• Keeping Friends

Moving and Friendship: Is moving a good way to make new friends?

Published: December 30, 2011 | Last Updated: February 23, 2015 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading

When you move, you take some emotional baggage with you…


Dear Irene,

I recently moved to San Francisco after graduating college. I have a tough job, but thought that the city would provide for a worthy night life. It has been four months and I haven’t made friends with anyone I would like to go out with.

I volunteer, and I reached out to both coworkers and roommates (I have 7). The people I volunteer with are very geeky; the same goes for my coworkers in the tech industry. It seems as if my roommates prefer to keep their private lives private.

The few friends I have left from college are all men. I often get the feeling that they would prefer to be dating me so I try to spend as much time away from them as possible.

I am lonely and thinking about moving to Austin, Texas. Maybe a new city will revive me or maybe I will always be the same person. I am unimpressed with the friends I seem to make with ease. I am too nervous and overly aware to make real connections with people I would like to be friends with.

Signed, Lexi


Dear Lexi,

Graduating college and moving to a new city on your own is a big adjustment. Given that you’re working days and only have limited discretionary time for making friends on evening and weekends, it sounds like four months is too short a time to give yourself to adjust to a new job and new housing situation, and to make new friends.

A few thoughts:

  • One thing that strikes me is your labeling people as “geeky” – both at your volunteer location and at work. Perhaps, you need to give yourself more time to get to know them as individuals. They may be different than they appear to be by appearances or dress.
  • It also may be that your own interests are a bit limited. Is there anything that you like doing, e.g. a hobby or sport, which could put you in contact with people with similar interests?
  • A living situation with seven people can be somewhat anonymous but don’t give up. There may be someone there with whom you feel closer to over time.

Lastly, and most importantly I think, you mention you are overly nervous when you are around other people. This might lead to you remaining on the periphery rather than connecting with people.

Since you recently moved, moving again probably isn’t a sensible solution to your friendship problem (Although you may have other reasons for contemplating a move). My guess would be that you would simply be taking your problem to another city.

I’m not sure how big a role anxiety is playing in your inability to connect with friends or how persistent this problem has been, but it might be worthwhile to talk about it to a counselor or mental health professional if you think it is interfering with your social life. Otherwise, give yourself more time.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog about moving and friendship:

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Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m missing the connection between people who are tech “geeks” and people who attend Renaissance Fairs. I know Renaissance “geeks” who are as far from being tech geeks as a person can be. I also know many introverts who do not suffer from Asperger’s.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Bay Area, and Valley, are stocked with computer “geeks” – this is true. It is not the odd clothes or poor social skills, it is the tech/engineering mindset that many there have. Introversion, Asperger’s, etc. are all at play more than it might appear from tourists who visit the area and like it. The author of this letter might sound judgmental with labels, but there is some truth to her impression. The book “Shadow Syndrome” would shed light on this. Join non-tech activities (no Renaissance fairs, etc.) and steer clear of the ‘computer nerds’ for a while. The arts, finance, trade, and other fields are big in the Bay area – find some peeps there. Wine-tasting meetups & tours, distance biking or co-ed tennis ladder, ‘friends of the museum’ memberships that come with tickets to gallery talks & receptions – you will find the ‘other’ side of the Bay there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    that is all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Irene. Moving to another city will simply transport your problems somewhere else. It isn’t the environment that’s the issue, it’s your way of relating to it. Sometimes a period of adjustment takes longer than you think. You have quickly judged those around you and while you may see differences you don’t like, that type of thinking may prevent you from connecting well.
    Seems like you could use some downtime to just relax and avoid making meeting people your driving force. If you allow things to happen more naturally, your relaxed nature may help you be more attractive to other people too.

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