How to Make Friends in New Places
Moving to a new place has its own stressors: finding the right apartment or roommate, unpacking, shopping for new items, finding your way around town or school, or searching for a new job, all while surrounded by new people and wondering, am I going to fit in?
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I have been “the new girl” quite a few times. And with this status, comes a feeling of loneliness and fear - the thought of being forever alone! Dramatic, yet so true.
The last time that I moved to a new city, it included a new state. After much thought and effort to adjust, I realized the main reason I felt alone was because I had decided to close myself away from others in my new setting (I doubt it was a consciously made decision though). I isolated myself, because I was still stuck in my old city, even though none of my friends or family were around.
As a result, I was spending too much time on social media sites trying to keep old relationships alive and too little time trying to open up to new people.
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.-Proverbs 18:24
I still felt like my friends were close to me and I felt a sense of loyalty to them that hindered my incentive to make new friends for fear of replacing them. I had a false sense of being in their company all the time. As time went by, there was a ghost of times past that roamed around my Facebook wall every day, while I was spending most of my time with a small group of people (and not making any friends).
I learned that sometimes we need to let go of certain relationships that do not endure distance, while other times we need to hold on to good friends for life! People come and go, and we need to embrace them as they pass in and out of our lives, as we all move forward to reach our purposes in life.
Having friends that have known us for a long time is truly a blessing, but sometimes God puts us in new places to meet someone new.
So, if you're at a point in your life when you're feeling like you are alone or your friendships are not what they used to be, there are a couple of things you can do to get out of the rut:
- First, acknowledge that you feel lonely or that you are in fact alone.
- Self-check: am I pushing others away? Am I putting myself out there enough to be approached by others? Am I stuck in past relationships that are no longer part of my everyday? Know thy self!
- It’s okay to spend time alone, but we all need need human interaction and to feel loved.
- Get out more, volunteer or congregate. Take changes.
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger (maybe the person next to you in the grocery line or someone at the gym?).
- Make new friends and embrace good habits to make your relationships grow.
- Be comfortable with spending time with yourself.
- Spend time alone with God - He’s the best companion!
- Deal with pain and internal issues in prayer and/or seek professional help if needed.
- Remember that relationships are created in person, not online. Get some face time (not the digital kind tho!) even if it's just an occasional coffee date!
- Write letters to close friends and family that you miss.
- Lastly, remember to be good to others, and they will want to be around you!
There are plenty more things that help deal with loneliness, but it all depends on the individual.
Now, doing nothing may or may not work, but the hopelessness that comes from being lonely is a fine line away from sadness and depression. We all tend to be here at some point, but we are never truly alone.
PS. If you have acclimated to your new town, school, or job, or if you were always there since birth: reach out to new people, it may be you one day!