Moving to a new place, making friends, and fitting in can be overwhelming and scary and hard. But these seven ideas will hopefully help you integrate and acclimate quickly and happily!
Moving to a new place can be hard. Here’s my best advice.
I’ve had a lot of questions since we moved from California to Texas about how we got settled so quickly and found friends. Also many of you have asked for advice about moving somewhere new, and how to make it feel like home.
This is a really hard post to write, because everyone’s opinions and experiences are different. Sometimes moves are really hard, other times they’re a little easier.
Sometimes people are really friendly in your new place and it’s easy to connect and find friends. Sometimes it takes a long time and it’s really hard.
I don’t want to discount any of those experiences, especially the hard ones.
But I wanted to share a few things that have really helped me and my family get settled here in Texas, make it feel like home, and make friends.
These are seven things that helped me settle into a new state, make friends, and feel at home in Texas
ATTITUDE is everything.
I cannot emphasize this enough. A positive attitude made a world of difference. There are a lot of things in our lives that we cannot control, like a husband getting a new job out of state. Or a home build being a month late and forcing you to live in a hotel. Or any number of things.
What you can control is yourself, and your attitude.
I chose to be excited and happy about this move. We had a lot of bumps in the road from the moment we found out we were moving last November, until now in August. But I’ve been happy through all of it because I’ve chosen to be happy.
Am I happy all the time every second of the day? Of course not. Things are hard, and I complain, and I feel frustration. But overall I choose to be happy and look at the bright side, and it overflows into the rest of my life.
If you have a big move or big change coming up, remember this. A happy life is your choice. Check your attitude.
We lived in a rental house for five months, then a hotel for one month, and now in our newly built home for one month. Even though we knew the rental home was temporary, we unpacked boxes, hung pictures on the wall, and organized the space. Living in limbo messes with your head, so get settled, even if it’s short term.
I’m not saying to repaint the walls, but hanging some pictures on the wall takes one nail hole and that’s really easy to fill in when it’s time to move. It makes it feel like your home and that makes a big difference in your mentality.
Explore your new city
When you move to a new city or state, one of the best ways to make it feel like home is to get to know it. Try new restaurants and find a local place that can become your go-to. Visit the local farmers market, the library, the children’s museum, or a specific landmark.
Knowing about and having seen these places makes me feel like I belong.
Philip and I also make a point to try out new places or explore a new area of town during date night. It’s even more fun to get to know your new city with your significant other!
Find like-minded women
I’ve had tons of you ask how I was able to find friends so quickly here in Texas. The answer for me is church. In our church, our congregations are determined by location. So instead of choosing your own church, your congregation is based on your neighborhood and your city, and we just put in our address and we see our assigned congregation. You can see it RIGHT HERE.
The beauty of this is that you’ll have church members right in your neighborhood, going to the same school as your children, and frequenting the same grocery stores, parks, community pools, etc. Also, I have to mention that attending the same church, and sharing the same beliefs, makes it really easy to connect with each other. It doesn’t mean I connect with everyone, but it’s easier to find like minded women.
BUT! If you don’t attend church, how else do you find friends?
- Join a gym. If you love pilates or yoga or high fit, attend those classes and you’ll find women who love them too. If you love Crossfit, find a local crossfit gym and you’re guaranteed to quickly find “your people.”
- Facebook groups. In our little town (which is actually really tiny), we have a bunch of Facebook groups for various interests. Running groups, book clubs, tennis players, dinner groups, and more. It’s a great way to get to know people in the community quickly, and find women who share similar interests.
- Get involved at your children’s school. If you’re a PTA kind of mom, get in there and meet those other PTA moms. You’ll have instant friends.
- Join a sports league. Just google your area and the sport you’re interested in, and you’ll easily find information for local leagues.
- Take a class. Sign up for a cooking class, an art class, or whatever sounds interesting to you. That’s a great way to find other people with similar interests! Local rec centers often hold classes like this, and once you meet a few people you could plan meet ups or cooking nights outside of the rec center schedule.
- Attend events. It’s normal to feel like you don’t want to attend an event because you don’t know anyone. But this is how you meet people! If your church is holding an event during the week, GO. If your community center is hosting an event, get your buns there.
Don’t be afraid to make the first move
Once you meet people, then it’s time to actually kindle the friendship. Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Walk up and introduce yourself. Ask for their phone number once you’ve chatted for a bit.
I met a woman at church last week, and after talking for 10 minutes she mentioned she loves going to high fit classes. I told her I go sometimes, and I said “let’s exchange numbers and I’ll let you know when I’m going to a class.” Easy!
Invite someone over for dinner — everyone likes an invite, even if you’re the new person.
Set up a playdate for your kids. That’s a great way to buffer the friendship until you get to know each other a little better.
Don’t forget, it takes time!
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, everyone’s experiences are going to be different. Texas is exceptionally friendly, so finding friends and making connections came much more easily. In California, it took probably a year before I felt like I had a few good friends. When we moved the second time in California, it was a similar story.
Be patient, be proactive, and keep that positive attitude.
Stay connected with friends and family
Don’t forget, you have a support system of friends and family back home who are rooting for your success in a new place. Call them, text them, send a Marco Polo. Those first few months in a new place can be lonely, so make sure you rely on your loved ones to help you through.
BUT don’t let them be a crutch that keeps you from finding new friends and feeling happy! Use their support to help you feel happy through and beyond the transition.
I’d love to know your advice for moving, making friends, and feeling at home in a new place! Leave a comment here or over on my Instagram this morning!