Moving is hard work! There is a heap of planning, sorting, packing, physical activity and all sorts of stress surrounding the logistics and practical aspects of moving. What is often overlooked while all the busyness is going on is the emotional toll that moving takes on you. There is always an aspect of leaving behind the familiar and comfortable. Even if the move is desired and gets you to a better place there is still at least a few things left behind that leave a void in your soul.

You might leave behind childhood haunts, friends, family and those people and places you cherish and love.

Western society is far more mobile than it used to be. There are tremendous advantages to this of course but one of the biggest sacrifices we see as a result is subtle, easily forgotten in this fast paced world. That big sacrifice is community.

Almost everyone has at least some sense of community. Some feel it more acutely than others but at some level moving from somewhere where you felt a part of the landscape and culture to new surroundings will leave you with a lot of emotional disconnect from your surroundings.

This article is all about how to get through that transition and build a new set of relationships in a new place. it is about being proactive and intentionally going into the move with a plan for reintegrating and becoming part of a new community. And that, for may people, is very important because often it is only after the dust settles and the sadness, loneliness and isolation sets in that you begin to notice something is missing - let alone put your finger on exactly what it is that is missing.

So hopefully for some this article will provide some tips and techniques to pre-empt any issues before you make a move, to others perhaps it will help you figure out a way forward if you are in a tough spot.

My own personal Experience

Our current culture is one that is diverse and international. Never before have people moved around like we do today. Generally we are a transient culture and one that is dislocated from family.

As I looked up statistics to solidify this belief, I found a few examples:

A disconnect with our community often happens whether we have lived in a community for years or are brand new.

This does not have to be the case though! Relationships bring value to our lives and are vital to our daily well-being.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” C.S. Lewis

February of 2012

I sat at the kitchen table in our temporary house, eating dinner with my husband and 2 young girls. Tears streamed down my face. When I was able to answer the question of what was wrong, it boiled down to the fact that my girls would never know how I grew up.

How would they know what kind of school I went to or get to meet the people that I hold dear in my life? Would they ever walk on the beach that was near my house growing up? It takes about 26 hours to travel “home” for me, so how will they ever get a picture of that life?

It was in January of 2012 that we moved from New Jersey (on the east coast of the USA) to Christchurch (on the south island of New Zealand). I felt alone, overwhelmed with living in a new city (a new country, at that!). So many things needed to happen to simply live daily life.

We were staying in a short term, six-week rental house while looking for a place of our own. Things like getting furniture, finding a long term house, figuring out grocery shopping seemed overwhelming enough. Figuring out how to meet people and create a community of friends and support was a whole other level of anxiety.

Fast forward to October 2012, only 8 months later.

My days are now full of people and things to do. I have to think through a week so that I make sure we have enough time as a family and enough “down time” where we can relax. I get together with other mums at least 2 times each week. We hosted seven other families at our house for a holiday and we plan to go to someone else’s house for Christmas. We do weekly date night swaps with friends.

Sure, we miss friends and family, but our relationships are full and we have an amazing community of people around us. Life is full of joy. In less than eight months, my life has made a significant turn.

And You?

Wherever you are within this journey of moving somewhere new or coming into a new season of your life (becoming a first time mother can also bring a season of loneliness and feeling overwhelmed!), you can come out the other end with people who love you and people who you love to be around. And, it does not have to take years to feel that way!

I am going to take you through the process of what I did to make the transition more bearable. In the process it actually became a wonderful adventure.

Welcome to the beautiful journey of creating intentional relationships in your life, specifically when starting somewhere new! It’s a good adventure to be on!

Hi, I'm new. How will I meet anyone?

As I mentioned earlier, moving to a new town/city/country is completely normal these days. I think we tend to fear that we are the only new person and everyone is happily settled in their clique.

From my experiences moving (and this is not my first move), I have found this to be untrue. Often times, when you first arrive, you feel that you are the only new person. Relationships seem hard to move in to and groups of people prove to be even more difficult.

When we first arrived in Christchurch, all we (and others) were hearing was that everyone was leaving the city. What a time to come! The word in the newspapers and on television was that, since the earthquakes (the big ones taking place in 2010 and 2011), there was a mass exodus.

And there was truth to this. However, I found that even in such a climate there are more new people than you would originally think. Being new yourself, you tend to find each other!

I have also started to recognize that there is an element of natural gravitation to certain people. So even though I will focus on developing intentional relationships, I realize that after being intentional in building friendships, some click and some don’t.

This applies to the people you engage with that are already in relationship with plenty of other people. I used to think that people who already had a group of friends felt there were enough people in their lives and they would not add in another person. However, I have found that when a relationship clicks, there is always room for another friend. You are that friend!

By journeying this process of intentionally pursuing relationships you will find:

  1. Others who are new in your city and
  2. Those who you naturally click with, whether they are new or not.

In the end you will discover joy in the process and the outcome will be wonderful friendships.

I am moving soon. Is there anything I can do before I move?

The details of moving can be daunting. When we moved from the United States to New Zealand there were so many details to think through. I had to get a specific visa and then work a process upon arrival to guarantee that I could stay in the country. My husband and our daughters, however, are all dual citizens of Australia (where my husband is from) and the USA. They could easily enter New Zealand, but had to work out the finishing processes for citizenship and passports for both Australia and the United States.

Then we sold almost everything we owned, got rid of all the “extras” and packed a small shipping container of things we could not part with. Besides that, my husband and I were both still working our regular jobs up until we left!

Aspects of moving can be overwhelming at times. You may feel that you don’t have a single minute of extra time. I understand.

Looking back, one of the most invaluable things I did before moving was to do a bit of research. Not only did I research houses or jobs or where to buy furniture, but I researched people. I am so grateful I did this.

As a mum, blogs can be your best friend when moving to a new city. Blogs give a real life perspective to where you’re heading. Don’t get me wrong, government websites or “settling-in” sites definitely have their place. But for a mum of young kids, you want a picture of what life will actually look like.

Blogs are invaluable. Just a simple Google search of {your new city name} and {mum/mom blog} will start you on a rabbit trail of finds. To be honest, I started my search because my sister passed on a Christchurch blog from something she had seen on Pinterest. This may be true for you as well. When friends and family find out that you are moving, they will pass info along as they find it. Use this and then keep going! One thing I absolutely love about mum bloggers is that, for the most part (making a generalization here!), they are nice!

After some initial research, I found a blogger who was hosting a get-together in the city we were moving to. Perfect! I had missed the date, but I contacted her anyway.

Bloggers will often offer contact information on their site. At the very least, you can comment on a post with your email information, but at best they will have their email address or Facebook info.

Do not be afraid to make contact! The bloggers I know, myself included, love being contacted! It is an encouragement to them as a blogger. Do a good bit of blog research and find someone that you feel you naturally relate to. Then, don’t be shy, send an email! In my email I introduced myself and asked a series of questions. It was not long because, truly, I did not expect an answer. However, I did get a reply! Her thoughts on neighborhoods and schools and what it is like to live in Christchurch were invaluable. I found out if she liked living there (which she did!) and I had someone to contact upon arrival for a meet up and coffee. Perfect!

Keep in mind that you may need to make a number of contacts before you get a response. Do not give up! The person who responds back will be worth the effort of tracking them down. Believe me!

I went from moving to a place where I did not know anyone that was a mum of young kids to knowing one person. And, one person is a great start. Truly! I’ll talk more about this later.

Make sure you apply the above information to any “lead” that you have been given. Maybe you sort of know one person living in your future city. Maybe there is a friend of a friend, who you have never met, but your friend could do an email introduction. Maybe you have heard of someone who is also moving there. Whatever the case, use the above information and make contact! It will be well worth it.

What can I do when I first arrive to my new city?

So the day is finally here! You have arrived in your new city. How are you feeling? Anxious? Nervous? A bit of excitement at this new adventure you’re partaking in?

Possibly there is a burst of adrenaline that gets you through those first days. But then, one day soon, you realize… here you are. What now? The world is overwhelming and your usual support systems are now a phone call away. Obviously, meeting people alone is harder than meeting them with others who know and love you. You lose a bit of your confidence.

But, you can do this! It is overwhelming, but there are great people to meet and a city to explore. If you allow it to be, this could be fun! Yes, fun!

I cannot emphasize enough how overwhelmed I felt when we first arrived. The task at hand of setting up home, starting from scratch in every sense of the word, felt completely daunting. Also the very reason why we moved, my husband’s job, was dependent on building relationships.

Where do you start?

We had to buy furniture and find a house within 6 weeks of arriving. We arrived in Christchurch to a short term apartment, no furniture, and few household items to our name.

Talk with Everyone

One thing I did was to talk to almost anyone who was open to talking with me. As hard as it can be initially, once you start, you find that it is worth the effort.

Days after arrival, I was sitting at a McDonalds that had an indoor play land. My husband had gone into a shop across the way to buy a newspaper to start our house search. There was a woman semi close to me who was causally sitting while her children played.

I heard an accent when she talked with her kids. I smiled and said hello. I mentioned that we had just moved to Christchurch. She, too, could hear my accent. Even though she was from Europe and had been in New Zealand for 8 years, there was an affiliation for knowing what it’s like to move to a new place.

I was able to ask her what part of town she lived in and if she liked it. I asked if she had any thoughts about parts of town that were nice. I asked her about living in Christchurch in general. It was a short conversation, but it was nice to get her thoughts. It gave me hope.

I have had conversations like that a number of times – with those who have lived here all their lives, those who are quite settled after moving years ago and those who are semi new. Each time, I gain a bit more info and find it helpful in finding my way in this new city.

There was a coffee shop that was pretty close to our short-term rental. In those first few weeks we would pick up a coffee and explore on Saturdays. The same girl was working the counter when we went in each time. We told her that we were new in town. We asked her what she thought of living in Christchurch. Each time we left with our coffee, we also left with a list of two or three places that she suggested we check out.

Connect with Previous Contact

A week after our arrival, I contacted the blogger who I’d written earlier. I straight out asked if we could get together with the kids. She said yes and invited some others!

Be bold, but humble in your approach. For me, I desperately wanted to meet people so I wanted to get together as soon as possible. Remember, though, that this person is being generous by giving you their time and connections. Thank them for their willingness to (hopefully!) meet up with you. It is a gift! It makes sense to meet in a public location, for a variety of reasons.

However, also be vulnerable with them. Let them know that you are new to the city, feeling a bit overwhelmed and hopeful that you can make friends. Ask to get together. You could even ask if they do a regular mum meet up and if you could join or if they would be willing to invite some other friends to your coffee date.

We met at a local library that had a café. The kids were able to play and mums could talk.

To be honest, I did not go away from that first encounter in awe of the experience. I’d originally gone to the wrong library, did not yet have my own cell phone and could not contact anyone to let them know. By the time I arrived, some of the mums were already needing to leave. It was a bit crazy within the atmosphere of trying to keep kids entertained while talking to mums.

However, I found that it is important not to negate a single experience in this journey. Out of that meet up, one of the mums gave me info for a local preschool. Initially I had not expected to put our four-year-old in anything before she would start school three months after our arrival.

Even when the mum gave me the info, I might not have seen it as significant. But, after I arrived home I began thinking about it. She’d given me the name of the preschool and told me to come on Friday when she would be there. We went and that was our next step to getting into the community.

Keep going! You never know where a small step will take you.

This step in the journey opened us to a community of people. In truth, from the short (eight-week) experience at preschool, we came out with just one person who became a good friend (besides the friend who referred us there).

Again, do not overlook a single experience or person. In time, that one friend from preschool led to other relationships. After months of getting to know each other we started regular date-night swaps (i.e. free babysitting) with their family.

All the while, we had been house hunting, gathering furniture, and exploring the city. It was a very nerve-racking time! We were making big decisions of what neighborhood we would live in and where our oldest daughter would attend school.

We are in a settled location. How do I get to know my neighbors?

After six weeks of looking for a house, we found one that we felt pretty good about. We moved in and slowly began setting up home. So, where do you start in getting to know your neighbors?

I believe there was a time when you moved into a neighborhood and everyone would stop by, bring a meal or baked goods, welcome you, smile and let you know that if you needed them you could call any time.

In my experience, this is no longer the case. People may notice that a new person moved in, they may even have intentions of stopping by to say hello. But, in all likelihood, you can easily live on a street full of people and never meet anyone.

Going Around the Neighborhood

On the second Saturday after moving, we went around our neighborhood and knocked on doors. It was scary.

Put this on your schedule, plan to make it happen. Saturday came and we did not necessarily want to do it. Why? Because there is a very good chance of awkwardness. It is difficult, yes. But, is it worth it? Yes!

My husband, daughters and I slowly made our way around. Now, I understand your husband may not be willing to do this with you. Still do it even if it’s just you and your kids even if it’s just you and your three-month-old. I do think it’s nice to have your kids along. It makes you seem more approachable.

To give perspective, we went around to approximately 20 homes. I think we met 5 people that day, at most.

To those we did meet, we asked questions like:

  • How long have you lived here?
  • Do you enjoy living in this neighborhood?
  • What school do your kids go to?
  • Any good info to know about living here and what’s around?

Again, to give perspective, some stops were a total of three minutes. Probably three of the five encounters that actually occurred were completely awkward.

But it was worth it. We got through the awkwardness. After we had gone to 20 of the homes in our neighborhood (enough to feel that we’d made an effort) we headed home.

I can’t say that we felt amazing when we arrived home. I can’t even say that we felt encouraged. In fact, I think we felt half silly, but at least we felt like we had put forth our best effort.

Again, you may not see the value in going around to your neighbors, but in the weeks and months ahead you will see the fruit of this labor.

Taking it one step further

My next door neighbor and I got chatting later that day. I mentioned that we’d gone around to different houses. I mentioned that it was a bit hard because everyone had fences and we felt that we were invading. I told her that not many people were home.

By the end of our conversation I was going to invite everyone on our street over on a Sunday afternoon. Yes, that’s what we’d decided. Talk about being out of my comfort zone!

That week we created an invitation, dropped one in each letter box on our street and asked people to come. At our gathering, besides our family and our next door neighbors (who had guaranteed that they would come), we had one family and an older woman from across the street come.

Was it a bit funny getting the conversation going? Yes. Did we have to get over the fact that out of 40 houses, four households came (including ours!)? Yes.

Was it worth it? Wholeheartedly, yes!

It was worth it because of those who came that day. Since then, we have had play dates with the other family, my next door neighbor and I got to know each other in the planning of our neighborhood get together and we have been for tea multiple times to the woman across the road. Over the months I have received gardening advice, playground locations and borrowed soy sauce because of that initial meet up.

You want to know another reason why it was worth it? Because people received the invitations, everyone on our street found out our names and phone number. They know that there is a new family on the street and that we want to get to know people. When I have seen people while walking down the street, we say hello more readily. They wonder and ask if we are the new family that moved in. I believe they have felt more at ease to introduce themselves because we took the first step.

Between the invites going into mailboxes and the actual gathering at our house, I had a couple of neighbors stop in to say hello and let me know that they would not be able to make it. One lady brought me peaches from her garden. I had a couple of people pop notes into our mailbox to welcome us and give us their names and phone number.

Yes, it was worth it!

This is the one example that I will share where I believe it is worthwhile to plan and invite people to something you have set up.

For the most part, I believe it is important to engage with things that are already happening in your community. When it comes to your neighborhood, though, most likely you will not meet people unless you organize something and put yourself out there. This is a one-time event, not an ongoing experience (although if it turns into something regular, that would be great, too!).

In the following chapters we will look at engaging with what’s already happening in your community. I believe it is critical to do both – set something up and invite people within your neighborhood, and get involved in things already happening within the community. Both are needed and vital in getting to know other people quickly.

How do I get to know our new community?

Believe it or not, there are a variety of ways to get to know your community! As you follow up on the connections you have made already, you have a great starting point. Having a “panel” of people to ask questions is invaluable!

Some of the things we did

Obtaining info from people we met:

  • I emailed a few of the people I’d met and asked about doctor’s offices, dentist locations and what grocery stores they went to for the best prices.
  • When trying to decide about which school for our daughter to attend, I asked anyone who might know what they thought about the schools in our area. When both schools in our area ended up being good choices, I went to the playgrounds of those schools right as the school day was ending.

My daughter played on the playground and I chatted with a mum or two. I asked what they thought about the school and asked for any insight into the decision. In the end, we went with where we felt we fit best. But asking others and hanging out for a bit at the schools really helped.

Online help

  • I’m realizing more and more how many online communities there are out there! Even with all the searching I did, I only hit the tip of the iceberg!
  • I have found that there are mum’s groups for our area on Facebook as well as other pages for our local area with a variety of information on living here.
  • Researching, in the end, was an essential part of the process in moving to our current city. I found all the amazing things happening where we live and could decide about what I wanted to be involved in. I didn’t have to feel stuck doing things I don’t even enjoy when meeting people. Research things that you like to do. Chances are you will enjoy the people within that event/place if it’s something you authentically enjoy doing anyway!

Upon our arrival in Christchurch, a good amount of research gave me places to explore in the city, like community gardens, places to go with our kids, and other cool things to do in the city. I took my research seriously, because it meant connecting in a way that would make the city… our city.

One day I started thinking that there are certainly others who are new to Christchurch and would also like info on what’s happening here. I began a venture of sharing the information I’d gathered by creating a website. I created a space to share children’s activities, events, local happenings and helpful advice for finding necessities (like doctors, schools and playgrounds). So many cool things have happened with that! I get to hear about awesome things happening in our community including regular playgroups or upcoming events, as well as new places to explore or businesses to try.

As a result of my website, and connecting with others through Facebook and twitter, I was also asked to administrate an existing group of over 450 mums in Christchurch. The site has definitely helped me to get more connected with people in our city!

Now I have also used that site to schedule a couple of meet ups for mums. Every so often I get a comment on the Facebook page or in the group… a new person sharing that they are starting from scratch in our town. They are looking for someone to connect with! I have a friend that will regularly go on the ChCh Mum’s Facebook page and post a question about a mechanic, a bulk foods or whole foods store, where to get a haircut, etc. Most often someone will comment with helpful advice or information. It’s worth asking. There may be sites out there that are similar to these in your city. Search Facebook or twitter.  

Meeting people while out and about - The Basics

Once you are looking for people to meet, you find that it can be easier than you would imagine. Once you have stepped out a couple times, asked a question, said hello, you will find it gets easier and easier.

An example from taking a walk

Every day on our way to and from school we pass a river. Sometimes my girls want to stop and watch the ducks. One day we stopped and there was a mum and her two kids. She seemed nice; we exchanged smiles and hellos.

I asked her a question. Had lived in Christchurch for some time? During our brief chat, I mentioned that we were fairly new to town. By the end, we had found out that we lived fairly close to each other, exchanged numbers and planned to get together some time that week.

It can be as simple as that.

An example of being new together

We go to church. One week, soon after arriving to our new city, we went to a church. I signed my children in to the kids program and was asked to fill out a “new person” information card. I noticed that there was another mum filling out the same card.

At the end of the service, we both went back to pick up our kids. I asked if she was new and she said that she was. We got talking about the similarities of how we are feeling in a new country, even though she had lived here before. There was a bit of a connection and we got together the following week.

From that first, slightly random conversation, she and I have become really close friends. I certainly did not know where that one conversation would lead, but it has led to countless other conversations over dinner, coffee, play dates, etc. It’s been a wonderful friendship.

On the first example, the mum and I got together one afternoon. We had a nice visit, but, to be honest, I haven’t seen her since. Sometimes those conversations don’t end up leading anywhere, but I still believe it is worth pursuing people. You don’t know what the end result will be!

How do I start a conversation with someone whom I have never met?

For starters, I think in the rush of life we often forget how nice a simple smile can be. Just to practice, the next time you are out for a walk, smile and say hello to the person walking the opposite way. Or the next time you pass someone in the grocery store, just make eye contact (while realizing that in some countries this is not appropriate) and smile. This will build your confidence and soon it will be second nature to start up conversations.

When creating the opportunity to talk with someone it is best to do it at a place that is relaxed… a park or playground for example. A café may be another good option if you are trying to connect with the person taking your order (if there is no line behind you of course).

When starting the conversation, ask simple questions. Mention you are new to the area. Make it really casual, easy conversation. People are usually happy to be helpful. It’s easy enough to say something like, “I’m fairly new to this area. Where is your favorite place to go when you have time?” or “Do you know where I could find a good playground for my kids?” or “Is there a good Thai restaurant around here?”

Start with an acknowledgement (as easy as eye contact), a smile and “hello”. Really, it’s as simple as that. From there you will get an idea of whether they are open to having a quick chat. Your goal is not to find a best friend in this one conversation. Your goal is to meet someone new and see if it goes anywhere.

How do I get over the thought of people thinking I am strange?

If smiling at people on the street, at parks and at a café seems strange to you, then yes, you will perceive that others also think this is strange.

Think, however, how you feel when someone smiles at you or says hello. I always find it a nice surprise and go on my way more upbeat. At the very least, you will possibly help another person be in a better mood. At best, you may find a new friend or at least have the opportunity to do so.

When you have tried it a few times, it will seem less and less “weird” each time. The more comfortable you are with making natural conversation, the easier it will seem to the other person.

Sometimes, you will leave the experience thinking, “That was completely awkward!” and that’s fine. Just think, if you never give it a shot it will take a lot longer to get to know people. The truth is, you will most likely never see that person again! Who cares if it seemed a bit strange in the moment. You can both have a good laugh about it later. Better yet, if you do take the risk of “embarrassment”, say hello and start the conversation, you could end up in an awesome relationship. It is worth the risk, believe me!

When first meeting someone I think one thing that is underestimated when meeting someone is our ability to focus on and listen to them. We often are so self conscious that we struggle to think about anything but what we will say next or how we are coming across.

David Oxberg says, “Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.” Granted, we are not talking about that intimate of a conversation (though it could turn to that), but I believe the truth of the quote still stands.

Here are some questions that I frequently use when talking with someone for the first time:

  • How long have you lived in {Christchurch}?
    • (If they were not born here I ask) What brought you to {Christchurch}?
    • If they moved at some point, they may have a great perspective on “being new”. Ask them how they got to know people or what advice they may have for you.
  • Do you enjoy living here?
  • What is your favorite part of the city?
  • Ask a question about something that would be helpful to you – about school or grocery shopping or the best gym in town. Share something that you are struggling with as a newer person to the city and see if they have any suggestions.
  • (If my kids are with me and the other person has children) How old is your little one?

These are a starting point. If there is a connection, the conversation will start to flow naturally from one or more of these questions. Hopefully they will ask you a few questions in return and you can go from there.

However, there are plenty of times when there is not a connection and the conversation seems to be lacking. That’s fine. When appropriate, shut down the conversation, say thanks and move on.

As important as listening is, there are times when you have to talk about yourself. I have a close friend who is easy to be around now, but early in our relationship there was often a lack in conversation.

At one point I realized that she may not ask me questions, but wanted me to offer information about what was happening in my life. I think it’s good to have some thoughts in mind.

One suggestion is to think through something that has recently happened in your life. This can either peak interest for the other person so that they’ll chime in with some comments or they won’t be interested and you can leave it.

Following up with people you have met

I found that it was helpful for me to see these new relationships as a dating relationship. It may sound weird, I know, but it helped to put my mind at ease. I did not have to think that when I invited someone to dinner, this had to be a lifelong relationship. It might work out, but it may not work out. Either is okay! We’re simply giving it a try, just as you would a dating relationship.

If someone has given you their number, give them a call! Meet up for coffee or invite their family over for dinner. If they are not new to the area, they probably have plenty of people in their lives. Do not expect a phone call from them. It does not mean that they don’t want to get together, but they just probably are not in need of getting together and it’s not on their mind. Take the initiative.

Think back to your dating years and treat these possible friendships in the same way. Give it two to three times of getting together and see where it goes.

Do you enjoy your time together?

Is the conversation fun and natural?

Do you seem to connect easily?

If yes, then enjoy! If no, then stop pursuing the relationship. It’s okay. We won’t click with everyone.

I would also add, if after four or five times of getting together, you’re the only one pursuing the relationship and this is concerning for you, take a break. Don’t pursue for a bit and see if the other person reciprocates the invitations. If not, it may just be a one way thing. Think through whether you are happy with that or if you should put your efforts elsewhere.

Also remember that one person alone will not be able to meet all your relational desires. Be intentional with a few different people and see where it takes you!

Do not become discouraged! Meeting people can happen quickly, but deep meaningful relationships will take longer. You are on your way!  

Final thoughts - Where to from here?

I’ll say it again – you are on your way to great intentional relationships! Delve in to the steps before you, engage with the process, and you will find great joy within the end result (and possibly the process too!).

I’ve written out the steps I took in those first months. Go step by step through the information below and you will be on your way.

Some of you are curious about the online community/place for events. Check out - there you will find more ideas of what to research for your own city. Wondering about starting an online community of your own?

A few reminders to end with

“Success in life comes from knowing what it is you want and then committing yourself to it completely.” - Giles Kavanagh

“And so, once again it seems to come down to a personal decision. If you decide what you want (instead of letting someone else decide for you) perhaps you could choose the things that would actually bring you and your loved ones the satisfaction you can live with.” - Seth Godin

If meaningful relationships are something that you want, then commit yourself to making it happen. Don’t let this move defeat you. Choose to embrace the change and the beauty that it can bring to your life. It will be worth it.  

Step by step

  1. Know you are not alone! Our world is transient. You can love where you move, build intentional relationships and have awesome friendships!
  2. Research before you move (or after, if you’re already there). Google search {the city} {mum blogs}. See what comes up! Look through many to find someone with whom you seem to relate.
  3. Email that person! Introduce yourself and ask them general questions. Create a long distance, casual relationship.
  4. Upon arrival (unless you are reading this after the move), take a deep breath. It will be okay! Months from now you will look back and smile at how you feel right now. True.
  5. Ask people questions when you are out and about. Let people know that you are new to town, you’re wondering about what areas they like best and if they have favorite places that you should check out.
  6. Email, again, that person (or the people) that you made contact with before arrival. Be bold, but humble in your approach. Ask if she is willing to get together with you. Ask her to invite others. Be flexible on the date and time. Work around her schedule. Meet at a public location that is good for kids as well.
  7. Take whatever steps come from that gathering.
  8. Get to know your neighborhood
    1. Go around and knock on doors
    2. Invite people to a gathering you host at your house – keep it simple!
    3. Follow up with those who respond to you – either by note, phone call or coming to the gathering at your home
    4. Want to go a step further? Make a map of your street and the houses. Make note of the names, their kids’ names and phone numbers of those you have met.
  9. Make a list of three to four people that you can ask questions by meeting or over e-mail. If you have gone through the previous steps, this should be fairly easy. These don’t need to be close friends (or even friends at that!), just people with whom you have connected.
  10. Search Google and Facebook to see if there are online pages for your community.
  11. Start smiling at people when passing them. Say hello. Get familiar with a couple of questions you could ask someone when meeting them for the first time.
  12. Follow up with all these people you have been meeting! You will soon be on your way to narrowing down the relationships with whom you naturally click.

Society | Relationships | Self-Help

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