Moving to a new city is exhilarating—sights to see, restaurants to discover, people to meet. Except you can’t just Yelp “best places to find friends” or stumble upon them like a great dim sum spot. As anyone who has moved knows, making friends in a town where you know no one is actually hard AF.
“In a new city, it’s easy to have the sense that everyone else is a part of something, that they already have their friends and social life,” says clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., professor at Georgetown University and author of The Friendship Fix. “Feeling like an outsider can paralyze you and keep you from socializing.”
Not to mention it’s hard logistically: You don’t have your regular coffee shop or weekly workouts where you can strike up conversation with familiar faces. To top it off, between hooking up your cable, forwarding your mail, and finding the grocery store, you have a ton of things to worry about other than your social life.
“Friendships aren’t just a luxury, though—they’re extremely important to our health,” Bonior says. If you’re feeling lonely or isolated—which is easy to do after moving to a new place—you need to prioritize making friends, she adds.
While you may not meet your bestie within the first week, here are a few good ways to start filling up your friend quota.