Moving to a new city takes you out of your comfort zone in so many ways – you're living in a new neighborhood, finding new adventures, new favorite spots – and meeting new people. All of which are exciting, but when it comes to friends, it does take effort to establish a network of people for your new phase of life.
Though Detroit to Chicago wasn't a terribly far or risky move, I moved here knowing just a handful of people, so it was completely up to me to find ways to put myself out there and meet friends. I consider myself an"ambivert" – I definitely love being active, socializing and learning more about people through conversation and laughter, but I also value my alone time to recharge, where my only plans are to read, write, catch up on news or watch a show.
Everyone's different though, so appealing to different interests in mind, here are some ways to meet people after a move.
Join a book club.
I joined a book club last month, and it's the perfect way to meet a new group of people if you're into reading, wine, and snacks. The club meets once a month on a Sunday, and for the first half of the meeting, we casually talk about the book. Then, we just keep sipping wine and chatting with each other.
If you don't know anyone in an active group start your own, or head to Unabridged Bookstore in Lake View for their monthly club!
Take group fitness classes.
Chicago has so many options for group fitness classes.
Whether I chatted with someone on the yoga mat during pre-workout stretches or met someone at the lockers after class, the classes not only give me killer workouts, but they also foster a sense of community. Let's face it, plugging into Spotify for the treadmill and free weights gets boring after a while, so you might as well get the workout and the socialization you want and need!
Take an improv class.
Nothing says "out of your comfort zone" like improv if you're someone like me whose blinded by a spotlight, but it can be super beneficial to meeting people and putting yourself out there, literally. I have a couple friends who are super active in Chicago's improv scene, and they love performing with their teams. Domenic did improv in L.A. and swears by it as one of the best ways he met and got close to people living in a new city.
Head to happy hour with co-workers.
Getting to know your co-workers outside of work's four walls can really help you get to know them as people. You might find things in common with someone you didn't know you had or click with someone in a totally different department you otherwise wouldn't interact with on a daily basis.
Come Monday, you might have a funny GIF or link to a cool city-thing in your inbox from a co-worker you chatted with over a drink.
Reconnect with people from home.
One of the first people I contacted when I moved here was a friend from high school. We went to different universities in Michigan, but thanks to social media, have always stayed in touch. Now that I live here, I see him on a semi-regular basis, and there's always a new plan in the works for a restaurant we want to try, museum we want to hit, or movie we want to see.
And since making the move, a number of good friends from home have moved to the city, too! It's nice being able to reconnect with people you've lossed touch with or used to be far away from now that you're living in the same place.
It seems like there's a meetup group for anything, and in a city as big and diverse as Chicago, you can almost certainly find a group of people interested in the same things as you. This is definitely for someone who really doesn't mind throwing themselves into the mix with strangers, but it can pay off to already go into something new with a hobby as a commonality.
I'm starting to realize most of life happens outside of your comfort zone, so you need to put yourself out there to meet people. You also can't expect for someone to become your best friend over night, and don't worry if you try something and it's not an instant connection. Adulthood can be a balancing act, and a social life is one of many things in rotation. Do don't put pressure on yourself to be in a certain place if you just moved here because the best connections I've made so far were made organically.