1. Have something to look forward to.
If you're dreading your new life already (and haven't even made it there yet), try planning some fun trips around where you're going to live. Look up some local places to eat, events going on around the time you move out, historic or iconic places to visit. When you start knowing your area better, you'll be more excited about getting out there. Moving to LA, it wasn't hard to be excited about all the things to do, but wherever you're going, you can be sure there's something new and unique to do there.
2. Be curious.
This ties in with the last point. The last thing you should do when you move to a new area is to shut yourself into your house. It's a surefire way to never meet anyone or find anything to get involved in. So don't be afraid to ask around! See what the locals do. Ask them where they go to eat, shop, hang out. Get lost in a part of the city. Go places where you don't have an exact destination. We've found a lot of great places by accident, just by letting ourselves explore.
And Google Maps is your friend! 90% of the restaurants we go to are thanks to us looking up highly rated places around us and then trying them out. You can google almost anything these days, so start searching around you.
3. Expect to be lonely and come up with a plan.
Okay, the first part sounds depressing, but let's be realistic. Unless you're moving to a place where you have family or friends already, you're probably going to be alone a lot more than usual. And that's normal. So instead of getting sad, you need to come up with a plan for how to get out of that lonely feeling as soon as you can.
When I'm sad, I most likely won't want to do anything or go anywhere, so I have to plan ahead so I have something going on that I have to go to, even if I don't feel like it. Having the accountability will help when you're feeling down. Sometimes all you need is a little push to get out and be social.
4. Say yes!
Here are some ways you can make plans to keep from being lonely. If someone asks you to do something (and it's not illegal or too dangerous), say yes. It'll open up the door to all kinds of opportunities for you. It's the way I've gotten so many great jobs I never thought I'd want to do. It's the way I've met some of my closest friends and had memorable adventures. No, it probably won't be comfortable at first, but when do amazing things happen when you're comfortable?
5. Find groups that share your interests.
How do you make friends as an adult? Or when you're not in school? One easy way is to find groups that share your interests. Whether that's a sports team, a choir, or a book club, making friends is so much easier when you already know what you have in common going into it.
My first week in LA, I joined a writers' group. And even though most people are a lot older than me, I haven't had such an invigorating talk about my love of writing than I did in that first meeting. Just being around people who are doing the same thing I am was worth the discomfort. And I actually met someone who also writes Christian YA fiction, which started our growing friendship. Again, it was scary showing up at the meeting for the first time, not even knowing what the other people looked like, but by the end, it was so much fun.
So start thinking. What do you love doing? Does your new town offer a club for that? How could you get involved? Do you need to start a group?
6. Find a church ASAP.
A church is pretty much a group of people with the same interests, but it's also so much more. As the body of Christ, the church should become your family, the people who are there for you, no matter what you're going through. Of course, this takes time and effort, so start as soon as you can.
Let me just say that you probably won't find the church that is everything you've ever hoped and dreamed. (I should probably write a separate post on this, there's so much to be said about it.) But find one that teaches solid doctrine, who's goal is to glorify God, and who is focused on bringing the members together to lift each other up.
6. Talk to God about everything.
You're never really alone, not when you have God by your side. No matter how lonely things get, you can always turn to Him. Be sure to use the extra time that you aren't spending with all your friends with Him. This is an important stage in your life, and it can be a huge time of spiritual growth if you let it be.
Moving is fun! There's so much to learn and experience. Yes, it's scary to leave the known for the unknown, but the right mindset will help you get the most out of it. Let me know if you have any more advice on making the most out of moving!
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