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4 Steps to Make Friends in a New City

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Moving just a few blocks or many miles can be difficult. But those moves that take us away from our comfort zone and existing social circles are always a bit more challenging -- and even a little scary. There are some steps you can take to make the process easier.

According to the 2012 U.S. Census report, 36.5 million Americans moved to a different house in the last year. That's 12% of the total population, and that's a lot of moving boxes. The majority of movers, according to the census, made a move of 50 miles.

Whether you are moving across town or all the way across the country, making a move can mean some fairly significant changes to your interaction with current friends. Your best buddy (and next-door neighbor) may have been your go-to girl for advice and fun times, but now, since she is 20 miles away (instead of the mere 20 steps), you don't get the spur-of-the-moment, casual interactions that you once so enjoyed. Moves of any distance can be difficult, but those that take us away from our comfort zone and existing social circles are always a bit more challenging, and even a little scary.

As part of the sign up process for the website I founded, SocialJane.com, women write profile summaries that explain who they are and what they are hoping to achieve by joining the site, which is geared toward helping women make new friends. A large number of these profiles start with the line... "I've just moved to... St. Louis, or Chicago, or San Francisco, or any city within the US. And although the destinations differ, the profiles always end with... "and I don't know a soul here."

If you too have recently relocated to a new town, don't fret. Believe me, your situation isn't unique and you aren't the only one finds herself in a population of several million, yet with nobody with whom you can leave a spare key. While it might be unsettling right now, rest assured that in time you will meet new folks and build connections in your new location.

The good new is that there are absolutely things you can do, and resources available to help make a move easier and more enjoyable.

1. Make Friends Online
Online friending is the new black (or new orange... I get confused). It is the quick, easy, convenient and smart way to connect with thousands of others who seek the same thing -- new friendships. Friendship websites typically work the same way that online dating sites work, except they are for forming platonic relationships and not romantic ones. Since we all know how successful online dating has been to the marriage industry (1 in 5!), it only makes sense that the same application works for the goal of making new friends. And work it does!

I, of course, recommend SocialJane.com for women seeking new friendships. Some gals say they feel a bit weird about sending notes to other women ("feels kinda like dating," they say), but this is only because the concept is still relatively new. Pretty soon, finding friends online will be the primary way that women connect.

I personally have met some amazing women via the site, all of whom I am proud to call "my friend."

2. Join an Organization:
All of us have hobbies and activities that interest us. For me, it is running, playing tennis and taking in a new Broadway show. With my last move, I didn't waste anytime joining the local theater group. With them, I started attending plays and musicals, and even my first opera. Even though I run a social networking site, the truth is that I definitely tend toward the shy side, so I honestly don't think I would have taken in a show on my own. With this new group of theater enthusiasts, I not only got to enjoy the productions, but did so along with dozens of others.

A quick search on the Internet will most likely uncover a slew of events and groups in your community. A quick search through the group will most likely uncover someone with whom you share mutual interests (heck, you already have one), and potentially a great new friend.

3. Sign-up for a Class:
Every city -- and I mean every city -- in the country has a continuing education department for adult students. And I've never failed to be impressed with the collection of classes that can range from religion to photography to the history of the United States. So contact your local community college or center and check out their list of classes. You never know what you can learn and whom you might meet.

When I signed up for a class recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see a friend-of-a-friend sitting in class when I arrived. Friend-of-a-friend no more, she now holds a firm place on my speed dial list.

4. Knock on all of Your Neighbors' Doors:
True story: When I lived in Denver, I had a neighbor show up with a plate of cookies on a Sunday afternoon. These neighbors were new in town and wanted to meet the other residents on their block. As I noshed their cookies (it would have been rude not to!), I learned that the wife practiced yoga everyday at the studio around the corner. That was all the encouragement I needed to join my first class and make a new friend.

You never know who lives right next door until you ring their bell. So ring all the bells on your block or hall and see who may be residing right beside you.

No question, moving to a new city or town can be very difficult and can absolutely put a wrinkle in your social calendar. But there are things you can do, channels you can take, and resources available which can help ease the transition and help you to start to feel at home in your new home.