How To Make Friends In The City Girl Network
New city, new house, no idea where the best coffee is and no friends. I’ve been there. You’ve done the hard part so you’re all set, right. So now it’s time to make some friends... It’s as easy as that, right?
Even if you’re not in the same position as I was, you might be looking for something a little different. Branching out and doing new things has been proven to increase your resilience and mental well being and expanding your network has positive benefits for your confidence, your career and (of course) your social life!
When I moved to Manchester I was so excited. I’d been travelling for three months and I’d finally found a place in which I was happy to settle. The impermanence of social connections was about to come to an end and I was So. Ready. For. It.
Solo travelling really took it out of me. I had constantly been on the move with people flitting in and out of my life and me in and out of theirs and I was excited to start putting down roots and enjoying the city with new friends. I’d drained my body, drained my bank account and I needed to refill my cup with more meaningful social connections.
But friends didn’t come quickly. They didn’t come easily. I started to doubt myself and my confidence really took a hit. I started relying on Tinder as my social outlet and, while I made friends, having friends who don’t want to shag me is super important for my mental health. I know they like me for me and not just because they get something else out of the relationship.
I missed my friends from back home – the ones who knew my past and knew how I weird I was. The friends who I could call up at 10 PM at night to go get ice cream. The friends who knew when I needed to hear some straight-talking and knew when to snap me out of it. The loneliness was becoming overwhelming.
I also felt like I wasn’t allowed to be lonely. I was on this grand adventure, having moved over the other side of the world. People would kill to be in my position, to have my freedom. I was lucky and I felt like I needed to put on a brave front; to not ask for help. Further down my mood went.
One of my friends mentioned Meetup. After perusing it and finding a few social groups I might be interested in joining, BAM! There was Manchester Girl and there was a link to their Facebook group.
I didn’t give myself the time to dig up doubt. I joined straight away and started off with a bit of lurking. What sort of things did people post about? Turns out, pretty much anything – from personal advice to houses, catch-ups, careers.
What sort of events are there?
Pretty much everything, from speed friending, coffee catch-ups, meals, movies, book club and walking groups. Girls actually just post on there that they want to go for a coffee and a few girls will say ‘Yeah, sure!’
The next step was to dip my toe in by commenting on some posts. I stuck to things I felt confident about – career advice and fellow Aussies posting about moving over. When people asked for bar or café recommendations or if someone had shared something they’d worked on I would add a little note recommending some of my favourite places.
Conversations are supportive, insightful and positive. Honestly, every interaction I have makes me feel more comfortable about being in the group. It’s not often you find a bunch of women – especially thousands within one group – who are this supportive and understanding online.
Baby steps is all it takes. Even just being in the Facebook group helped me tackle my loneliness. Here was a group of women who all wanted the same thing that I did: to make social connections and be in a supportive place where they could create friendships.
The confidence they inspired within me helped me make friends within the network, at work and with my housemates. It benefits your mental health to know people are feeling the same way as you and the positive effects of that connection extend into the rest of your interactions.
Meeting up… in person?!
The next step: heading to an event and meeting up with some of the girls in person. I was scared. I was anxious. But you know what? Nobody in this network expects you to be totally okay with showing up to an event where you don’t know anyone. They know how nerve-wracking it is. They know that you might need a buddy and they plan for it.
I suffer from anxiety and I am not good when it comes to walking into a room full of people I don’t know.
What if I’m too much? What if I’m not enough? What if everyone thinks I’m a giant weirdo?
Knowing that once I get to the event someone will be looking out for me was a lifesaver. You’ll see people post in the group looking for buddies for events too, so you know you’re not alone.
Now I have a wider network of friends to whom I can turn when I am in need of fun, advice, an outlet for acknowledging my insecurities and a place where I can give back. You’re never alone when you’re part of the City Girl network.
How to get the most out of the City Girl Network
Participate in the posts on the Facebook group or on the events in Meetup
Free one day? Set up in a café and let people know you’re there
Go to events! Use it as a chance for career development, go to speed friending to find some friends or head out for a meal to try a new restaurant
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Friendship doesn’t appear out of thin air. Making friends comes with time and before you know it you will have clicked with someone after making a random comment
Pay it forward or give back. Once you’ve made some friends don’t forget how you felt when you were new. Help people out by commenting on posts, suggesting cafes and even offer to meet someone before an event if they’re feeling nervous. We’re all in it together!
Shout out loud about the City Girl Network! We’re the best ambassadors for this brand and if you’ve had a great experience then shout it from the rooftops! There are millions of girls around the world who would benefit from City Girl Network, we just have to get the word out there!
Written by Rowena Grant
You can find her occasionally writing on her blog The Unprepared Traveller but will have more luck finding her posting random things on Instagram that in no way fit with any sort of personal brand: @rowena_rat & @theunpreparedtraveller