New Neighbors: How to Become Part of Your New Community

Moving will never rank up there with the easiest things in life — especially if it means getting used to a new community. You likely miss your old neighborhood and friends, but hopefully, you are ready to jump into your new life. Here’s how to get started.

Start with Common Interests

Are you a softball player? Like to knit? What about reading? Or perhaps you’re interested in faith-based organizations. Whatever your jam, you’re likely to find it in your new community. The internet makes this search especially simple — just harness the power of Google (or your favorite alternative search engine) and start your research.

Inversely, try something totally new. If you can’t boil water, consider taking a cooking class for beginners. Never dunked a basketball? Think about joining a just-for-fun team. Sometimes common interests provide the glue between neighbors; other times it’s the novelty of learning something previously unknown.

Do Some Good

Volunteer opportunities exist in nearly every community. Love dogs? Consider volunteering at the local animal shelter. Want the company of kids? Think about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. The possibilities are nearly limitless.

Or if you can’t find a volunteer group that suits your needs, start your own. Not only will you be contributing to your new community, but you’ll have the satisfaction of being a trendsetter.

If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, visit your local library or hit up a site like Volunteer Match. You should be able to find what you’re seeking whether online or off.

Use Your Existing Network

Even if you don’t know anyone in your new area, perhaps one of your friends does. Ask for an introduction and then take the mutual friend out to coffee to get to know them and the area. Online networks are great for this as well, particularly Facebook, which can be sorted to show people in your local area.

If you have school-aged kids, this is another way to become part of your new community. Getting involved in your kids’ school fulfills many needs, including the desire to be part of a larger circle of friends.

Talk to Strangers

It can be awkward at first, but it can also work! Chat people up in cafes, grocery stores — wherever you might see a friendly face that seems willing to engage.

But don’t be pesky! If someone is wearing headphones or refusing to make eye contact, it’s probably a good sign that they don’t want to be bothered. Move on to someone who is more interested.

Getting involved in your new community may take a little while, but keep a positive attitude. It will happen!