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  • Writer's pictureValentina

Navigating the Art of Building New Friendships

Updated: Jun 10

How exciting to know that new friends are just around the corner


Over the past year, I've moved by myself to two different cities. First to Madison, WI for a career opportunity, and then eight months later to Amsterdam to pursue my master's. These big moves forced me to confront my fear of loneliness head-on. While I cherish moments of solitude, like indulging in a Netflix binge with a large pizza, the prospect of being friendless in a new city is undeniably daunting. There's a stark contrast between enjoying one's own company by choice and the feeling of loneliness when you don’t know anyone yet to share experiences with. It's amusing how regardless of how many times I've started anew in a city, whether for a short stint or a longer duration, the challenge of meeting new people and building connections remains intimidating. Initially, I would find myself staying in at my new place over weekends, pondering how I was going to meet new people from the comfort of my bed. With time, I felt comfortable enough (and to be honest, brave) to start seeking opportunities and events where I knew I could meet some like-minded people I could just chat with over a coffee.


Rather than sticking to the familiar routine, I proposed myself to start trying new things that would get me out of my comfort zone.


So I did the following:

  • Joined fitness classes at my school or local gym

  • Volunteered around the city in events I found interesting (e.g. music and film festivals)

  • Look out sports clubs that aligned with my hobbies (e.g. running club, volleyball team (SVU) or paddle)

  • Attended cafe events and quiz pubs

  • Joined Facebook groups centred around shared interests (whether it was volleyball tournaments, Latin dance events, or comedy shows)

  • Go follow @welike.amsterdam ASAP (https://www.instagram.com/welike.amsterdam/?hl=en)

These groups and events exposed me to a diverse community of people from various backgrounds and walks of life, all seeking connections and company. In a bold move, I even created a Bumble profile for meeting female friends or girl groups where we shared the same hobbies and maybe mindsets. Before I knew it, my schedule started getting busier and exciting, and the once daunting spectre of loneliness was not scary anymore.


At the same time, I learned to relish moments of solitude too, appreciating quiet weekends at home just being lazy or deciding to go to cinemas by myself, while also eagerly anticipating weekends filled with travels and adventures with new friends.


As it is easier said than done, I invite you to take a leap of faith this week—join a fitness or cultural club (look for trial classes to see if it is a good fit for you), enrol in a craft class you are interested in or just meet someone for coffee. While it might not end in you finding your local best friend, it will alleviate the pressure of being alone in a new city, and also push you to find new hobbies and share your thoughts and feelings about starting from zero with someone else.


Until the next time,

Val

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