How to Meet New People in a New City
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that moving to Denver has been the scariest thing that I’ve done in the past 5 years, even though it’s one of the most incredible things that I’ve done at the same time. In Kansas City, I left behind my instructor position at the studio that is the reason why I fell in love with cycling in the first place, my family that I hold so dear to my heart that it hurts to be away from them, and a group of girlfriends/community that willingly supported and encouraged me regardless of anything or anyone that I was up against. I left a really good place. I left HOME.
There is something strange in the experience of moving away from wherever you call home. You leave behind some really good things and people, and you step into a new space where your community and friendships aren’t as defined, you have to find a new groove with work, and the restaurants and stores around you aren’t the favorite places that you’re used to. Your heart aches slightly at the thought of leaving everything behind, but you also have this beaming light of hope inside of your chest – like you know that the decision is right, even though it’s really hard.
I’m officially one month into living in Denver, and the amount of emotions that I’ve experienced in the past four weeks is enough to make me feel like I’m 36 weeks pregnant (I’m not, don’t worry fam). One thing that I’m incredibly thankful for in this experience though is my willingness to put myself out there and step into the unknown with confidence – despite the moments where I’m feeling sad or lonely. I’ve been meeting some incredible people and doing some incredible things – but this wouldn’t be the case if I wasn’t willing to accept everything new that the universe has in store for me here. I arrived with my arms open, and I promised myself that they would remain stretched out wide for the remainder of my time here (however long that is!) – regardless of the stress, insecurity, loneliness or doubt that sometimes plague my mind.
I must admit that I feel as if the universe has been in my favor here thus far. It’s like we’ve been working together. Opportunities present themselves (with people, freelancing gigs, fitness events, etc.), I say yes, and then more good things just pile on. It’s awesome, but it’s not just happening out of the blue.
In order for you and the universe to partner together, you have to put in your 50-60% (that’s what a partnership is, right? Giving at least 50%?). You have to show that you want it (whatever it is), that you’re committed, that you’re unafraid and ready.
Meeting new people in a new city is a perfect opportunity to partner with the universe. It requires you to own your personality and who you are, and step out into the world with confidence – agreeing to try new things, go new places, greet everyone with a smile and participate in life with a whole heart. Meeting new people is not easy, but with the right attitude and intentions, healthy relationships and interactions work their magic into your life and you start to see the universe doing its thing in full action.
I know I’m talking all spiritual guru here, but I’m serious about this stuff. Finding new friends and introducing yourself to strangers isn’t easy – especially in a new city, but it’s necessary if you want to live an awesome life. Awesome people do awesome things, and when you do awesome things you feel awesome. Who doesn’t want to feel awesome all the time?
If you’re in need of some direction for how to make new friends in a new city, I want to offer you my best. What you’ll find below are tips that summarize what I have been doing in order to put myself out there and meet new people in Denver. None of the bullet points below are easy, but they are absolutely worth every ounce of your effort. I really hope you find these tips helpful, and if there is anything that you think I missed or should try for myself – please share!
- Link up with people that you already know. Do you know anyone in your new city? Literally, ANYONE? Reach out to them! It’s not weird. Even if you need to DM them or shoot them a Facebook message. Odds are, they’ve been in your position too. Go out for a drink with them or ask them to coffee at a cool local spot that you found online. Make an effort to meet up with these people that you already have in your network, and keep in touch with them! If you vibe with them, it’s likely that they know other people that you’d vibe with also. One person can introduce you to one thousand others!
- Go to ALL of the free weeks of classes at fitness studios. Seriously every single studio seems to be doing this – one week of free classes if you are a noob! Go to the studios and take the offer. Introduce yourself to the people working there and tell them that you just moved. Ask them what their favorite restaurants or happy hours are, or ask them about the best outdoor escapes in the city (parks, rivers, etc.) Introduce yourself to people in class and try to connect with them on some level. Don’t be shy to ask people out on dates – girls or guys. IT’S NOT WEIRD YOU GUYS. Genuinely cool people are understanding and will be just as excited as you to make new friends and try new things.
- Say yes to everything (unless, of course, it wouldn’t bring you joy). If you are invited to ANYTHING, including the birthday party of someone’s second cousin, GO. Whether it’s going to the park to play frisbee even though you’ve never thrown one, or going out for drinks on a Monday even though you know you have to be up early on Tuesday – go and make the best of the experience. You don’t have to be a master at frisbee and you don’t have to have more than one drink, but you DO have to say yes to things in life if you want to meet people and generate community. Participate, smile, experience and always accept the invite (in the beginning at least).
- Date yourself. Some people think that going out for a drink or dinner alone is weird and means you’re a loser – this truly could not be further from the truth in my eyes. People who are willing to date themselves (go out alone) exude confidence and openness; and confidence and openness are sexy. Once a week (or more), do something alone in the city. Go to the farmer’s market and interact with the vendors, or other people that are sampling the gluten-free sourdough bread too. Go get a drink or coffee at a place near your apartment or house. Go ride your bike at the park or have a solo picnic. Take yourself out for happy hour at a rooftop bar and flirt with the bartender. Whatever it is, treat the time with yourself like a real date – dress cute, have an open mind and turn on your flirt game.
- Go to free (or not) events and workouts. Chances are, if you are now living in a dope new city, there is a ton of stuff going on every week and weekend (especially during the summer months!) Get online and search for free workout groups that meet weekly (ex: I just found November Project here in Denver and am SO pumped to try it); or search for events happening in your neighborhood – farmer’s markets, potlucks in the park, wine tastings, art walks and gallery openings, food truck and beer festivals, outdoor or rooftop yoga, vintage popups, dance parties, etc.
- Make small talk. This is a tough one, I know, but bear with me. When you are in the elevator, in line at the grocery store, sitting within close quarters of someone else at a coffee shop, waiting at the bar, sitting in an uber or waiting for a yoga class to start, making conversation with a person near you could gain you a new friend. Ask them a question, pet their dog and strike up conversation, compliment them, make a joke, etc. Cool people like other cool people, and it’s cool to reach out and interact with other human beings.
- Be willing to reach out to the people that you DO meet. When you meet someone and exchange numbers, reach out to them! I think it’s so lame that we ‘don’t want to be the one to reach out first’ a lot of the time – with men or women – and I think this needs to change. If you are genuinely interested in spending time with someone else (as a friend or more), then you have to be willing to put yourself out there and invite them to do something!
- Sign up for local magazine and newsletter emails. Each city has magazines and newsletters that include upcoming events and trending topics. Ask around or look online for your city’s best email lists. For example, I just signed up for emails from 303 Magazine and Denverite so I could be notified about weekend events and things happening in the city!
- Take advantage of your work community. I don’t care if your coworkers are all over the age of 40 – you can still be friends with them! Chances are that a few of them have lived in the area for a while; and if they are familiar with neighborhoods and people, then YAY because you’ve just met someone that can point you in the direction of hip spots and cool areas. Also, being friends with your coworkers is fun. You work with them every single day anyways – might as well get to know them and make fun memories together.
I know firsthand that there is absolutely nothing easy about moving to a new city. BUT, the only way for you to get the best out of each new moment and interaction in your new home is to do one thing: put your best self out there. All of the tips that I mentioned above involve you doing just this. If you are willing to engage, smile, try, experiment, laugh, say yes and put judgement aside – you will have the greatest experience in your new city, and you will make new friends without a problem. Be the kind of person that you want to meet! You will attract exactly who you are.
I hope you have an incredible experience wherever you are in the world, and that you give this new life opportunity of yours your full attention and whole heart. And, as always, if you need support or someone to talk to – reach out to me! Send me an email or DM me on Instagram. I love connecting with you guys, and I’m a real human with real emotions too. We can support one another!
Also, please share your own ideas for meeting new people in a new city in the comments below! I know I didn’t cover them all.