[K]inship, making new friends

By and large we are a social species. We have social interaction, acknowledgement and belonging wired into our psyche. So what do we do when faced with new environments, bare of familiar faces and existing relationships to call on?

Personally I have faced this questions about three times now, the first was my move to a new city after graduation, the second a move to a foreign country for development and finally I found that moving back to the original city proved to hold many challenges that were similar to moving to a new place. So it is that I spent some time considering where my most valuable relationships, especially recent ones, were originally born.

I came up with a short framework, grouping the areas in my life together to form it. In each there are a few advantages and disadvantages, which would apply in varying degrees depending on your own life and situation.

friends from work / office

In moving to a new city for my first job after graduation, this was the main source of friendships I made. A whole lot of us were new, we all wanted to belong and feel welcome, so we created a group ourselves and became our own local friends. As time passes however, my view of this has changed.

These days I may deal with people far different to me, be it in location, age or interests. I’m also much more aware of how I require each professional relationship to work and so choose to remove any pressure they may face if I wished for friendships to sprout from them. Of course any relationships that organically grow would still be a great blessing.

friends from town / socialising

Old faithful, where singles mingle and inhibitions are low. I’ve met some of my best university and first year corporate friends in the watering holes I frequented then. With time my interests and social activities have changed though, and so has the frequency I find myself in a bar rubbing shoulders with strangers. It’s a purely personal choice of course, but this isn’t my favourite way to make lasting friends anymore.

friends from new home / neighbourhood

The guy you walk into at the mailbox each time, that couple down the hall, the chef at your favourite small shop – all of these are potential relationships that may develop with a little effort. A smile and the confidence to say hello is all it takes to start inching the wheels along on these frequent encounters, any of which could be heading to the friendship zone.

friends from hobbies / interests

IMG-20160202-WA0000
My nephew making friends at nap time.

The hardest part of moving to a new place is getting your life setup. One of the keys to set up for your general happiness is activities that you are interested in, be it sports, arts, hobby societies or any other activity.

As I see it there are two big benefits in this area. (1) Anyone, in fact everyone you meet will be a person you share a common ground with, due to meeting them through a mutual hobby or interest. (2) By going after your interests you are living life, avoiding the feeling of isolation / stagnation that creeps up on us when we get scared of doing the things we want.

So, do we have a plan?

It is highly likely that I will employ all of the above and any other opportunities that present themselves in making new friends and building my feeling of belonging in my new home. The value of the above exercise sits in the perspective it also gives on something we frequently neglect, only later to complain that we have no one to do anything with. Now we have an active thought process around this potential pothole in our lives.

So what would you do if faced with such a scenario? have i perhaps left out any grouping you would consider as another option? Let me know in the comments, I could definitely use it in my own life real soon.

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This is part of my A to Z Challenge 2016, click the button at the bottom of the site for more information if you like.

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