Meeting new people can be challenging, but you might make new friends.

How to Meet Interesting People Your Age in a New Town

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Relocating to a new town where you don’t know anyone can be a little scary and unsettling. You don’t want to remain a stranger, so it’s important that you make time to meet interesting people your age. Opportunities for meeting new people will vary according to the size of the town, but some options remain the same, no matter where you go.

1. Be a Joiner

Maxwell Ryan, a life coach and founder of Apartment Therapy, suggests you join an organization or group where people with similar interests congregate. Join the PTO at your child’s school, the church up the road from you, a gym class where other moms hang out or a class at the local university or community center. Your local newspaper or community news channel will contain information about groups and classes. Your child’s school or daycare might offer a list of parents looking for play group members or offer ideas about parks and activities where parents like you can meet while your kids play.

2. Community Options

Check with the Chamber of Commerce for art museums, activity centers, community events and hot spots in the community. When you have a family, it can be challenging to find activities and places everyone likes and even harder to find friends that your husband or significant other and child will also like, explains Kara Baskin in the article, "Friends of a Certain Age" by Alex Williams. Couples making friends “is like matchmaking for two,” she says of her experience. Check all those places out, but realize your family may not bond with someone you like. You might be friends for lunch or concert night, but might not invite her over for a family barbecue.

3. Volunteer

Towns of any size are always happy to have faithful volunteers, and you can do that even if you don’t have a lot of disposable income, according to Royane Real, author of “Your Guide to Finding Friends, Making Friends and Keeping Friends.” Volunteer at your child’s school, the church, library, hospital or community outreach centers and meet the other workers. Some might not be in your age group, but might share other characteristics such as children, literary preferences or gardening. You can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others with your time and enjoy meeting others who feel the same need to give back.

4. Out and About

Be open to meeting interesting people anywhere you go. That can include trips to the grocery store, library, or the park where your child likes to play. You might not find one person who can fit all your friendship needs, suggests Williams. Friendships are harder to make happen as you get older, busier with life and more picky about those you let in your life, but not every interesting person you meet needs to become your lifelong pal. But, if you keep your eyes and ears open and a smile ready, you never know where the next interesting person will pop up.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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