Moving can be a very stressful time for any family, especially if it’s to an unfamiliar area where you don’t know anyone. It’s easy to feel lost and alone when you move, even when moving with family members. Every day all you see is strangers who already seem to be part of lifelong friendships, and you feel like there’s no place for you in the established community. Children find it somewhat easier to make friends in strange places, but sometimes even they can feel like some kind of a freak. All this can cause severe homesickness for the old and comfortable life you used to have. In order to make the transition to a new place a little easier, there are a few tips that will help you find new friends.
The easiest way to start meeting people is by knocking on your neighbors’ doors. Don’t sit around and fret that they don’t make the first move by showing up at your door with plates of homemade cookies. That just doesn’t happen very often any more. Instead, make the first move. Even if you feel a bit shy, chances are they feel that way, too. You don’t have to make long visits. Just enough to introduce yourself as their new neighbor and find out who they are. Often they will end up telling you more about the schools, the neighborhood, the children that live nearby, their church, or community events. Everything you learn will make you feel more at home.
Don’t forget networking, either. Talking to neighbors or people at work about your interests may help you find a niche in the community that you hadn’t anticipated. They may be able to hook you up with others who share your interests and activities. Also, if they invite you to church or to go with them to organization meetings, take them up on their invitation if it’s something you’re interested in doing. Churches are exceptionally good places to meet other people, to get your children involved in youth groups where they’ll make friends, and to get involved. Tuck the name of everyone you meet carefully into your mind so that you’ll begin to hear others talk about people you’re at least familiar with.
Be sure to invite people into your home. It doesn’t have to look perfect, and the food doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it’s a great way to get to know people better. Even though your children will meet new friends at school, it’s still great if you allow them to bring friends home to spend social time with. Play dates are always a good idea. You have lots of tools at your disposal for making new friends after moving, but you have to make the effort to use them.