Finding Your Place In a New City

Take a Walk

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in a new city where you’re surrounded by seemingly endless unknown streets and faces you don’t recognize. So it may help to think of your new home in manageable pieces, rather than all at once. Start by taking an afternoon to walk around your block, learning the street names. Then expand to the streets where you work or the downtown area, and take note of some interesting places you’d like to check out later (like these Philly hot spots or West Chester’s gem of a cuisine scene). Make an effort to get out and learn something new about your surroundings, and within a few weeks you’ll have a pretty good grasp on where things are.

Greet Your Neighbors

We’ve all seen it in movies and TV shows many times before: a new person moves onto the block and before you know it, all the neighbors are knocking on their door with a casserole and a smile. While things might not always work out that way, the sentiment rings true. Take initiative and introduce yourself to the people who live on your floor or who you see on the elevator. Ask them what they like about the neighborhood, the best places to see in the city, their favorite pizza joint – simple conversation-starters that can help you learn more about your surroundings. Even if you aren’t fast friends with your next-door neighbors, at the very least it’s another friendly face you can recognize (and borrow sugar from, if need be).

Turn Your Hobbies into a Social Outlet

Before moving, you may have heard about and feared the perceived difficulties of “making friends as an adult.” Remember starting high school, when you joined every club you could fit into your schedule to meet new people? The method to make friends as an adult is essentially the same, as long as you’re prepared to make the effort. It seems obvious, but turning your hobbies into a social activity is one of the easiest ways to make friends (even as a fully-grown adult). Love yoga? Take a class. Love poetry or art? Join a club or go to a show. You can also use social media and other online resources to find people who share your hobbies. Take advantage of what you love to meet new people. It’s an easy way to make connections with people who share at least one similar interest.

Develop a Daily Routine

Wake up at 6. Go for a jog. Take a shower. Get ready for work. Everyone has a routine that rules their mornings, and wherever you are, there’s no doubt it helps with feelings of familiarity. During a transition period where things feel uncertain, creating familiarity can set you at ease. You might try to develop a different routine in your new city, or at least maintain the parts of your old routine that you most enjoyed. When you begin to claim as your own a piece of something that was once unfamiliar, those feelings of haziness will begin to clear. Read blogger Chris Winfield’s advice for how to create a successful morning routine.

Relax, Don’t Force It

No matter how many steps you take to ensure you fit in, remember that some things will always be out of your control. More importantly, allow yourself to let them go. If the adjustment period is a little longer than you expected, try not to get frustrated and remember to be patient. Getting accustomed to living in a new place can be stressful, so don’t forget to take care of yourself. Your new life will settle with time, and before you know it, your new city will feel just like home.}

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