I was over at zenhabits last night and one of Leo’s blog readers was asking about the best way to find friends in a new city.
Making friends in a new city is always a challenge for military wives. The military member at least has a job to go to on arrival. He (or she, as the case may be) immediately has co-workers to talk to. While he may not become friends with them, at least it is a starting point for developing a personal life.
The military wife on the other hand on top of managing her fair share of the DHG&E, may have to find a job in her new location. And what happens if she doesn’t speak the language?
It certainly is a challenge meeting new people so here is a list of a few things I’ve learned over the years.
Ask questions that anyone can answer. For example, walk up to someone and say, “Hi, I’m new in the neighbourhood/city and I noticed your lovely hair style. Would you mind if I got the name of your hair dresser?” – Women love that one but men, not so much. So for a guy you could try “Hey, nice car/bike/chainsaw/lawnmower. I’m in the market for one of those. Where did you get yours?”
If you’re a parent talking to another parent you’ve got an edge because you can ask, “Would you be able to recommend a good coach for [insert sport or activty here]?” or “What [insert sport or activty here] do you recommend that my kids get involved in?”
Just to start a conversation. You will at least start meeting people who will connect you with more people…and so on and so on.
Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) – This is the community centre for military families. They have lots of activities for people of all ages. They also provide connections to the civilian community.
Faith Place (eg. church) – We always try to attend services at a local church. Many of the people that attend services are well established in the local community and are great resources for information on all types of things from finding a quality auto mechanic to finding a great babysitter.
Activities – We try to participate in activities that we’re interested in. We usually meet like-minded people. These activities can be organized sports or volunteering at the library.
The Internet – Ask your Tweets or Facebook friends to connect you with people in your new area. Use Google to look for meet-ups, networking groups or hobby groups in the area that you’re going to move to.
Language – When I first moved to Québec in 1993 I was not fluent in French. I walked around with dictionary. I smiled. I made an effort. I met amazing people who tried to help me learn French better. I also learned those people who weren’t willing to help and had no patience weren’t worth getting to know. You can take a class to learn the language a little better. This will not only help you speak to the locals, but you’re sure to meet some cool people in your class.
While you may never have a friend like the “best friend back home” with a positive attitude and a smile you’ll meet a many fascinating people.
What tips and tricks to you use to make friends in new places?