and maybe the most difficult to give up, your friendships.
There are two major pieces of good news though.
First: You don’t have to actually “give up” your friendships. You’ll likely be in the city regularly for work and, even if you’re not, your city friends just a quick train ride away! You might also find that they come out to visit you in your brand new suburban oasis when they need a city escape.
Second: So many people in the suburbs are just like you and were at one time (or still are) trying to find their new tribe. The suburbs are full of city transplants and the vibe is generally warm and welcoming to newcomers.
If you’re worried about how you’ll actually meet these warm and welcoming new neighbors, here are a few tips.
Join an online group. Kind of like a dating app but not nearly as awkward, you can join a Facebook or Meetup group to find people who are actively seeking out new friends just like you. Pretty much every town has multiple Facebook groups according to interests, from “new moms” and “work from home parents” to “running clubs” that meet for a pre-commute run.
Talk to someone on your commute. If you’re a city person accustomed to putting your blinders (and headphones, let’s be real) on during your subway rides, this might shock you but get ready for it…. A recent study found that people are happier when they talk to their fellow commuters. And you know that feeling you have that other commuters would be bothered if you tried talking to them on the train? It’s completely wrong! Another study found that most people are more than willing to chat on the train. And a huge bonus? Unlike going out for drinks with a new person, your time on the train is finite. You both have somewhere to be at 9am so if it’s not going well, you can get off at Penn Station and never look back.
Join the PTO. Or just join something. If you don’t have kids yet, do a quick online search for volunteering options in your new town. If hiking is your thing, join a local trailblazing group. If you’re into gardening (in your brand new yard 😉) , donate your garden surplus to a nearby “town refrigerator” and volunteer to help distribute it. Handy? Look around for a group building houses for Habitat for Humanity. There are tons of ways you can get involved and make a difference while meeting your future friends.
Attend local events. Small towns = big events! Without the hustle of the city it’s up to town recreation departments and local businesses to entertain. And entertain they do! From street fairs and carnivals to fitness crawls and charity 5Ks, there is plenty happening in the suburbs all week long to fill your calendar. To make sure you don’t miss anything, get social with your town! Follow their Instagram page, sign up for the newsletter, enable their notifications on Facebook. When you put yourself out there in the community, you’ll find plenty of other like-minded people doing the same.
Work out. Tried and true – join a gym or fitness studio! People typically don’t have their phones on them during a workout and as Elle Woods once said, “endorphins make you happy,” so it’s a great time to connect. Find them on social media, friend them, and take a walk for a smoothie after a sweat session!
Shop local. Need a hostess gift? Head to a local boutique for a personalized recommendation. Local businesses usually have local owners who are actively trying to reach out to the community and develop relationships and it’s a great way to support your new town’s economy. And nobody ever met their new neighbor by ordering a book off Amazon!
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