As you may have seen across my social media accounts, we are on the move again! We get to move back to Ohio, which I am pretty stoked about…and simultaneously lamenting leaving our lives in MN.
We have moved 3 times for my job, this move was at our request so it’s a little different but a move and transition none the less. If you have ever relocated before, you know what this means. It means uprooting your entire life and having to break ground in a new place, often where you know very few people.
Relocating is hard. Not only are you getting used to a new city – which includes everything from navigating highways to the name of the local grocery chain- but you often are without community and support. I think the hardest part of being mobile in your job is that you are never certain how deep you can set your roots. You try to make friends and get involved, but what if they move you in a year? It’s not as appealing to dive deep into a community, church, or friendship if you don’t know how long you will be around. This works in reverse as well. When you are the transplant other people don’t know what to make of you and probably don’t think about inviting you in because they realize you will move on at some point in time.
This phenomenon can lead to a lonely existence. It’s easy to stay home, not get involved, binge watch Netflix on the weekend and just wait until the phone rings for the next relocation. But this is no way to live. And it’s not what God intended for us, “I came that they may have life, and have it to the full” John 10:10. But this begs the question – what should you do? Here are three things that we attempted [with varying degrees of success] to get connected along the way.
I think this is the best way to meet people. If you volunteer with an organization you are passionate about, you will meet other people that are also passionate about that thing. Instant friends! It also gives a sense of purpose outside of the 8 to 5 grind, this is essential for me to feel like I exist for more than just clicking and typing all day long.
2. Force people to hang out with you
Okay, that sounds aggressive but you kind of have to be when you are making new friends. Often, we would say “oh we should get together” or “yeah let’s do that sometime.” And then nothing would happen. I have observed that when you are the newcomer, other people don’t realize you don’t have anything better to do with your time than hang out with them. They already have their lives in place, they have friends, family, commitments and don’t realize that you literally are available every evening of every week, oh and every weekend too. So instead I suggest pulling out your phone and saying “what days work for you next week?” Then actually put it on the calendar. This was you are both forced to at least acknowledge you have plans and reach out to the other person if for some reason you have to cancel. Don’t sweat it if people seem uncomfortable with this approach. I have found that majority of people really appreciate that you are genuinely trying to make plans happen, so go for it!
3. Explore on your own
I have always been surprised about what I have discovered by just walking around. I always ask people in my office what I should go do, but often I enjoy researching and trying things out on my own. (Sometimes Bryan likes coming with me, other times he is okay just not). We love trying new restaurants and that is a great way to explore the city! I found some of my favorite spots in Minneapolis because I just happened across them. We also found that making a list of things and places we wanted to go helped us actually get there. It’s very easy to just lounge around for most of Saturday and then never do anything because you got sacked into a TV marathon.
So, those are my tips if you are moving to a new place. If you have moved before, what worked for you to get plugged in?
One other point, if you are the person who already lives in said location and you know of someone new in town, do them a favor and invite them to go do something! Sure, it might be awkward at first, but it’s so awesome to have ANYONE invite you into their lives when you are new in town. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just invite them to do something you already do – go to a farmers market or go for a bike ride, hit up a happy hour or take them to your favorite coffee house. Seriously anything you do, even if it’s just an offer, makes others feel so welcomed and invited.