When you first move to a city, one of the first things you’re likely to do is become acquainted with the place that’s going to become your new home. It not only helps you gather your bearings but you can start to find some areas that you would like to visit again.
How does getting acquainted to your city help with making new friends? It’s actually a great way to meet people. You’ll be more open-minded and you’ll be exploring lots of different areas and neighborhoods meaning you’ll be meeting many shop owners and locals who would be happy to share tips about their city with you.
When I first moved to the Metro Detroit area, one of the first things that I did was go to Eastern Market on a Saturday Morning. Eastern Market is this huge farmer’s market that is spread out among various sheds full of vendor after vendor selling delicious locally grown produce that often comes directly from their farm. There are so many options there and people flock from all over the metro area to shop.
With so many people you’re going to naturally find someone who catches your eye. No, not in a creepy way but in a curiosity way like “Hmm, their style seems fun, I wonder if they can recommend some shops around here”. Or, “hey I’ve heard of that band and they’re wearing their t-shirt, maybe they connect me to a good record store!”
I actually saw a guy that was wearing a t-shirt for an underground electronic music community, that hosts regular events for local & more widely known DJs. So I went up to him and said “Hey, I really like your shirt. Can you tell me what that name means? I just moved here so I’m trying to get connected.” He gave me the deets, told me I should check it out sometime and said welcome to the city.
Now while that encounter didn’t go any further than that, he was still super-friendly and helpful and made me feel welcome. If you put yourself out on a limb and just share a little bit, most people who are receptive and open will be more than happy to share a tip or give a recommendation and help you get a feel of your new city.
So how can we put this into some practical steps? My challenge to you this week is:
1. Go to a shop or cafe that you’ve been eyeing but haven’t yet made it across the doorstep.
2. Finally Walk in 😉
3. Introduce yourself to someone inside.
It doesn’t have to be a long conversation and shop owners are some of the best because they want to share their business with you. Pick up a conversation with them, ask what are some places that a newbie such as yourself should check out and go from there.
Start small. Next we’ll continue to explore other ways you can meet people and start friendships when new to a city. Talk soon!