Tips for Settling In to Your New Community
You have arrived at your new home, unpacked and begun to settle in. Arrangements have been made for the immediate future — schools have been selected for your kids; your new house or apartment is set up — but if you are in all-new surroundings, you are still a long way away from establishing your new place of residence as a home.
How long that will take depends on your circumstances. Do you have relatives in the area, a work “family,” or childhood memories of time spent nearby? These factors lend a comforting sense of familiarity, even if you’ve just arrived. Or perhaps you feel like many of us do when we arrive in a new place with a job lead and two college friends in the city.
Relocating can be a stressful process. Beyond the boxes and arrangements, you need new connections to create the feeling of home and community that only time can deliver. Home is about relationships with friends, neighbors, teachers and small business owners.
How can you fertilize the social soil and get those taproots growing? Consider these tips:
- Push yourself slightly beyond your basic comfort level.
Coach yourself each week to do something you wouldn’t naturally do. This may be as simple as deciding to walk your dog every morning in a park crowded with pet owners instead of along lonely streets.
Community service may be one of the best ways to create meaningful new ties. Find opportunities through local community centers or gardens, your job, churches, schools or online.
- Join a club.
Salsa dancing, rock climbing, chess? Find affinity groups in your area. Immediately resume one or two activities you did before moving. You’ll meet people with common interests right off the bat.
- Find a common-interest support network.
If you have kids, look for a young-families group. A health condition? Try a local hospital for weekly support groups. Religious or faith traditions? Start looking for a new church and find your community now.
- Call someone new.
If a friend knows someone in your new town, call. Take your new neighbor to coffee and ask them to tell you about the place.
- Buy a map and start exploring.
Or just get on a bus and let yourself be driven around. Seeing your new place is fun and immediately gives you something in common with other people. And you’ll start developing favorite haunts — a true sign of home.
- Start something totally new.
Always wanted to take a cooking class? Go for it! Take advantage of the new adventures and possibilities. You’ll meet friends with common interests along the way.
Starting fresh in a new community takes patience, but be proactive and you’ll soon feel at home.