Hatty shares her tips for making new friends in a new town
We all need friends – kids and adults alike!
One of the big surprises of moving to Swanage on the Isle of Purbeck (6 months ago) has been how quickly we have made friends and been accepted into our new community, even though we only knew a handful of people when we first arrived. When you move to a completely new area where you know very few people, life can be lonely at first but, with a bit of effort, it needn’t be that way. Here’s our tips on how to make new friends quickly:
Start close to home, invite the neighbours in for a drink
We moved in in November and once the bulk of the boxes had been unpacked (and we had chairs for people to sit on) we invited the neighbours in for Christmas drinks. We weren’t shy! We just knocked on doors or invited people when we met them in the street. We made new friends instantly but it was also a good way of finding out from our neighbours about local groups and clubs.
Joining local clubs
Making a conscious effort to join local clubs and groups has really helped us meet new people. Purbeck has so much to offer we’ve been spoilt for choice. David is doing a lot of singing (with a wide range of choirs) and, as previously mentioned I’ve joined the Town Band and have also played a couple of times with a local orchestra.
We could as easily have joined one of two amateur dramatics groups, a gardening group, a walking group, a knitting group…you name it, it probably happens in Purbeck and chances are there are lots of clubs where you live too.
Get involved in sport
Sport has been another great way to meet people. We were already members at the Sailing Club, but I’ve also joined a local running group. David has joined the Royal British Legion so he can play snooker again (the Legion giving him access to tables and people to play against) and there are football, sea rowing, badminton and bowls clubs that we could get involved with!
For us, making new friends has been invigorating because we’re doing activities we love, and finding a few new hobbies besides.
Worship at the local church
Since David is a church musician, we were always going to get involved with the local church, but this has also proved a good way to meet lovely, friendly people too.
If you know what you really enjoy, or the sorts of people you really want to meet, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of good old fashioned networking as a way to making friends in a new place. David rang all the choir directors of the local choirs to introduce himself and offer his services as a tenor. Tenors being so in demand he found himself being introduced to lots of new people!
It’s all about your attitude
It’s not just what you do, its how you do it. We’ve found that it really helps to be friendly and open to anything. Moving to a new place is a time for new experiences; if we’d been stuck in our ways, making new friends might have taken longer. We’ve taken up new activities (as well old favourites) to make new friends in a new town.
Our approach has been to be helpful and to fit in with what people are looking for, rather than being prescriptive about what we want. As a result people have been welcoming and seem keen to have us around. Indeed, by initially helping out on a voluntary basis, David landed his first paid musical job down here.
It’s been fun joining in and finding out how things are done in our new town and, when you’re having fun, making new friends is easy.