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s/o Adjusting To a Move - How can others help?


Hobbes
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For those of you who have moved long distances and taken a while to adjust, what did you find most helpful from those you met in your new place? Say at church - would you like new friends to offer a lot of help and interaction, or to leave you space to initiate relationships? Etc...

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When we moved to our current city, the wife of one of my husband's colleagues took it upon herself to introduce me around.  She invited me out to dinners with her friends, set up lunches with people she thought I should meet (for both personal and professional reasons), etc.  I was so grateful to her and will always remember what she did.  

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We move a lot. I appreciate just friendliness.  I tend to be shy, so it's really helpful when someone approaches me. But that's probably a personal opinion.

 

Oh, and ideas of places to go/hang out.  I never know the good coffee shops/parks/playgrounds. 

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Thank you for asking.

Please invite us to spend time with you. Please introduce us to your friends. Please consider offering to be our children's emergency contact. Every time I move, the moment that send me into utter despair is the moment when I find myself trying to fill out a paper for an extracurricular or some such thing and they request a non-parent emergency contact. It makes me cry every time. :-) Please tell us your recommendations for doctors and dentists and swimming lessons. Give us the info on where to find the grocery deals and the best prices for gasoline.

 

Please don't wait for us to initiate relationships. I don't know about where you live, but everywhere I've lived in the US, it's considered rude to invite yourself to join other people, or to invite yourself to their home. A family new to the community is trying to establish their doctors, their education, figure out how to find the grocery store, and smile throughout, all while unpacking and organizing (which always takes longer than it should). They aren't in the place to invite YOU over to their home right away, but they want friendship. So, please, initiate. If you end up liking us, consider remembering us for holidays and invite us to join your family. We likely don't have any around and holidays are lonely (we might invite you too...I know my family always try to get our new friends together to make our holidays bright).

 

And don't be afraid to initiate friendship because you might get trapped in a weird relationship. Anyone who has moved a few times knows that you meet lots of people and a few click really well, while others become people you smile at and say hello to at the grocery store or at church. It's ok. :-)

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If you can find people who have a shared interest, find a way to do that together.  Eg. if you like to paint, and find that someone in your church or neighborhood does, too, find a way to go on a painting outing.  Or to a museum with paintings.  One of the nice things about doing this is that you get acclimated to your new location as well.  If you like to knit, find a knitting store that has a group and you can connect with people there, and find other things to do together.  

 

And if you are involved in a church, find a way to contribute in group efforts.  Seems to me there is always something that needs doing at our parish, like cooking for the Salvation Army or painting the walls or bringing food for potlucks or bringing food to new moms or the bereaved.  Sign up for those things; you get to know people in a lot of different ways that way.  

 

Like people have said, you don't necessarily become best friends with everyone, but you do get to know people and a couple will stand out as those you can do things with over longer periods of time.  

 

Hang in there.  :0)  

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Include the newcomers. Invite them to your home, for play dates or coffee. Invite them to come along to playgroup, book club, choir, women's center, zumba class... Knowing one person there (you) will make it easier for them to attend - they may not feel comfortable otherwise.

Talk to them when you run into them. If the woman is a SAHM, she may not have spoken to another adult than her husband in days or weeks.

Edited by regentrude
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Yes, invite!

 

And don't assume new people know the _things_ about your town... Where to find info, how far away things are...

 

And then just in general, be cool. If I'm established at a place and at some kind of get-together and folks pair off into side convos, I have SOME kind of context for it, like oh Sheryl and Maggie's husbands are both pilots so they have that in common... Whatever the situation is. But when I'm brand new, at a place I managed (it feels like) to weasel my way into and people pair off...I don't know which convos are copesetic to screw up the balls to just walk up to and get involved in, ykwim?

 

Just keep in mind that new people have zero context for their surroundings. So smile and be nice and be a normal person around them. Don't assume they didn't come to that thing last weekend because they had something else to do... Probably they had no idea it was going on. Oi the worst is when you bust your butt to join some group and then a party is spread by word of mouth... Everyone in the group is invited...But if you don't happen to hear about it, because no one is chatting with you, you are de facto not invited.

 

God, moving can be so lonely.

 

Eta--and and keep in mind that moving is HARD with kids, man. So extend an extra heading of grace. It's jarring and exhausting, and we almost always get sick right away, to boot.

Edited by OKBud
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Thank you for sharing all this. I'm not naturally good at reaching out, but my parents tend to be and I'm personally trying to be more warm and welcoming. We go to a large church with a lot of people in a city where people come and go. I've never been the person moving, so it is so helpful to get advice from that perspective.

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Yes, invite them to things and tell them about the area. Our area has really friendly people, but still, a lot of things are well kept secrets, probably because it's so rural. If you live in one of the rural towns like I do, you don't necessarily see the same people at the grocery store, church, and the library. Even after ten years, there's still a lot I don't know about the area.

 

Realize that new people don't always know the local names for roads and buildings. "The Old Smith Farm on Jones Road" means nothing to me if the maps/websites call it "Wagner Estate on Rt. 13." When we lived in Boston, people would talk about "the 128," and it always took me a second to remember that they meant the road I knew as 95 near Newton.

 

If you run a Homeschool or other group, you could talk to your local librarians about having a flier up or just having your contact info on hand to give out.

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