When we moved to Toronto in August 2018, we only knew a handful of people in the city. In fact, apart from two good friends who had moved from the same city as we used to live in (Bodrum, Turkey) prior to Toronto, I could barely say we knew anyone because we hadn’t connected with anyone else for the longest time.
Both Baris and I love spending time with each other and on our own too, but as much as I love that, I love socializing, having friends and a community that I can connect with and share a similar mindset. Long story short: we had to make new friends in the city and my remote job wasn’t much of a help, as I was working from home and spending most of my days pretty isolated.
We’re currently in our eight month in Toronto and I’m feeling happy about the friendships and community that we’ve started to grow here. Now that we’re expecting a baby, my community is increasingly trending towards mom-baby groups and mom entrepreneurs, but I’m also excited to hop into this new world!
I’ve moved quite a lot throughout my life, so I know how lonely and awkward it can feel until you start getting to know people in your new city. Here’s my few tips to support you when you relocate:
How to make new friends when you move to a new place
I’ve loved using Eventbrite since our move to Toronto and have found so many events that were interesting in all kinds of ways. Whether they were career related or purely for entertainment, I’ve been following the events almost on a weekly basis. I especially love the FREE events section as it can build up quite some budget to pay for every event that you attend! You might not end up making lifelong friends at every event you go to (duuh!) but you can still meet like-minded people or simply, socialize and chat with for an evening.
We attended a (free) brand launch event this past winter and it ended up being an awesome night for us. So inspirational and fun. To top it off, I won $1,500 worth of clothing from the brand’s newest season from the draw at the end of the night. Need I say that I loved this event?
You can find yoga classes, panels, dinner outings, career and networking events, skill-building events, workshops and so much more. I’m attending a mom entrepreneur workshop this week and again feel super excited for it because I know I’ll be meeting like-minded people.
There’s always an abundance of courses and certifications that you can take to strengthen a skill or learn a brand new one. Whether it’s for your career, hobby, or (sometimes) out of necessity – like a prenatal course we had to take to prepare for the baby, there’s always a wide range of options to choose from. Personally, I really like the idea of taking courses in a new city because it automatically means that you share a common interest or passion with the other people who attend the class.
Imagine taking a dance or wine class for example: It’s guaranteed that you’ll meet others who are passionate about the same things and you’ll easily be able to socialize and meet outside of class environment too. I remember making a fun group of friends when I used to go for salsa dancing back in my university years in Montreal. We took a 5-week hypnobirthing course in Toronto recently and again made friends with a couple whom I feel we have a great connection with! And it turned out we’re also neighbors, living in the same area! Soon we’ll be meeting for coffee chats and walks in the park with the babies! 🙂
Facebook Groups & Instagram Communities
Was it just me who was out of sync here, or have the Facebook groups have become more active in the recent years?!?!
After moving to Toronto, a couple of people recommended that I join some FB groups and I had to ask them: ‘Why, who still uses FB groups anyway?’. Well, I was wrong. I wasn’t taking the group activity very seriously until I started checking out some of the notifications I was receiving from the groups I had joined. They were VERY ACTIVE and great conversations was taking place. People were providing very useful information, sharing great tips, asking for recommendations, creating interesting events, etc.
I’ve found the Facebook groups to be quite helpful for so many things and now am a member of a Toronto Bloggers group (which always has great conversations and lately some great get-togethers), several neighborhood and community groups, Toronto mom groups and Turkish community groups (great for spotting good Turkish food 🙂 and meeting people). They all provide great information in different areas and I feel like I’m a part of their community. As soon as I have more time in my hands, I’m sure I’ll be making friends too!
Some Instagram profiles also work similar to FB groups and I follow them to get information on events that interest me or meet with people through the platform.
Work from Coworking Spaces
This is one for those who are self-employed, or work remotely like I do. As I mentioned earlier, working alone and from home can feel very lonely at times and it definitely feels even more isolated when you’re new to the city. You don’t get the chance to meet and hangout with people ‘at the office‘, so you need an alternative!
If you love working from the comfort of your home and want to leave the socialization to after work hours, skip this one. But if you enjoy chit chat conversations or seeing other people during your work hours, I’d say it’s worth allocating some budget to working from a coworking space, at least until you no longer feel lonely! 🙂
I worked from WeWork for a few months when we moved to Toronto and it definitely helped me adjust more smoothly and meet a few people, as well as 2 amazing clients. I love that coworking spaces organize events on a regular basis and you get the chance to network with others.
Since coworking spaces are very popular nowadays, most of the big cities have tons of options to choose from and you can even choose one that specifically matches your area of interest or expertise.
Lastly… remember you’re new to the city,
things will settle soon and you won’t feel like the ‘new kid’ forever. Take advantage of all the things your new city has to offer and make use of the channels I’ve mentioned above, unless you’re an exceptional extrovert who can still make new friends in a cafe or park. 🙂
Are there any others tips you’d have to make new friends in a new city? Comment down below!