How to Make Friends in a New Community

By Anna Zimmerman, MakeMyMove Director of Program Development • Dec 28, 2022

As we head into 2023, you might be setting goals, cultivating intentions, or choosing a word for the year. Maybe you’re wanting to read more books, spend more time with loved ones, or maybe, you’d like to increase your friend group. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Research says that most adults have a hard time making new friends, and of course, the pandemic didn’t help this trend. Remote workers may also face tougher challenges here, because research also suggests that the friends we are making come from our workplaces. Google around and you’ll find plenty of help navigating how to make friends as an adult. Even with supportive partners and loving families, we still need friends. In fact, according to this research by Dr. Miriam Kirmayer, “Our friendships are one of the most important predictors of our health and happiness.”

So, to help you think differently about how to make friends in 2023, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 ways to make new friends and the communities on our site that are offering remote workers these opportunities!

5. Volunteer

Here are three communities that want you to get involved:

  • Crawfordsville, IN: 1-year non-profit board seat

  • Wabash County, IN: Board & Committee Volunteer Role Matchmaker Service

  • Richmond, IN: Ambassador Network to help you get connected to locals with similar interests, organizations and boards that further causes you care about

Participating in group fitness activities is a great way to make friends outside of the office place.

4. Get active!

Whether you’re going to the gym or playing in an adult sports league, getting active in a group setting can help you build connections over time, which research also suggests is an important part of developing new friendships.

Here are three communities offering gym memberships/ways to get active:

  • Lincoln County, KS: 1-year membership at Post Rock Fitness

    • BONUS: Day Trip/Ride with Post Rock Mountain Biking Club

  • Henry County, IN: Free gym membership

    • BONUS: Get your kiddos involved with a Free Youth Sports Registration!

  • Terre Haute, IN: 1 year Union Hospital gym membership

    • BONUS: Go watch some college sports with passes to Saint Mary of the Woods and Rose Hulman Institute of Technology athletic events!

Community events are a natural place to make friends in a new city.

3. Go to community events

Making new friends as an adult can start by simply showing up to local events that your community cares about.

Here are three communities that want you to experience some of the best they have to offer:

  • Marion, IN: Holiday Walkway of Lights Season Pass, and Guest Judge the Window Decorating Contest

  • Owensboro, KY: Two 4-day tickets to ROMP Festival 2023

  • Greensburg, IN: "Seat at the Table" to Biggest Annual Community Events

2. Join a local organization

Joining a local organization, like a Chamber of Commerce, can get you connected and will give you the sustained interactions that help friendships grow.

Here are three of our communities that are offering organizational memberships to remote workers:

(BONUS: 1-year Social Membership to Crawfordsville Country Club!)

No water cooler? No problem! Try taking a class - learn a new skill and maybe meet a new friend to boot.

1. Take a class!

Remember how easy it seemed to make friends in school, recreate that magic (without the boring homework *fingers crossed*) by taking a class!

Here are three communities that are investing in your learning and future friendships:

  • Owensboro, KY: Free banjo, fiddle, or mandolin lessons with a local instructor

  • Marion, IN: Free Community Garden plot and Garden Planning Session (okay, this isn’t technically a class, but you do get help planning your garden in a space that’s sure to grow friendships right alongside your tomatoes!)

  • Crawfordsville, IN:  Art Classes at Athens Arts

If you’re a remote worker who’s wondering how to make more friends this year, these communities have you covered. They put these incentives together to help you get integrated into the community, so that you feel welcome, find friends, and stay connected.

About MakeMyMove

Remote work has freed millions of Americans to live where they want, and many are making the move to places that better match their lifestyle. In turn, cities and towns across the country are offering incentives like cash, perks and programming to remote workers who move and work from their communities. At MakeMyMove, you can explore all the places, get personalized help to find the one that’s right for you, connect with locals, and access support to make your move a piece of cake.