I know how to move. In the past 10 years, I’ve lived in 4 Canadian cities, as well as Boston and LA. Not to toot my own horn, but people have said I know my way around a packing supply store. As a result of these moves, I have learned some strategies to get established in a new place.
1. Set up your living room as quickly as possible. You don’t need the whole place to be Pinterest ready, nor do you need a big space – you just need a place for people to sit down and set their drinks. It’s way better being able to invite people over, than having to rely on them inviting you over. Plus, how are they going to say no? You want to feed them and give them alcohol. Sounds like a fun time to me.
Some thoughts about hosting….
- Growing up, people were constantly stopping by, and my mom never got into a tizzy about it. She just kept the house presentable and was able to whip up homemade rolls and turkey soup in 20 minutes – but I mean, who can’t do that? Just kidding – she’s a superhero. My point is, hosting doesn’t need to be a big ordeal; it’s just about spending time with people. No need to stress yourself out mopping the floors and scrubbing the sinks – your friends are just happy to have a place to congregate. Also, it doesn’t need to be a lavish spread. Even pouring people glasses of water and putting out some chips and salsa goes a long way. Also, grab a few board games (for our wedding, we actually registered for games! I recommend Taboo, Telestrations, and Settlers of Catan).
2. Host events. Have a “housewarming” (even if you live in a small apartment). It’s a great conversation starter when you move to a new place and a non-awkward way to ask people out on a “friend date.” If “social sparks are flying,” try to secure the second date!
- Game Nights (see above game recommendations)
- Holiday Hosting
- We spent the winter holidays in LA this past year and hosted our friends who were also in the city for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years’ Eve. On Christmas day, we made some brunch-type food, distributed egg nog, and watched The Santa Clause and Elf. It was great. (Plus, as an added benefit, if you spend holidays together, your friendship will have new levels and stuff from sharing warm and cozy experiences! #feelings, for the win.)
- Movie Nights
- We bought a home projector (Check it out – it’s so tiny! All you need is a bare wall or a sheet to hang!). Now we can host movie nights (like Jurassic Park, which naturally leads to a “follow-up group outing” to see Jurassic World. Ah? Pretty clever.)
- Girls Nights
- I host a girls night about once a month. Usually the girls bring wine and I make a simple appetizer (ex: bruschetta, cheese and crackers) and a dessert (ex: cookies, brownies, or something adventurous I want to try from my favorite recipe blog, Oh She Glows). Sometimes we just talk, other times we watch movies or make art. We also love playing “bonding-type” games – one involves coming up with a list of questions, and everyone writing down their answers on individual pieces of paper. Then, we put all the paper in a bowl and take turns pulling out answers and guessing who they belong to. (Ex: What is something on your bucket list? What are you most afraid of? What was your greatest act of rebellion?)
3. Say yes to stuff. This is pretty self-explanatory, but when you even get a lukewarm invitation to do something, ENTHUSIASTICALLY SAY YES. Get out your planner right then and there and lock it down. Ask people to show you their favorite things in the city and they will love to take you under their wing. After you find some people you like to hang out with, start inviting them to everything fun in your city (Ex: trivia night, outdoor movie or concert, beach festival, an Escape Room, laser tag, try a new workout, etc.).
4. Aggressively pursue friendships. I made this my job for the first 2 months I lived here. Although my actual job wasn’t starting for a few weeks, I found out who I’d be working with, and contacted the people who were roughly the same age as me. I asked them to brunch, and now they are two of my best friends in LA. I also (creepily) found out from our current landlord, where the “youngest/coolest” couple lived in our building, and brought them freshly baked cookies, with a note saying “Wanna be our friend? Come to our housewarming!” And because I’m Canadian, that was cute, and not at all creepy. Which brings me to my final point…
5. Be a Canadian in America. Okay, you might not be able to control this one, but if it is your fortunate fate, know that Americans will find you adorable. Canada is America’s non-threatening little cousin.
Those are the strategies that have worked for me. What has worked for you? Now if I can just figure out how to stay still somewhere… but that’s for another blog post. Stay tuned!