When moving to a new place – whether within your own country or to a new one – one of the biggest challenges is moving away from good friends and then meeting new ones.

What typically ends up happening, is that you either rely on the plethora of technology (SKYPE, phone, email, IM, etc.) to stay in touch with your friends at home, or, you seek out carbon copies of these friends and end up disappointed when you learn that you cannot find exact replicas of these friends.

Doing either of these things could end up making you isolated and depressed – if you spend all your free time speaking to, and Skyping your best friends from home, you’re cutting yourself off from the opportunity of meeting new friends. If you seek new friends, and their differences leave you disappointed, you up either feeling lonely or with more motivation to stick with your friends from home, thus furthering your isolation.

One of the best ways to help avoid these bad feelings is to seek out contacts BEFORE you move so that you have people to reach out to locally after you arrive. The nice part about this is that these people then feel more familiar to you – since you contacted them before arriving, you create a familiar voice to speak to.

To do this, figure out a method to keep track of all the contacts you receive – an address book, an electronic organizer – whatever method you can keep them all together, in one place. Next, ask everyone you know – your friends, your family – if they know of anybody that lives in or near the city you’re moving to. You can ask for both people to become friends with, or, if you are the trailing spouse, you might want some professional networking contacts as well. If the people you ask don’t know anyone, find out if they could ask their friends for referrals. Put the word out that if they come across anyone, they should let you know. Make sure, of course, that when they do respond, you get emails and phone numbers of the contacts so you can reach out to these people.

Another good idea, before you leave, is to ask your primary care doctor for referrals of other doctors, and do the same for any specialists you work with. If they cannot refer you to a person, ask them for any organizations they know of in the new city that can guide you to new doctors. If you find yourself with any health issues once you move, it’s a much nicer experience to have reliable contacts already lined up.

Once you make contact, then you can set up plans to meet, and you’ll be on your way to establishing a new network of friends and contacts after you move!

To Summarize:

1 – Decide on a method to keep track of contact information
2 - Ask friends and family to pass along the names and contact information of anyone they know in the city you’re moving to
3 – Make sure to get names, email addresses, and phone numbers whenever possible
4 – Reach out to these contacts as soon as possible, and make plans to meet them right away. If you haven’t left yet, then tell them when you’re arriving, and that you’ll get back in touch with them closer to your move, to set up a time to meet.
5 – Follow through – this is the most essential step – make sure that you confirm appointments you’ve made, and that you honor those plans – the quicker you start meeting new people, the less likely you’ll be to isolate yourself
6 – Set your expectations – your new friends will not be carbon copies of the ones you know from home. Try to honor their differences
7 – Ask for what you need – these new contacts are great people to ask for tips – where to grocery shop, where to go out, where to live, etc – so don’t be shy about asking
8 – Be open to invitations you receive, and consider having a party, where you invite your new friends. Socializing in the home is a wonderful, and personal, way to start new connections, and deepen existing ones.

Author's Bio: 

Heather is a Culture Transition Specialist who works with Expatriates and their families on the Social, Personal, and Professional issues that tend to arise after a move to a new culture. Learn more at culturetransition.com and download a free eCourse with helpful tips at 8stepstofeelathome.com.