As you know, Matt and I moved to Boulder, CO two months ago. I can't believe it's already been that long since we settled into our new home! We're really genuinely happy to be here. I think that Boulder is a perfect fit for us -- our hobbies, personalities, interests, temperature preferences, etc. But moving again hasn't been without it's fair share of challenges.
We're not noobs when it comes to cross-country moves. After me getting laid off from my job, we uprooted in 2014, leaving our hometown of Houston for Brooklyn, NY. It was definitely a culture shock experience, but we had the luxury of already knowing a handful of people. Obviously, it's still hard to be away from family, but having some go-to people to call is extremely helpful. We celebrated birthdays and holidays with these friends. They were our family away from family.
I have deeply mourned the loss of proximity when it comes to my friends in NYC. They were there for me through the hardest years of my life. They're invaluable to me.
Though I'm confident we made the right choice in leaving the city, I still get jealous when I see them hanging out with each other and with other people on Facebook without me. Especially when it's a Saturday night and Matt and I are watching Chopped Junior on Netflix because we don't really have anything else to do.
Since both Matt and I are very introverted, we have had to step out of our comfort zones and put ourselves out there because we know that we need to build friendships in our new home. Here are some lessons we have learned so far.
1. Say yes to things
I am the queen of saying "no." Parents all over the US would love for their kids to have this characteristic haha. If I don't want to do something, I don't do it. If I'm tired, I don't go. Peer pressure ain't got nothing on me! Sometimes that's a really good skill. When you live in NYC, self preservation is really important. When I was struggling through anxiety and depression, I was really happy that I was good at saying no, and knowing what I can and cannot add into my already busy schedule.
I've been working on somewhat breaking that habit. I'm trying to say yes to things more often. I'm not as busy or as stressed here, and I need friends. I'm pushing myself to not just spend all my time hanging out with Matt and working out. It helps that people in CO want to hang out while working out! Double whammy.
2. Be available
I'm a creature of habit. I stick to a schedule. I love routine. I've been working on being more flexible with that so that I can be more available when people invite me to hang out. I'll bend my schedule, push runs, and wake up earlier to get things done so that I can make space for people.
3. Be present
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just show up for stuff. We try to go to all of our church's activities, and have actually made more friends going to these extra events than at church itself. We also try to go to all of the social events that our apartment complex hosts. Granted, the only people we've really met at the apartment event was a surprisingly interesting retired couple who just got back to the states after spending 9 months backpacking Europe. We show up with no expectations. Sometimes we talk to people and sometimes we don't. But it's worth trying.
4. Go to meetups
There's a meetup group for everything -- running, ultimate frisbee, blogging, crafting, you name it! I met a lot of friends in NYC through blogging, and so far, I've met a lot of friends in Boulder through running. I still need to find a blogging group here. Starting a friendship on common ground, like a hobby, makes the awkward introduction phase much simpler.
5. Form lines of communication immediately
I'm trying to be really intentional about getting phone numbers and/or friending people on Facebook right after I meet them. That way, we aren't just talking about hanging out or being friends, we're already on our way there. It also helps me to remember names when I'm meeting a lot of people at once.