Every week, we hear from a valued member of our online community who has a question about life, love, or anything that they are struggling with. We answer that question here on the blog and give the best advice we have. This week, we heard from Henry, who is struggling to adjust to a huge life change.
Q - I just got a promotion at work, which I’m thrilled about, but it means I’ve had to move to a new city far away from home. I’m pretty adventurous so it’s exciting, but it’s also more difficult than I thought it would be. Being far from everyone I know can get lonely at times, and I’m not sure how to go about making new friends where I live. My colleagues are great but they are all busy with their own lives. Do you have any advice on how I can adapt to such a big life change? Thanks in advance, Henry.
A - Hi, Henry. Thanks so much for getting in touch and for your question. First of all, I want to congratulate you on your promotion, and for being brave enough to take it. It takes a lot of courage to move away from everyone you know and love, and the security and comfort of home, especially on your own.
I completely understand how you feel right now. Making friends as an adult is so much more difficult than as a child; you’re not at school anymore, and so aren’t forced to befriend the other children you spend time with everyday. The work environment is completely different, as like you said, everyone is busy with their own lives, families, and getting their work done. However, you will find it easier to meet people as you settle in and start to think of your new city as home. Here is our advice for how to adapt to such a big life change, and to create a fantastic new life for yourself.
Embrace the fresh start
The first thing to remember is that this is a completely fresh start for you, so embrace it. Moving to a new city where nobody knows you can seem daunting, but it actually means that you have an opportunity to recreate your life, and yourself, however you wish.
Think about it - your oldest friends at home know most of your secrets and embarrassing moments. Though you can still laugh about these when you talk to them, here, new people simply know the mature, the adult version of you. And you can present yourself however you want to.
Join a club/class
One of the easiest ways to meet new people is to join a club, or take a class. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take up a hobby, or learn a new skill, but haven’t had the time because of other responsibilities and commitments. Now is the perfect time!
There are many benefits to joining a team or taking up a class, the main one being you will find yourself surrounded by likeminded people, and you will find that you will most likely have a lot in common with them. The second, most obvious benefit, is that you will learn a new skill at the same time!
Get to know your coworkers
Our coworkers are who we spend the majority of our time with, and it’s important to get to know them and foster good relationships, especially when you’re new to the business. Yes, they have their own lives, families and responsibilities keeping them busy out of work, but there is always a little time to make a new friend!
If you can’t get a coworker to commit to a time after work, why not invite them out for lunch, and get to know them there? Or, if you’re a manager with a team of people working for you, suggest a team day out of the office to get to know each other and bond - it’s in the company’s best interest to encourage teams to get along, after all.
Offices can often be busy, stressful environments, so why not do something to boost team morale? This can be something as simple as bringing in some snacks, or buying a coffee round. Anything to put a smile on their faces will help boost your popularity with your colleagues!
Enjoy the alone time
Though this obviously doesn’t fall under the ‘how to make friends’ category, it’s still important to embrace time alone. Spending time alone is healthy, as it gives you a time to unwind and recharge from stressful situations, and helps you get to know yourself better and enjoy your own company.
There are countless ways to practice self-care, and now is the perfect time to start as you have fewer responsibilities or social commitments than you did before. Take the opportunity to start a workout routine, or take up yoga and/or meditation. These things are good for your physical, mental and spiritual well being. Maybe you could start a journal, and write down your thoughts and experiences. Sit down and read your favourite book, or one that you’ve had your eye on for a while.
Keep in touch
As exciting as your new life is and how much time you spend focused on making new friends, don’t forget your loved ones at home. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say, so now is a great time to nourish those relationships and help them grow.
Social media and phone calls are quick, easy and convenient ways to keep in touch, and shouldn’t be taken for granted. However, don’t underestimate the joy of receiving something in the mail that isn’t a bill! Show your loved ones how much you appreciate and miss them by sending them handwritten letters and little gifts.