Maybe you got a new job across the country, needed a change of pace, or just didn’t feel the vibe in your current neighborhood. No matter your reasoning, moving to a new city is both exciting and scary. After all, you’re used to the culture and nuances where you are now, and you’ll have to start all over in your next place.
Fortunately, the big, bad world isn’t so frightening when you do a little preparation first. With that in mind, here are 10 tips for getting yourself through this move and quickly finding your niche in your new home:
1. Scout a Neighborhood That Fits
Cities are massive centers of human life, so one area will have a vastly different culture than another. Once you know you need to move, find a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle. If you can see yourself living there, you’re in good shape.
Now, how to find that perfect place. Read neighborhood reviews, talk to real people who live there, and, if possible, visit before you select your apartment. All these things can give you a pretty good idea of what each section of the city is like.
2. Build a Community Early
There are tons of online groups and chat rooms you can join virtually to talk to people who actually live in the city you’re moving to. Participate in these groups and start speaking with people. Doing so gives you access to real perspectives that can help you gather information and feel more comfortable before your move.
What’s more, you may even be able to meet up with people you met online once you’re all moved in. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of local friends!
If you’re transferring locations within your company, you’re at an advantage. Talk to people in your new office and start forming relationships. They’ll be able to help you acclimate both at work and during happy hour.
3. Learn Your Routine
Once you move (or even before), scout out the grocery stores, gas stations, bars, drug stores, etc., that are closest to your apartment that you’ll use often. That way, you won’t be at a total loss when building your daily routines.
Having your needs met and routines in place will help you feel more settled in this unfamiliar environment.
4. Find Your Own Place
In addition to choosing a go-to grocery store, find a place in your neighborhood that feels familiar. It can be anything from a Chipotle (they look the same everywhere!) to a gym that reminds you of the one you attend now.
Holding onto something familiar will make this city a little less foreign– what is In ‘n’ Out anyway?
5. Make Your Apartment Your Own
With the metropolis around you all new and unfamiliar, you need a place where you feel 100% comfortable. Your apartment is that place. You can decorate it, fill it with odds and ends that make you happy, and really establish yourself.
Basically, your apartment is your escape and home base. Prioritize unpacking, getting furniture, and decorating so the space is totally put together ASAP — establishing yourself in a new city and job is hard enough without worrying about a half-unpacked home!
6. Say ‘Yes’
Even if you really just want to go home and hide in your apartment after work with Sprinkles, your cat, don’t! If peers invite you to the office happy hour, say “yes.” You don’t even have to drink.
Going along shows you’re willing to get to know people, and that’s a reputation you want from the start. If you say “no” too many times upfront, people will stop inviting you. Saying “yes” also helps you make friends quickly and get to know your new city.
7. Go to Classes and Clubs
Some classes around the city require you to pay, but not all do. You can join a gym that offers yoga, Pilates, and kickboxing with your membership and start attending the classes that most interest you. Not only will you stay in shape, but you can meet locals!
Or, if sweating with strangers isn’t your preferred meet-and-greet, look for nearby cooking classes, wine tastings, book clubs, etc.
Sites like Meetup let you input your neighborhood and filter communities based on your interests. The hardest part is leaving your apartment and actually attending a meeting– once you do that, you’ll be golden!
8. Be the First to Make a Move
Making a move doesn’t necessarily mean asking the cute guy or gal from kickboxing to coffee (though it could). It also refers to inviting co-workers and club members to do something one-on-one.
Being the first to initiate a friendship-building activity is hard, especially for the introverts out there, but in a new city, it’s worth it. The worst that could happen is someone might say “no.” Can you handle that? Then you can invite people to hang out!
Every city is unique and full of spots you may not know about– yet! Get to know all the secret hangouts, highly rated haunts, and niche locations by getting out there and exploring. Ask co-workers and new friends for their top picks of things to see in the city, and make a bucket list.
Try new things often and you’ll soon be familiar with your town.
10. Relax and Have Fun
Most importantly, enjoy your move. Heading to a new city is an adventure– a time when you can learn and grow. Seize that opportunity and enjoy yourself! In a year’s time, you’ll be glad you did.
A year is the key here, too. It takes about 12 months to acclimate to a new environment. If, at six months, you feel like you want to move back to your old city, don’t! Hold on until the year is over before you make big decisions.
Best of luck in your next apartment and moving to a new city! You’ll have a blast.