Starting Over After College – 5 Ways to Build Relationships in a New City

In college, your best friends are practically handed to you—everyone starts out living in close quarters in the dorms, which means that finding someone to hang out with is as simple as walking down the hall. When you graduate from college and move on to a new city, it can take a bit more work. When I moved to Chicago to start my career, I knew next to no one, and as I was juggling a new career, settling into my new apartment and trying to maintain relationships with friends from college, getting out there to meet new people took a bit more energy. On top of this, I spent the first few months practically running a hotel out of my apartment every weekend as college friends came to visit the city, which didn't leave as much time as I would have liked to get out there and build new relationships. So Where to Start? Here are a few ideas to get you started if you're starting over in a new city after college:
  1. Join a young professional association . Although I admit that I never "officially" joined, I did meet a group of amazing friends at a young professional social last summer (you can hear from some of them in our "Perspectives From New Grads" podcast). Look for associations in your industry, or see if your university has a young Alumni Association set up for recent grads.
  2. Join or set up office extracurricular activities. Many companies offer after-work activities, such as sports teams or volunteer activities. This is a great way to get to know colleagues outside of the pressures of the working environment. Our office even has a team-building committee to help set these things up. If your company isn't very involved in these extra activities, ask around to see if you can organize your own committee.
  3. Leverage facebook . This ended up being surprisingly handy for finding and connecting with some of my acquaintances from college who I didn't otherwise know had relocated to the city.
  4. Wear your alma-matter t-shirt. I'm not kidding, I actually met a good friend this way. It's amazing how important those little common connections become when you are in a new city.
  5. Check out . One of my more memorable experiences was when I decided to check out a event for young women who were new to Chicago. I was greeted at the restaurant by the group organizer—a man in woman's clothing who called himself "Heather." Ok, so it wasn't exactly what I expected, but with something like 70,000 meet-ups being held around the country each month, there are definitely some great opportunities out there to find people you share interests with. As a side note, there are also a number of more professional meet-ups organized through I was actually introduced to Alexandra Levit, who I interviewed in a previous podcast, through someone who I met at an interactive meet-up.



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