Moving to a new place can be tough. I’ve lived in 5 states in 8 years, so I would know. It’s natural to have a little trouble settling in. Here’s a handy reference list on ways to make a place your own. 

  1. Get your home in order. Nothing is sadder than wandering around a town full of strangers and coming home to a mess, or even worse, no furniture. As soon as you can, set things up the way you like them and buy some fresh flowers. 
  2. Find your spot. After a few laps around your new neighborhood, some little spot should have jumped out at you. Go there often. Maybe it’s a coffee shop or a bar or a shop. In my case, here in Seattle, it’s a combination of all three, where I have a couple of times enjoyed a pint of cider and a grilled cheese sandwich. I’ve gone on mini-grocery runs there and sent my sister a picture of flowers they had out front. I will take visitors there; it is becoming mine. 
  3. Be active in your interests. I’m a yoga person, so I’ve been trying yoga studios. Maybe you’re a karate person or a computer person, but whatever kind of person you are, seek out your activity and your people. You probably won’t make a new friend immediately, but you’ll be doing something you care about, surrounded by people who also care about it. That will feel comforting in the short term, and in the long term, it’s a good way to meet friends with at least one common interest.
  4. Reach out. Today, it’s highly unlikely that you would move somewhere where you don’t have at least one acquaintance. Maybe it’s an old roommate or a friend of a friend whose vacation pictures you stalk on Facebook. However tenuous the connection, I highly recommend letting them know you are new in town and would love to meet over brunch, dinner, drinks, lunch, coffee, etc. And then while you enjoy a social outing, you pump them for pro-tips on how to live in your city. Maybe you don’t leave with a new best friend, but you have someone you can text from time to time, and that’s a good start.
  5. Explore. Really, the best way you can get familiar with a new place is to be in it. Take a day and just walk around. Poke into different shops and restaurants. Zig zag up and down streets until you find yourself exhausted in an unfamiliar bistro miles across town. Then walk home a different way. This is how you find cool things and how you are able to participate when someone mentions their own cool thing.

Now I must go take my own advice and welcome myself to my new city, Seattle. 

Come visit, if you like. I’ll take you to my spot.