I'm Lonely, Shy and Depressed in a New City. How Can I Meet New People?

Carol Landau, Ph.D., healthy living expert at iVillage.com, answers your questions about managing your 20s and 30s without getting depressed

Moving to a new city is a challenge, and as much as we like to think that making new friends should happen naturally, after college it isn’t so easy.

It sounds like you might be comfortable reaching out to people, but then get stuck. You might benefit from creating a “script” of things about yourself that you’d like to share. Divide it into what you’d say first, then what to say if they ask follow-up questions and so on. This may seem strange, but it really helps when you become anxious.

Remember that people aren’t looking to be impressed; they’re just looking for people with whom they have something in common. Being new to the area, you can also ask questions about the town: a good haircutting place, the farmers’ market, offbeat restaurants. As you’re making conversation, you’re getting tips as well. You can always talk about current events or popular culture, so stay up to date.

Also, part of being a good conversationalist is being able to listen attentively. Ask follow-up questions and recognize that not everyone will become a best friend. You might meet someone you like well enough to go to a concert with but who won’t become a close confidant. And that is okay; we need a variety of types of relationships in our lives.

Finally, know that it will take time and you will need to be persistent. Making friends is a skill that can be developed just like others.

Meeting new people is one of the challenges of the post-college decade along with moving to a new place and looking for work. When these life changes don’t go smoothly they can lead to depression. Learn more about the pitfalls and read this survival guide. To ask questions or get and lend support, visit our Depression Support message board.


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