One of the toughest aspects of moving—and there are many to choose from—is leaving your network of friends and business contacts behind. It’s hard to feel like you belong somewhere until you have those connections.
In this article, we’ll look at two types of networking, personal and business. Of course, these can overlap. You may become good friends with coworkers, or enter into a business partnership with friends.
You can talk about work, and since that’s something you’ll have in common, it’s probably a good place to start. But branch into other topics. Do you both like sports, reading, or movies? Do you perhaps both play the same online game, or collect comics? Is there someone in another department you work with often? Ask them to lunch or to chat during your coffee break as well.
Even if this doesn’t lead to a promotion, it can go a long way toward ensuring job security. People will start to think of you for various tasks. And when you’re seen as indispensable, it will be easier to negotiate raises. On top of it all, you’re bound to make some friends.
This category has so many possibilities, but we’ll focus on two: continuing education for you, and school for your children, if you have any.
Perhaps you’re young and just moved away from home to go to college. Make friends! Hang out with other students after class. Study together. Find out what there is to do around town, and what the student scene is like. College is the best place to make friends. In high school, not everyone fits in, but things change in college, and even if you didn’t make many friends before, you’re bound to now.
As an older adult, you might be in graduate or post graduate school, where you can make friends like you did in college. You might also consider taking a class at the local community college, or through an adult continuing education program. The primary purpose might be to add to your job skills, or to learn about a topic that has always fascinated you. As a bonus, you’ll be in an environment conducive to getting to know others and expanding your network.
If you have children in school, you’ll have many opportunities to network. When your kids make friends they want to spend time with after school, you’ll meet their parents, who may become friends or even feel like extended family. You can also join the parent teacher association (PTA) or volunteer at the school and attend meetings, which will give you the opportunity to talk to, and work with, other parents.
Facebook is primarily for staying in touch with family and friends, and LinkedIn is primarily for keeping up with your professional contacts.
Your biggest concern about networking after a move is probably connecting with people in your new area. So, this is a good time to check your contacts on both sites and see who lives in the area. Perhaps you’ll find that old friends live there, or that people you’ve only met online, but would like to know in person, live nearby.
Through social media, you can reach out to them and meet them for coffee or dinner.
Of course, if you’ve already developed a good relationship with friends on Facebook, you can invite them to other social activities.
The website Meetup.Com is great for making brand new friends wherever you live. The point of the site is to bring together people with similar interests. Looking for a book club, a group of RPG players, or new friends to watch football with? You’re bound to find them on Meetup.
Go to the site and search for groups in your new area. When you find one you like, note how often they meet, when they plan to meet again, and check to see if you need to contact someone in the group. You should find everything you need on their group page.
In general, you can join the group on Meetup before you attend a get-together. Then, go to their next meeting and make some new friends, doing something that you all love.
Rebuilding your in-person social network after a move can be tough, and will take time. We hope these ideas help you speed up that process.