Moving to a new neighborhood can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to the area with a new job. You may be far away from your usual friends and family, or you may just be looking for people in your local neighborhood to hang out with on weeknights. Either way, there are many opportunities to meet new people—you just have to put yourself out there.
Introduce yourself to your neighbors
Particularly in an apartment community where people move frequently, getting to know your neighbors isn’t always easy. As soon as you move in, start putting yourself out there. Introduce yourself to your neighbors when you run into them at the mailbox or in the hallway. There’s nothing wrong with a straightforward approach: “Hi, I’m ____, I just moved in.” Ask about the area and if they have any suggestions on good restaurants, etc.
Attend social events sponsored by your apartment community
Many communities, especially those that cater to younger tenants, hold regular mixers—pool parties, happy hours, etc. Most people who attend these are, like you, trying to meet new people and getting to know their neighbors. So go show up, and don’t be shy about making the first move to introduce yourself. Someone has to take that first step!
Take a class
Painting, wine tasting, cooking, comedy improv, kayaking, writing workshop, whatever. Look for classes that emphasize their social aspect. Alternatively, take a class in something you’re really passionate about, and let the social aspect be a secondary benefit.
Join a recreation sports league
Join a local social sports team—softball, soccer, kickball, dodgeball, you name it. No need to be a stellar athlete, co-ed sports leagues tend to attract casual players who just want to have fun and meet new people. Some teams even offer organized happy hours after games.
Attend a wine/beer/cheese/chocolate tasting
Nothing brings people together like food and wine. But unlike showing up at a local bar and trying to strike up conversations with strangers, a beer or wine tasting gives you a structured setup to interact with people who share your interests. And because there’s an activity and a presenter, you won’t feel pressure if you don’t immediately hit it off with someone. Besides, you get to sip on new drinks and/or nibble new foods, so really, it’s a win even if you don’t make new friends.
This is another area where you can pursue an interest and potentially meet people with shared interests. Improve your new neighborhood by joining a park cleanup day. Dish up meals at a local soup kitchen. Walk dogs at your animal shelter. Volunteer to help at a fundraising event for a charity you believe in. Just make sure the cause is something you really believe in— otherwise you might not be a great fit.
Let your dog make friends for you
If you have a dog, you know that canines are much more adept at making friends than humans. So if your pet shows interest in another animal, politely ask their owner if your dog can greet theirs. Then get to know the other human while your dogs get to know each other. Obviously, this depends on your dog being well-socialized and friendly with other animals. (If they’re not, now’s a great time to take a dog socialization class—another great place to meet new people!)
Organize an after-work happy hour
If you’ve just started a new job, your new work colleagues are a great place to make new social connections. (If nothing else, your days are going to be much happier if you have positive relationships with your coworkers.) So ask around to gauge if there’s any interest in a happy hour, or, if the office culture seems right, send out an email. Be sure not to leave anyone out.
Search online for social meetups
Meetup.com and similar websites are great places to find groups that share your interests. You’ll find singles’ happy hours, book groups, foreign language conversation groups, knitting clubs, spiritual discussion groups, gun clubs… There are literally groups for every interest imaginable.
Get involved in politics
If you’re interested in politics, volunteer for a local political organization or campaign. Nothing brings people together like a shared passion for politics. In an election year especially, many people get involved and it can be a good way to find out more about the local community.