By: Marisa Borreggine
Campus Sherpa Staff Writer, University of Washington
If you’ve just begun college, or transferred to a new school from a previous university or
community college, you are all too familiar with the confusion and wonder that comes with
moving to a new city. The feelings that meet you aren’t exactly the same as they were in your
childhood, moving to a new town and immediately making friends just because you were the
same age. It takes a bit more effort to make this new town home, and to make those friends all
Chances are, everyone at the bar/party/event you’re at is just as nervous about meeting
people as you are. It does help to have a classic ice breaker (my favorite is asking if
someone was in my [insert most interesting class I’ve taken] class, and when they
weren’t just talk about that class!), but sometimes just saying “Hi!” is all it takes!
Introduce yourself to everyone…
One of the more unfortunate parts of being in a new town is the idea that not every
stranger is trustworthy, even at the local bar. Make sure to be aware of who you’re
talking to, and have an escape plan if the conversation starts to go down the wrong road.
Have that escape plan handy!
If you are really starting fresh, sometimes you might have to go to events or bars alone.
This can be a scary thought, especially for a young woman in this day and age. Always
make sure your phone is charged before you go out so you can call someone, even if they
aren’t in the same town (my mom is my favorite option). You can even fake a phone call
and hail a taxi if necessary! There is no shame in a fake emergency if it means taking care
of your safety.
Get too self-conscious!
Who would you want to introduce yourself to, the person with lots to say that is dancing
by themselves without a care who watches, or the person that’s been staring into their
phone screen all night? A healthy amount of social anxiety takes hold of us all from time
to time, but breaking past this boundary is a great way to enhance your confidence and
sets a great example for other people worrying about whose watching them.
Keep an eye out!
There are likely so many fun events waiting for you to meet new friends at in your new
city, but the first step on that journey is finding those events! Go to your local most
popular café (yelp can help you with that) and take a look at the walls. There should be
posters for plays, concerts, volunteer opportunities, 5ks, and more. You might even
venture as far to ask the baristas if they know of any upcoming events—I used to be a
barista and found that working in a café for a long time makes you pick up a second job
as the town concierge. Trust me, we know what’s going on.
It took me a year to finally find my best group of friends. Just because you’re new to a
city doesn’t mean you should have to settle for a group of people you don’t necessarily
clique with. You or those people are not bad friends just because you can’t find a rhythm,
and there’s nothing wrong with constantly expanding your network of friends!