Over the past year or so – with a change in work life and far more time at home – you may have found yourself craving life outside the big city or the commuter town, and with a far greater appreciation for wide open spaces and life besides the seaside.
You wouldn’t be alone. Data from Rightmove shows that searches by city dwellers interested in village properties rose by 126% after the first lockdown. Granted, not all of those searches led to a sale, but many people did make the leap into a different way of life. This is a big decision at the best of times, but with so many opportunities to naturally socialise and find points in a community still taking place online, it’s been harder to meet new people. If you’re thinking about a move, don’t let this put you off – there are lots of ways to get around this and meet new friends so you can truly feel at home in your new surroundings.
Who do you know already?
They could be a friend of a friend, a work colleague, or a family member, but it may be that you’re already connected to the place you’re moving to by an extended acquaintance you just haven’t met yet. Putting something up on social media could help you to find that person and get an introduction, while also highlighting a person in common for you to make friends with.
It’s ok to move on
Even if you’ve only lived in your current home for a short time, packing it up and moving across the country can still cause a tug, as you uproot yourself to go somewhere new. It’s natural for your home to become an extension or reflection of you, and in turn it’s natural for you to grieve the space as you head on – it doesn’t mean that going is the wrong decision.
Behave like a child
When it comes to making friends, things seem to come a lot easier to young children. They could know no one when they first arrive at an event or a playground, but by the end they’ve built a city with a group in the sandpit. It’s a bit different for adults, so get stuck in there. It’s unlikely that you’ll have people knocking on your door with a welcome basket to greet you to the area, so find out what’s going on locally and join in where you would like. If there’s an ongoing event you can join, that’s even better, because it gives you more opportunities to get to know people over time.
Embrace the blank slate
Creating a new life is an exciting opportunity to make new friends and a great way to do this, research shows, is to assume everyone likes you. This can make you more likeable and seem more confident and present. People have a tendency to put themselves on the back foot, so a positive mindset can make a huge difference. At the same, don’t let the idea of rejection hold you back from trying to get to know people. If things don’t work out straight away, it could be because the people you’re talking to have other things going on in their lives, rather than anything to do with you.
Avoid trying to reinvent yourself
While a new start can feel like a way to create a new you, steer clear of trying to be someone you’re not – it will be exhausting and unlikely to create the bonds you were hoping for.
Ask what’s going on
Most communities are quite welcoming, so if you ask on social media or even in the queue at the newsagents if there are any activities happening locally for you to get involved with, you might find that you’re offered a long list of ideas, recommendations and even invitations.
Go, and really be there
Once you’ve found out what’s happening, make just as much effort to get involved when you’re there. Your phone may seem like a comfort when unsure how to strike up a conversation, but you scrolling away can form a barrier between you and those around you – like a big “Do not disturb” sign. Remember why you’re there and take the opportunity to get to know people.
Be kind to yourself
Taking on a big move can be physically and mentally draining, so make sure that you’re still taking time for yourself as well as time to talk to the people who knew you before. This familiarity can be good for grounding you, giving you the best foundation to head off into the world and meet new people.
The people where you move to may not be like those where you’ve come from, which can be exciting and off-putting at the same time. Keep an open mind and know that even if you don’t meet your new best friend on a night out, just knowing and recognising the people around you – and them doing the same with you – can do wonders for your mental health and sense of belonging.
If you’re ready to create a home somewhere new and would like to ensure that transporting your belongings goes smoothly, we can help. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.