For When You Feel Lonely in a City Full of People

 
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Having fears is only human, but how we face these fears directly correlates to how we face other challenges in life. The fear of being lonely or appearing as a "loser" by not knowing people in a new city can be intimidating and is what normally holds people back from making the move. This is understandable as having a solid foundation of friends is the staple of setting yourself up for success; you become the people you surround yourself with. Surrounding yourself with people who strive to make themselves better while bringing up the people around them elevates your own motivation and enthusiasm. Though if we let the fear of appearing lonely affect our decisions, we can easily miss out on great opportunities to live fulfilled lives.

Making friends after college and outside of school activities is difficult, there aren't as many social situations that you are consistently forced into, like projects or classes, and instead you need to put yourself into those social interactions on your own. Meeting new people doesn't have to be exhausting or difficult though, take your passions and interests and find other people who value them too. Then once you establish consistency with meeting these people in set settings, you can take it an extra step by making plans outside of work or volunteer work.

For example, I am passionate about animal rescue. In my free time I volunteer at an animal shelter and attend animal rights and rescue events where I've met some really great people and have made new friends. I find out about these events through the rescues themselves or through social media like Facebook events and Instagram, or just word of mouth. I even find new rescues to "follow" through the rescues I already follow. This is a great way to meet people you know you'll like since you are all there to support a meaningful cause and a similar interest.

 
I go to a lot of "pawties"...

I go to a lot of "pawties"...

 

You can see on my LinkedIn page that "Social Media" is one of my top three most recommended "skills;" it's no secret that I am a huge advocate of being active on social media and using it to its full potential as a social network. I use Twitter and Instagram as ways to meet other like-minded people through pages I follow. I have met other animal lovers, human rights activists, tech enthusiasts, etc., whatever your interests may be, through social media and, despite what your mother's warnings 10 years ago, there is no shame in meeting people over the Internet in this day in age!

Hashtags, word of mouth through friends or posts you already follow, the "Events" page on Facebook, websites for meet ups, there is an endless array of resources to find people gathering for certain interests. It's up to you to push yourself to go on your own and know that you can be comfortable in a setting where other people will be there for the same reasons as you. The initial step of going somewhere alone is the hardest, but when you do it once, you'll feel so much more confident the next time you need to go to a meet up alone.

Making new friends is a great way to build a network, but a good network isn't strong without keeping in contact with old friends and connections. Keeping a solid foundation of connections everywhere you go will help you establish yourself wherever you may end up in life. I was lucky to have friends from college who lived in New York City and having them here helped make my transition to the city so much easier and much less lonely.

It's easy for us to allow work to consume our lives and cause us to cut off social interactions in our limited free time. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone doesn't need to be a big deal; focusing on events and social gatherings for issues that you care about is a great way to start. You'll be motivated to go, as well as know that there will be other people there who care about the same things and who may be there on their own too. You'll survive, don't let your fears hold you back from anything in your life. Know that as soon as you let go of the things that hold you back, you can do anything!