Adjusting to a New City and Social Life

These days, we young professionals are highly mobile, and often find ourselves faced with the decision to move to a new city for work, education or for personal reasons. The workplace relocation and the academic pursuits are typical reasons, but we’ve also recently come across many young professionals who dream of running away to a new city when times are tough after a painful death, a broken heart or even out of boredom. Disgruntled with her dating luck in one city, we have witnessed countless females develop the notion that they must either “import (a man) or export (themselves)” if they are to ever be lucky in love again. We’ve witnessed more than one YP male leave town after a broken heart, with the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.

Whatever the reason for the move, adjusting to a new city may not be as easy (if it was even easy) as adapting to university. After all, many fellow YPs have settled into particular circles of friends and secured their presence through professional networks by certain ages and points in their career. Where a cultured and in-the-know YP may know every restaurant on every street and cool boutiques and hidden gems in their city or origin, they are usually forced to start all over again when they relocate. This can be a daunting prospect, to say the least.

Common YP Fears in Relocating
The biggest fears about moving to a new city include everything from leaving certain belongings and people behind to finding a new place to live that’s in an appropriate neighbourhood. YP peers have experienced anxiety with thoughts like: what if I hated it there? Will I look like a failure if I returned home? Will I eat dinner alone each night? We say, relax. The benefits to living in a new city, even temporarily, are plentiful.

Why we Recommend it
Removing yourself from certain situations allows for reflection, offering a new perspective on yourself and the world. It forces you out of your comfort zone and pushes you to be the person you want to be. After all, you have a fresh start and most likely a clean slate….though we do know how information can travel among networks of YPs even oceans apart. For the younger YP, moving to a new city away from family fosters independence and becoming more self-sufficient. Finally, moving to a new city allows you to meet people that you would have never met elsewhere.

Getting Settled
So, how do you meet friends? We speak from experience that it is difficult to go from a packed social schedule in one city to being lonely and virtually friendless in another. Unlike university, it’s not like we have the friendship facilitators of residence halls and a bunch of peers who are far from home themselves and eager to meet friends. The best thing to do before you leave is to survey your friends to see if they have any friends in your new city and arrange for a virtual introduction. Once you arrive, meet up with the mutual friend for a coffee or a drink. Once you make that one friend and go out with him or her, it will lead to making more friends within their networks, especially with the added aid of social media.

Even if you don’t have the luxury of a mutual friend, don’t worry. Research other young professional events in your city, predominantly ones that are designed for networking where you won’t feel awkward if you have to go alone. Take advantage of work outings and don’t turn down opportunities to take lunch with coworkers or head out for after-work drinks. Don’t be so narrow-minded in your choice of friends either – not all groups of friends are going to be exactly like your close-knit university or childhood friends. Other ways to meet people are through teams, classes and lessons and volunteering for a charitable cause.

Do your research about certain restaurants, theatre and events beforehand and when you arrive so that you have things to look forward to and get excited about in your new city.

Words of Wisdom…
– Expect and prepare for culture shock, don’t be surprised by it.

– Have an open mind to new experiences and people but remember your values and what is important to you. Participate in new activities and local traditions and events so that you may feel more at home.

– Become an expert on your new city, be a sponge and soak it all in.

– Stay in touch with your old life, but keep it a safe distance away. Sitting at home on the phone or computer with your friend or family night after night will prevent you from embracing all your new city has to offer.

– Try not to jump into a relationship right away just because you are lonely and crave the companionship. Instead, embrace the freedom offered of being in a new environment.

– Most of the time, a move to another city is not forever, so enjoy it and embrace it. Another key thing to remember is that nothing really changes all that much in your home city/ town from how you left it…