Moving is hard. Besides the fact that you have to meet people, there are so many things to deal with when moving to a new assignment. You have a new city that has new schools, grocery stores, and more. You are trying to learn your new address, streets, and just how to get from point a to b without going crazy. I always know that it is almost time to move again if I feel confident about where I’m going without a GPS.
With that being said one of the hardest parts about moving is having to make new friends. For about a month, maybe two not knowing anyone isn’t so bad. You have so many things to learn and a zillion boxes to unpack, but when the dust has settled and you feel like you finally feel at home. If you haven’t met anyone yet you are probably ready to meet people by now. Here are some of the tips I have learned to get plugged in fast. I recommend doing them right away. Even when the house is full of boxes and your list is a mile long. One thing I have learned is friendships take time. The sooner you start the quicker you can get connected and find your new group.
1. Join a gym
When I moved to LA, my husband’s sponsor recommended we join the local YMCA. His wife went there regularly and with free childcare included in the monthly dues it was hard to pass up. I met one of my really good friends through the Y. And although I don’t go there now I am happy that I joined the first year we were here. It gave me a much-needed break each day and eventually I met some great people. The YMCA often had great deals for military families, so make sure you ask about them.
2. Join a mom’s group
As a newer mom this wasn’t high on my priority list when I moved to LA, but I have now found MOPS. A great organization across the country to help mothers of preschoolers connect. They also have MOMSNext if your kids are past the preschool stage. Also check out other mom organizations online, like Stroller Striders for example.
3. Go to a church and get involved
This is actually probably my number one since my closest friends have all come from church or Bible Study. When we go to a church we have an instant similarity with people and are able to get plugged in fast. Maybe you don’t associate with the church group. Find a different group that meets regularly that you have a common interest, bonus if it can be a family affair.
4. Join your Military Spouse Club
The military has a great way for spouses to connect through the Military Spouse Club at your base. Most spouse clubs have been combined and gone away are the days of officer or enlisted groups. My first assignment, my husband had a great spouse club and even though I was in the military I was actively involved. The last two assignments I haven’t been as lucky with spouse groups, but they are often a great resource.
5. Go to the park, beach, or other hang out spots
If all else fails hit the local hot spots where moms hang out. Here in LA, it is the beaches or parks, in Ohio, it was the local mall or indoor play areas. It isn’t the easiest way to make friends, but if you have a little courage you can go and talk to the mom that your kid finds to play with. And maybe you will have something in common. And who knows you may even become friends. ?
What did I miss? What is your best advice for making friends in new places?