Moving to a new city can be exhilarating—except for the fact that you have to leave behind pretty much everything you know about life, from your entire network of friends to your knowledge of exactly how long it takes to get to the nearest grocery store. The grocery store commute? That’s easy to work out. Making friends in a new city is where the challenge sets in.
Maybe you’re an introvert. Maybe you have a super-busy work schedule. Maybe you can’t even fathom thinking about friendship until you feel 100 percent settled and unpacked. Regardless of the reason, it’s worth reminding yourself on the regular as your take on this task: Meeting new people takes time and effort.
“When it comes to meeting new friends in a new city, you have to be patient with yourself,” says Shasta Nelson, friendship expert and author of Frientimacy. “A study came out last year that asked us how long it takes before it feels like we’re friends with somebody. We report that it takes 50 hours to go from meeting a stranger to becoming casual friends with that person and 80 to 100 hours to become real friends. After that, you’ll need to log approximately 200 hours to feel like someone is a best friend. Obviously, numbers vary depending on the person, but it’s a good reminder that friendship has to be developed, not discovered.”
In other words, you can’t expect to land on a brand-new social circle overnight. Nelson adds this piece of advice: “It’s important to look at it less like a treasure hunt where you’re auditioning people and see it more as a development. You’ve simply got to put in the time.”