Walking around on campus knowing everyone feels great. Heading to your local corner store in the city where the man behind the counter asks how your new puppy is doing feels awesome. Eating dinner with 20 of your closest friends is a total blast. You’re in a place where everybody knows your name and you’re loving it.
But there are many times in your life when you’ve moved to a new city, started at a new school, or switched jobs and you don’t know a soul. It can be lonely. It can be isolating. And scary. But more than anything it’s just wildly uncomfortable.
If I’ve learned anything from moving across the country a few years ago and now living in an apartment with total strangers, it’s that this chapter in your life can also be quite a gift. If you embrace the right mindset, you’ll start to view this new, unchartered time as one that is exciting and energizing. So here’s to flipping the script on being the new person in any situation. Follow these tips and you’ll be building the community that you’re comfortable with in no time.
Use the alone time for good
Some people are better at being alone than others. However, no matter who you are, having time with much fewer distractions can be a great thing. If there’s a bunch of books that have been on your list but you haven’t had time to read them – now’s your chance. Bring it to your solo dinner or curl up on the couch on Friday night when no one’s guilt tripping you to come out. If you’ve been wanting to write more or maybe just Skype with your long-distance friends more frequently, your alone time will be more frequent when you’re the new person. So use it!
Be in the business of making friends
Our relationships make our world even more beautiful. When you’re the new person, you have to be on a friend-making mission. Is there a girl you met at yoga that seemed cool? Ask her to coffee. Did your classmate invite you to join his study group? Go. Say YES more than you ever have before and you’ll be meeting people in no time.
Relish in the fresh start
Here’s probably the coolest thing about being the new person: you get to decide who you want to be. You’re making new friends. You’re meeting new people. You’re finding new routines. Build the activities and habits that are exactly the person you want to be. It’s not that you need to be someone new, but be someone you love. Surround yourself with the best. Engage in the best. And you’ll be the best. When you’re new it’s so much easier to do that.
Try new things
There’s no better time than when you’re new, to try new things. Maybe you want to get your booty to a new workout class. Or maybe you just want to learn how to decorate cakes. Or perhaps you’ll get involved in the leadership training offered at work. Not only will you have something else to fill your time with, you’re likely to meet really cool people who could become friends.
Embrace being outside the zone
It’s OK to feel weird. You may have moments of scrolling through your newsfeed and see everyone hanging out with all their friends while you just feel lonely. Or you may head to lunch at your new job and realize you don’t have anyone to grab a sandwich with. These moments will be teachers for you. You’ll put yourself out there, both with the people you meet and the activities that you try. And it will all be because you were in a place where no one knew your name.
Whatever you do when you’re the new person, remember that all of your discomfort will pass. Work to shift your perspective to see this as a great thing, and you’ll be getting into your groove in no time.