If you’re relocating to a four-season climate, the chilly temperatures in winter can make you feel like hunkering down under a blanket with the latest streaming miniseries. But be realistic: You can’t just stay indoors like a hermit until the crocuses start sprouting.
While it probably feels awkward to interact with people you’ve never met, you’ll need to get past that. Here are some ways to put yourself out there and warm up to the people and activities in your new neighborhood even when it’s cold outside.
Do the Legwork Before Stepping Out
Get to know your new city online. Even smaller towns usually have a website or Facebook page. There’s also the local Chamber of Commerce as well as calendars at the community center and places of worship. Local retailers will also have the inside scoop on what’s happening. Chat them up.
A word of advice: Online activities are no substitute for in-person meet-ups and interactions. Do your research online and your socializing outside in the wider community.
Walk Your Dog – or Yourself
No matter what the temperature, furry friends still need frequent outside time — and most people have semi-predictable schedules for pet walking. No pets at home? There’s nothing wrong with walking around the block once or twice on a nice winter’s day.
The trick here is keeping expectations modest. Whatever happens, happens. At the very least, you’ll be getting some exercise and learning the lay of the land. You don’t want to appear desperate — or even worse, come across as a pest.
Lend a Hand
Is the neighbor across the street struggling to clear a snowy sidewalk? Showing up with a shovel, a smile and some pet-safe ice melt is bound to lead to an introductory convo and perhaps even a cup of something warm and soothing. Remember, even the simplest acts of kindness say volumes about you as a good neighbor and potential friend.
Get Involved in a Sport or Activity
Of course, joining a gym, museum or a country club is a surefire way to meet new people any time of year. However, in winter something as simple and spontaneous as sledding on a neighborhood hill or ice skating at a local rink or pond will do just as well. Even an inexpensive year-round sport like bowling tends to bring out the sociable side of people.
If you’re an avid reader, join a local in-person or online book club. It’s a perfect way to meet with people who share a common interest without emptying your wallet.
Volunteer in Your Community
Around the holidays, volunteer opportunities abound. But when you think about it, people in need of help and support don’t vanish abruptly after New Year’s Eve. Communities of all sizes have ongoing opportunities for volunteering. It’s a chance to meet groups that share your sense of community responsibility and help others at the same time. Not sure where to discover volunteer opportunities in your hometown? Check out websites like VolunteerMatch.org and Idealist.org,
Bring Your Work Computer to a Coffee House
With so many of us working remotely, a trip to the local Wi-Fi-equipped coffee house can be a wonderful change of pace. Of course, you still have work to get done, but allow yourself enough coffee breaks to strike up an impromptu conversation with someone who’s also enjoying a bit of downtime. Not currently part of the workforce? A book is just as good.
Dine Out in a Community Setting
Instead of automatically gravitating toward a booth, find a local restaurant with community dining tables. It’s an easy way to enjoy a casual back and forth about the cold weather or your favorite foods without it seeming forced or awkward. The same can be done in a bar or jazz club; just be sure not to overindulge.
Be an Involved Parent – Up to a Point
If you have school-aged children, taking part in the local parent-teacher organization can not only help kids in the community but improve your social life as well. As mid-year transferees, your kids are making some major adjustments themselves and knowing the goings-on in your local school system can be immensely beneficial. Once they’re settled into their routine, encourage your kids to invite their new friends over — and resist the temptation to hover.
Need professional movers to help with your winter move? Get a quote from United Van Lines today.
Will you need help settling in? Check out our other blogs for moving tips and packing advice, as well as city guides and a wealth of other helpful, time-saving information.