Moving to a new city can be really intimidating — and being single in a new city can be especially tricky. When you don’t know anyone yet or haven’t found your routine, the idea of meeting new people can seem like a major step outside your comfort zone. But actually, it’s a great opportunity to get to know a new place.
“While it may be scary or even a little lonely if you are single and don’t know anyone, you can truly have the time of your life,” Karenna Alexander, matchmaker and dating coach, tells Bustle. But it’s important to be willing to put yourself out there.
Because in a way, going on a first date, talking to someone on a dating app, or even making a new friend, can be like having your own tour guide to a new city. And a first date or hangout with a new friend always has that awkward, getting-to-know-each-other feeling, so the fact that you don’t know your way around the city won’t matter. In fact, it can be a great talking point.
So being single has some definite advantages, if you are willing to embrace a whole city full of possibilities. Here are some expert tips to get you started being single in a new city.
1. Get Out There
It’s time to get out and about. “I would get out as much as you can — to meetups, and happy hours and bars,” Alexander says. If colleagues suggest work drinks, go along. If you saw an interesting open mic night, head on down. Just make sure you’re out there and engaging.
2. Start Exploring Before You Settle In
Take advantage of the time before you’ve established your routine — you may have more freedom right after you move.
“Don’t limit yourself! Get outside your comfort zone and explore!,” Lauren V.T. Irish, a Relationship and Life Coach at Maze of Love, tells Bustle. “… It’s incredibly easy to find something familiar and to fall into a routine where you end up sticking with what you know but you’ll end up missing out on a lot of experiences that you may wish you’d had when you aren’t single any longer. So if there’s a bar/museum/neighborhood you think you might want to check out, do it! You may not have another opportunity once you get settled in.”
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Go Out Alone
If you’re single and don’t have friends do go out with yet, you may feel weirdgoing out alone — and you might want to spend the whole night pretending to be texting. But actually, going out on your own (and not looking at your phone) is a great, effective way to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
“Don’t be afraid to go alone,” Alexander says. “In fact, it’s often easier to meet people that way. Plus, when you go out alone, you are forced to mingle and may meet new friends who can tell you where all the hot spots are.”
Don’t know where to start? “You can also make friends with a bartender at a local bar and can start getting to know people there, Alexander says.
But don’t overthink it. “A lot of women tell me they are afraid to go out alone,” Alexander says. “… I think that’s silly because people usually don’t care as much as we think they do — they are often more worried about themselves and what’s going on in their head. And even if they do think it’s odd that you are alone, who cares! You have a mission — to get out and about and be in the swim of things. There is nothing wrong with that!”
4. Build On Your Hobbies
There’s no point in forcing yourself to go out and do something you hate, so try to build on your existing hobbies to meet people. “Make a list of your top five hobbies and start asking around,” Jess Hopkins, millennial life and career coach, tells Bustle. “Love to read? Go to your local bookstore and inquire about open-enrollment books clubs.”
5. Shamelessly Borrow A Dog
Animals bring people together, so you can use that to your advantage. “If you have a dog (or know someone in the area that would be willing you loan you their dog for a bit) head on over to the dog park,” life coach Desiree Wiercyskitells Bustle. “Dogs serve as instant ice breakers, the joke that a dog is [the] best wingman is a trope for a reason.” Let’s be honest, they’re just too cute to ignore.
6. Build A Group Of Friends First
If jumping right into dating seems like too much, try to build a social group first and then you can meet people through it. “The best way to meet people in a new city is to source friends from people you already know. Tell friends and colleagues when you’re planning a move and then — most importantly — ask them if they know anyone in the area and if they can make an introduction,” Jaclyn Schiff, media consultant and digital nomad,” tells Bustle. “Getting connected with people who are already connected to your social circle is a great way to plug into the social fabric of a new place.”
7. Get Physical