Crush Your New Town Anxiety and Make Friends

Relocation? Clashing emotions, please, do come in. Intricate processes and nuanced, subconscious subtleties are known to surface amidst the physical dislocation turmoil. Can we make any sense of it? What am I leaving behind? What awaits me? Is it worth it? Above all things, the experience of moving house invites perpetual uncertainty. What if I regret this? Am I making a mistake? We cannot help but dread the very cognition of leaving our safety net, our human blankets, friends, family members, and romantic partners. Familiar faces? The idiosyncratic bodega lady, that smirky elderly neighbor from the second floor with an immaculate jazz collection. You know, the little things. Familiar things. Whatever our dear, unrelenting memory, it’s probably time we move onward. Radical open-mindedness? Call it as you will. We are being summoned. How do you crush your new town anxiety and make friends? Let’s find out.

How to crush new town anxiety and make friends

Let’s be honest; from an adult perspective, making friends is more than unnerving – and adjusting to a new neighborhood only makes the experience that much harder. Anxiety becomes prevalent. “How do you even talk to new people?” Fact: we’ve become far too isolated and socially timid, especially since the pandemic’s wrath. We prefer virtual to physical bonding, as it involuntarily invites tangible, head-on insecurities. In short, we forget how to communicate and deem every spontaneous interaction (ego)costly and inappropriate. A blocked mindset? Perhaps. This much we know to be true: moving to a new town, city, state, or country implies some mental and emotional bending. Flexible 360. “Look at those curves.”

wooden tiles reading: "adapt or fail" on white background

Come, my tears

Digital nomad or not, moving to a new area is a huge adjustment, a colossal undertaking. Underneath that implausibly perfect smile of utter contentment lies restlessness, anxiety, and a resting fingertip of a similarly terrible emotion – depression. Despite our tranquil appearance, the psychological impact of moving house is simply inevitable and often devastating. It leaves you emotionally scared, and it can affect you mentally – if left unaddressed, that is. Grieving, no matter the avalanche trigger is a natural response to the initially abstract concept of permanent change. Human beings (and without exception) carry a resistance reflex regarding abrupt trajectory aberrations. What is the best course of action? Grief. Instead of clenching our fists and stretching our mouths to resemble a genuine smile, we should permit ourselves to acknowledge the loss. Tears and fears first. – Change hurts. And it’s okay.

I believe in magic

When you’re a kid, it’s easy; friendships form in a blink of a naive-lashed eye. “I like your braces.” – “Thanks. I love how your socks don’t match the rest of your outfit’s color palette. You’re strange.” And just like that, a friendship is born. Naive, blissful, almost unconditional. First loves. When you’re an adult, things don’t happen as organically, although we like to think so. We still believe in magic and happy coincidences. The painful, in-the-cold-light-of-morning illuminated truth is – we need to take the initiative. Friends don’t just fall into our laps. Not anymore. That isn’t kindergarten. Yes, there’s auto-disgust involved, as we’re forced to wave goodbye to the best bits, the accidental encounters—a fluke. As thriving professionals, our impulse to form friendships must be intentional and sometimes even a bit imposing. Premeditated.

man wearing a hoodie walking city streets depicts how to crush your new town anxiety and make friends

Yes to events

Introvert or extrovert; how do you effectively crush your new town anxiety and make friends? Community-based events are the place to be. Are you looking to find like-minded individuals? Attend local meet-ups and singles events. Communities offer a wide variety of get-togethers; ours is to choose one (preferably more) to our liking. And that’s a start. Experts from the moving database suggest: “Every town has an online calendar (events listing) where you can find something that could suit your cultural taste. Don’t hesitate. Go. Explore.” Common events include:

  • Art festivals
  • Concerts
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • BBQs
  • Block parties
  • Movie screenings
  • Tree planting
  • Cook-offs
  • Holiday festivals
  • Hiking
  • Cleanups
  • Sporting events

Yes, the experience can be nerve-racking; but remember, the sole reason behind neighborhood meet-ups and other cultural events is to stimulate people to connect, make potentially meaningful bonds, and gain a sense of belonging.

Hey, coworker

(insert name)

In today’s thriving world, relocation usually means one thing: a job offer. A new job (more often than not) equals a supreme opportunity for making new friends at work. After all, we spend 8+ hours every day breathing down each other’s necks, exchanging glances and sighs; we eat together, storm anxiety together, and share (although almost always involuntarily) intimate glimpses of anger, frustration, and other cloudy bits. We’re practically friends. We just don’t know it yet. The office is a springboard for bonding – before, during, and after work. Not sure if we like them? Are they friend material? Let’s practice flexibility; no preconceptions. Instead, spark potential bonds in the workplace by:

  • suggesting a nearby restaurant or bar for happy hour or lunch
  • engaging in small talk with coworkers during coffee breaks or company outings
  • saying yes to work events
  • choosing to eat our lunch in the break room instead of eating on our own
  • suggesting events to colleagues via communication channels
friends eating lunch together outdoors

Put yourself out there

It’s a blank slate. Use it to your advantage. Shame? Fear of rejection? Nobody’s watching—no one to judge us. Initiate. Ask questions. See someone you like? Ask for their phone number. “Hey, want to grab a coffee with me?” Can a “No.” kill a human being? It’s just a mere bruise on the ego. A friend of a friend? Ask for their contact. Social apps? Why not give it a go? Throw a housewarming party; invite everyone. Yes, all the people you don’t know. – But could get to know.

Final thoughts

Final advice; if you want to crush your new town anxiety and make friends, don’t try to reinvent yourself. Be authentic, and resist the urge to blend in at all costs. Rediscovering, however, is an entirely different narrative. Take this “tabula rasa” opportunity to explore all layers of your personality. If you want to learn more about maximizing your career potential, visit, the free go-to source for career exploration of the web.