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How to Make New Friends After a Move

Tips on finding new pals when you have to leave your old ones behind

Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend and Thefriendshipblog.com, says the best way to find friends is to follow a passion — “and whether it’s golf, tennis, bridge or art, participate in your chosen activity regularly. That allows you to have contact with the same people over and over, and familiarity breeds friendship.” Nelson says it takes six to eight interactions between two people before they start to think of each other as friends.

Because it does take time, Levine says that in the early days after a move you should try to stay in contact with old friends so you don’t feel “overwhelmingly needy.” She also suggests finding out if those old friends have friends or relatives in your new location — meeting friends of friends is a great way to start making connections.

“Being open is important,” says Kathleen Marshall, 58, a former flight attendant who has moved 18 times throughout her career until retiring with her husband to an active adult community in Arizona. Now she’s in the process of building friendships from scratch. “It’s scary,” she adds, “but you just have to talk to everybody. I’ve been taking art classes and meeting people a little at a time.” The couple also joined a local church, ride their bikes everywhere and, Mandell says, are thoroughly enjoying their new life: “Change is really hard for people, but [they should know that] things can be even better than they were.”

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