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Moving to a new city or overseas? In this guide, I’ll cover how to meet people in a new city. I won’t promise that making friends in a new city is always easy but I promise it is worth the effort!
A year ago, I moved to Mexico City not knowing anyone and barely speaking a word of Spanish. From my window seat as the sprawling mega-city came into view, I had a ‘what-am-I-doing?’ moment.
Was I really moving to Mexico City with no friends, job or plan aside from the first 7 nights in an Airbnb?
It went pretty well. While continuing to work online (the world’s least social profession), I managed to build a community and successfully make friends in a new city. Within a few months, I had a group to hang out with at weekends and take trips away with.
This guide is based on my experiences abroad but these tips can just as easily be used if you’re trying to find friends in a new city within your own country!
My story of meeting people in a new city
After my experiences moving to Mexico City, I decided to write this blog post to help others in the same situation, regardless of location.
Before moving to Mexico, I’d been solo travelling and working remotely for 18 months already, spending anywhere between a few days and a few months in a new place. Life was good but I was getting tired of transient connections.
That’s why I was excited to move to Mexico City. The challenges of travelling solo include getting lonely and burnt out. I planned to spend longer than a couple of weeks to really get stuck into the city. I was craving friends I could get to know rather than leave behind.
Making friends in a new city vs when travelling
When I started basing places around the world to work online, I hadn’t given too much thought to how I’d make friends in a new city. It had always worked out while backpacking, right?
That’s the problem! It’s easy to meet people as a traveller thanks to hostels, tours and bar crawls. Other travellers are always up to socialise.
When you’re living in a new city, it’s different. People you meet aren’t always looking for new besties; they ily, especially if it’s their home city. You certainly won’t meet people during a hostel card game!
When answering the question how do I meet friends in a new city?, I’ll leave work colleagues out because a) as a remote worker I don’t have any specific tips and b) it’s kind of an obvious one! You probably want friends beyond work anyway.
1. Facebook groups
This was my first step when moving to Mexico City. I posted in several Facebook groups introducing myself and explaining I was new to the city. Consider something like this:
”Hey, I’ve just moved here and looking to meet other like-minded people! I’m 30, originally from the UK, and work online as a writer. Let me know if you’d like to go for coffee / check out some bars”
Tailor this to you. It’s good to mention activities you’re interested in. I went with bars and coffee but if you prefer hiking or photography, suggest that instead.
How to find Facebook groups: Literally type into Facebook the name of your city followed by terms like newbies, expats, foreigners or whatever’s relevant. I even found a group for British and Irish people in Mexico City. Join as many as possible and fill out the requested questions so you get accepted.