READ ME: How to make friends in a new city
I moved from London to Dublin a little over a year ago now.
A lot of people seem in awe of this move but I don’t feel it’s been a big upheaval. Perhaps that sounds arrogant! But I haven’t once looked back or regretted it and more than anything I’ve managed to build a community around me of new friends, work and support.
However I realise for some moving to a new city is a daunting prospect. If you’re thinking about doing the same as me, here are a few things I’ve done to create a life full of friends and opportunity in my new home that you could try too:
Say yes to invites
If you’ve moved somewhere new you have to be open to trying new things, going new places and saying hello to new people. When I’ve seen events advertised or people say “why don’t you come along to this?” I use Mel Robbins’ 5 second rule (watch her Ted Talk here) and just say ‘yes’ without thinking for too long about it.
Your brain is hard-wired to keep you safe so it’s only natural it will be screaming “NO! Don’t do it! Just stay on the sofa and scroll through Instagram!” All of the yes’s are going to be out of your comfort zone but that’s the only way to break through and find your next favourite habit, drinking hole, brunch buddy or place to work out.
I have been willing to go to things on my own and I recommend it as a sure-fire way to get talking to others. Even if you’re not brave enough to approach someone, they will probably spot you’re on your own and come for a chat. Keep an open mind – you just never know where that person can take you.
Organise events yourself
I realise this won’t be for everyone, but if you want to meet your tribe then why not arrange a get-together?
I went big (of course you did Vicky!) and organised meet ups for the Health Bloggers Community, bringing brands and bloggers together. I’m now planning retreats at The Reset where I’m sure I’m going to meet loads of other inspiring women who attend, as well as coming into contact now with practitioners and workshop leaders who teach me so much.
But there’s equal value in a small and select brunch or coffee morning or post-work drink getting the right people in a room together. Or even just meet up with one other, it only takes two to start a conversation!
I’ve found people love someone to organise events for them. Most people are lazy to a point; they want to attend events, but they don’t want to plan them. With Doodle poll, an Instagram group DM and a quick booking at your favourite café you’ve got the makings of a great meet up. Be brave and message people on social media or grab their email address if they have a blog. Everyone loves an invitation!
Have you tried GirlCrew? I highly recommended if you want to meet likeminded people, give it a go. And I recently heard about Girl Tribe Gang who are all over the UK and are coming to Dublin soon, for women working for themselves and want to redefine the 9-5.
Be patient with work
Work has not come quickly since my move. Coming from London where the job market seems endless, Dublin is naturally smaller and there’s a community that has to be tapped into.
Building connections and trust with people and spreading the word about who you are and what you can offer takes time. Ireland is somewhere that’s very much based on who you know, and less what you know. For a book-worm-over-achiever that’s been a little hard to accept.
I’ve had to come to terms with not getting the perfect work (or income) I want straight away. But reassuring myself everything that comes along is all part of a bigger process, taking me to where I want to be, helps me feel I’m heading in the right direction.
You can learn more about my work and how I earn some of my money in this blog post.
A significant addition to my mindset this year has been introducing a gratitude practise. Feeling grateful for what I have now and being in the present, rather than worrying about the future has made me realise all the opportunities and positivity I have thanks to where I live.
I started off writing two or three things I was grateful for when I got into bed each night. But in the end it felt a bit like a chore. Don’t keep a daily gratitude journal if it doesn’t feel right for you, just because you think everyone else is doing it! But do find a way that works for you to remind yourself to be grateful on a regular basis.
After four months of keeping a gratitude diary I found the skill it had given me had stuck and spread into everyday life anyway.
When I meet up with a friend for brunch, get the chance to wander through a new market, stroll on the pier at Dun Laoghaire or see some beautiful spring blossom or even stunning snow as we had earlier this year a thought now pops into my head – “I’m so grateful for this.” I give myself just a few seconds to really take it all in, appreciate what I have, the opportunities and the joy I’m being offered.
The more you do it, the more you spot other things to be grateful for in life, from the tiny to the big and life-changing things.
When things aren’t going so well or I’m faced with situations I’m less than grateful for, I’m trying to employ the Jen Sincero thought process: “this is good because…”
I’ve found this amazingly refreshing instead of wallowing in self-pity or doubt when sh*t hits the fan. It’s hard to try and see the up-sides in a ‘negative’ situation but forcing myself each time to think “this is good because…” is helping rewire my brain for positivity.