Emotional Wellbeing


Mandy Kloppers

Creating Connections: Building a Support System After Moving to a New Town

Photo Source: Unsplash

Moving to a new town can be jarring. You’re unsure of your new surroundings and may feel like a fish out of water for your first few weeks. 

The loneliness of moving to a new town can be mentally draining, too. Being surrounded by strangers all day long can quickly take the wind out of your sails — particularly if you’re used to meeting up with friends and family. 

However, moving to a new town provides a great opportunity to reinvent yourself and create new connections. Meeting new people will change the way you see the world and can set you on a path toward self-improvement. 

New Hobbies

Moving to a new town represents a fresh start in your life. You can leave behind behaviors that bring you down and embrace new hobbies that bring you joy. Moving can spark personal growth, too, as your new home should support your interests. When moving, be sure to look for opportunities like: 

  • Volunteer organizations 
  • Inspiring sights (architecture, nearby nature walks, museums) 
  • Sports teams 
  • Book clubs and crafters 

You may be a little nervous about joining a new sewing society or a recreational football team. However, most folks who attend these events are welcoming to newcomers and remember what their first session was like. 

Make the most of your new hobbies by setting some realistic goals. For example, you may try to build three authentic connections in your first year in a new town. Make a note of your new pal’s birthday and be honest about your values. Be open with new friends and try to learn more about their interests. This will help you spot red flags early while building your support system. 

Adopting a Pet

Making friends when moving to a new town can feel overwhelming. You’re already juggling responsibilities related to the move and may not have the mental energy to meet up with people after work. 

If you’re struggling to settle in, consider adopting a pet. Pets are wonderful companions and can even improve your physical health. Adopting is also cheaper than buying a puppy or a kitten and adult animals are far less work. Bringing a pooch into your life can help you rediscover your purpose, too. You’ll see plenty of your new town when walking your new pup and will always have a caring presence to greet you when you return home from work. 

Adopting a pet can also help with conditions like anxiety. Pets boost your self-confidence and provide you with the support you need to feel settled in your new space. Feeding and exercising your pet gives your day much-needed structure, too. Responsibilities can also give you a sense of achievement and may help you feel enthusiastic about meeting new people. 

Embracing Change

Moving is inherently unsettling. Many people experience relocation depression and it’s not uncommon to experience symptoms like: 

  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Feeling numb or sad
  • Sleeping too much or too little

However, you can’t dwell on the change of scenery. Instead, try to embrace the change and it as an opportunity to build yourself back up. 

Consider seeing a therapist if you suspect the move is disrupting your ability to live a healthy, happy life. There’s no shame in seeing a therapist as each session can improve your quality of life dramatically. A therapist can give you actionable tips to build a support system and make new friends after your move. 

Common Missteps

We all make unusual decisions when we feel out of place. It’s all too easy to overlook red flags when you’re looking for new friends and you may suddenly feel tempted to head to the bar every night when you’re looking to build a support system. Other common missteps include: 

  • Staying up late into the night after moving
  • Forgoing exercise when you feel stressed
  • Turning to alcohol if you’re lonely
  • Clinging to new connections, even if they aren’t healthy

Try to foreground your mental health and well-being when moving. Spend more time exercising and trust yourself to find friends who make you feel authentically happy. There’s no need to rush the process, either. Give yourself permission to say “no” to people who haven’t earned your trust and turn down dinner dates that you don’t think will lead to healthy relationships. 

Remember to reach out to your old friends when moving. You don’t need to cut off the connection entirely when moving, as folks will likely want to visit in the future anyway. Try to schedule some video calls with your loved ones and ask trusted friends to help you put together your new space. This will give you a sense of belonging and help you feel tethered to your existing support system. 


Creating connections in a new town can be difficult. You may struggle to meet like-minded people at first and may feel pressured into participating in social activities that you don’t really enjoy. Instead, try to foreground your own health and well-being by taking up hobbies that bring you joy. You’ll likely find like-minded folks at book clubs and gyms, too.