Adjusting to Apartment Life: Making Friends

Settling into a new place can be a challenging and draining process, but the transition can also be an exciting chance to explore unfamiliar places, meet interesting people, and try different things. Establishing yourself in a new place goes beyond simply figuring out how you’ll decorate your living room—you’ll probably be adjusting to a lot of things, and making your transition as smooth as possible is key. From making new friends, to adjusting to your newfound freedom, to living, eating, and decorating on a budget, we’ve gathered a ton of tips for new apartment-dwellers that are sure to make your post-move experience as stress-free as possible.

Once the initial commotion of unpacking and settling in dies down, one of the first things you may realize is that living on your own can leave you feeling a bit lonely. Meeting new people is an inevitable and exciting part of navigating the new area you now call home. Although it’s not always easy to find time to establish meaningful friendships while juggling all of your other priorities and responsibilities, there are a few ways we’ve found that can help make it a little less intimidating.

  1. Find out what’s around town.

First, do some research and get to know what’s in the area—apart from the place you buy bread from or fill your tank. Find and become acquainted with the nearest bars, restaurants, movie theater, and shopping center. Familiarizing yourself with your new whereabouts will help to ease any anxieties you may feel about being in a foreign place, and it will help to eradicate that “new kid” feeling that suggests you don’t belong. It’s important to be confident and knowledgeable about your new town or community, and it can also be a lot of fun learning about what quirky traditions or touristy spots give your new home its unique personality.

  1. Use technology.

Second, take advantage of social apps that can connect you with those of similar interests and hobbies in your area. Apps like Tinder Social, ATLETO, Bumble BFF, and Meet My Dog allow users to meet up and hang out on a casual basis without the pressure or commitment that can often be associated with romantic dating or hook-up apps. Try suggesting a fun group hang out such as bowling or grabbing a slice of pizza, and make an effort to talk to each person in the group. Just be sure to use your best judgement when it comes to meeting people through an app, and always meet in a public place.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone.

Another way you can make friends in your new area is to try doing something out of your comfort zone that you wouldn’t necessarily have done back home. You may want to try volunteering at a local food kitchen, taking yourself out to eat for an empowering dinner for one, or taking a walk around town and seeing the sights for yourself. The only rule here is that whatever you decide to do shouldn’t involve laying on the couch at home watching a rom-com on a Friday night!

  1. Stick to what you know.

Making new friends doesn’t always have to be a forced, awkward interaction. To avoid abandoning any remaining levels of comfort, try involving yourself in things you already enjoy doing. Whether you join a local gym, listen in on a weekly book club, or take an evening painting class, you’ll be able to put yourself in a comfortable setting that still gives you the opportunity to be social and meet people. You’ll already have established common ground with those around you based on shared interests, so friendships will be more likely to progress naturally.

  1. Don’t get discouraged.

Finally, don’t stress too much about making new friends if it doesn’t seem to be transpiring as easily or as quickly as you anticipated. Finding friends and making connections in a new town or community can be a challenging and time consuming process, and it likely won’t happen overnight. As with all new life experiences, keeping an open mind will help you be prepared for just about any chance interaction that could arise. There are plenty of fish in the sea—and you’re bound to bump into a few if you’re willing to dive in.

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