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How to make friends in a new city

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Just Life By Richard Bradley Rzendzian, PharmD, MBA

Recently, I accepted a job that moved me to Columbus, OH, a city I had never even visited before. I was worried about a whole slew of things, but the thing that concerned me the most was, “How am I going to make friends in a place where I know no one?”

For most of you, your method of finding friends hasn’t changed much since kindergarten—go to class and meet people who like the same things you like. However, once you graduate from pharmacy school, that classroom full of peers is no longer accessible. Instead, you must find a different way.

Stay positive
Regardless if you are an introvert, extrovert, or something in between, you need to be positive when faced with new social interactions. Not only will this make you a more appealing person, but it will also help to quell any concerns you may have about meeting new people.

Be a “yes-man” or “yes-woman”
When I first moved to Columbus, I said “yes” to everything. Each time I agreed to attend an event, I met new people. Remember that invitations are fleeting. If you reject an invite the first time, there is a slim chance you will get another in the future. So just say “yes!”

Get active
Exercise has been my number one way to meet people. Consistently going to a gym or attending a class are excellent ways to meet others. Also, recreational sports leagues are an awesome way to make new friends. Not to mention that there is really no downside, because even if you don’t make friends, you are still getting fit. It’s a win–win!  

Social media
Let followers on your social media accounts know that you are moving. A simple message: “Hey all! I am moving to Columbus and am looking for people to hang out with,” can result in a number of fruitful friendships.

Look online
There are a number of ways available online to meet people in your new city. Meetup.com is a site dedicated to bringing people together to do, explore, teach, and learn things that matter to you. I have personally used it to find a group of people in my area to play board games with. 

Taking classes and finding a new hobby is also a great way to meet people. CourseHorse.com is a place to find classes on virtually anything. As a 30-year-old going on 8, I found that cooking classes not only taught me a valuable life skill—how to cook using an oven—but also introduced me to a number of new faces.

Act professional
Toastmasters, young professional clubs, local pharmacist associations, and other professional development activities are an excellent way to meet others, grow your network, and gain skills that will benefit your career.

Lend a hand
The best way to become a part of a community is to work toward making it better. Find organizations that share the same passion you do and volunteer. Non-profit organizations are always looking for those willing to offer a helping hand. Reach out to them and offer your support.

Own a dog
I don’t have a dog myself, but I am slowly realizing how valuable a furry friend can be when looking for human friends. Not only does a dog provide you with companionship, but it also opens the door for all sorts of interactions with other dog owners.

There is no one way to make friends, but I think the most important thing is to be positive, get yourself out there, and be consistent. I am certain that if you stick to these simple rules, you will find friends in no time! 

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