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A Career Girl’s Guide to Making Friends in New Cities

Posted June 26, 2014 by Carolyn Stroud in Life After Five
I have had the distinct pleasure of living in four states in the ten years since I graduated from college. All of the moves were my choice (mostly for my career) and I knew at least one person in each city before I made the leap, but that didn’t necessarily mean I had a built-in social life. Each move had its own unique challenges, and making friends as an independent (and single) adult was absolutely one of them. Leaving people behind is incredibly difficult and finding others to fill those shoes is even more so. But whether it’s for a job or personal reason, Career Girls often find themselves in strange new cities without a tour guide, a buddy, or the active social life they once had.

From a decade’s worth of personal experience, I have two words of advice when it comes to trying to make a home and build a social network in a new place: do something. Do anything. And do it with passion. Join an adult coed kickball team, join a run club or go on an online date. Volunteer, go to networking events, find a coffee shop you love or become a regular at a local yoga studio. And despite Mom’s once-sage advice, it’s OK to talk to strangers. You’re bound to meet people with similar interests as soon as you start doing things that you love. And you’ll broaden your horizons, discover all kinds of things about your new hometown and have fun in the process.

Making friends, especially as an adult, takes time. Your phone is bound to be radio silent on that one night you really need some after-work drinks and vent about your boss. And you’re probably going to have to go places alone or where you know very few people. But welcome to adulthood! It’s scary and uncomfortable, but the adventures and new connections you will eventually make are completely worth it. Friendships, much like a good career, take time and thoughtfulness to develop so patience and fortitude is key. Sometimes it will feel like a more awkward, albeit slightly boozier, version of a middle-school dance. But that feeling goes away with time if you work at it.

Good friends, whether they’re old or new, are key to our overall well-being. And fortunately, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch across the globe. It’s also easier than ever to connect with like-minded people right around the corner. Whether it’s knitting, reading, football or photography, there is usually some sort of local club to join. Google and Facebook are fantastic resources for local activities.

Making friends as an adult is a funny thing. Where once we were all in it together, now there is no natural set of cohorts with whom to socialize (making friends at work can be a great thing, but not everyone has that opportunity). Single, married, raising children, traveling for work, living in the suburbs, working two jobs, going to graduate school…Career Girls find themselves playing many different roles and it’s not so easy to get out there. But if we’re lucky (and we’re open to it), sometimes we can become life-long friends with the most unlikely of people.

About the Author

Carolyn Stroud

Carolyn Stroud works in finance at a commercial real estate firm in Chicago. Her previous experience includes mortgage banking, leasing, running a start-up and captaining an adult co-ed kickball team. Originally from Detroit, she has an undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Carolyn is a voracious reader and passionate about growing outside her comfort zone. She recently completed her second marathon and is always up for a challenge.