Hello, I love your blog! In a few months I'll be moving to a new city for a new job. I've moved around before, but I've always moved with family members (which makes it easier I think) and this will be my first time living completely alone in a new place. I'm also a bit of an introvert and can have a hard time finding friends. Do you have any tips on making this transition a bit smoother and staying social? Thank you!
Living On Your Own (For the First Time)
1. PKW. Phone, keys, wallet. Every time you go anywhere. Check twice. The worst part of living on your own is having to rely on yourself to never forget to lock yourself out or leave your wallet at a sandwich shop in a mall. Make absolutely sure you have duplicates of your keys (I would get a couple made) and give one to a friend who lives nearby who you can count on. I also like to keep an extra set inside the apartment itself in a secure place, just in case. Your landlord can let you in during office hours, but giving a key to a trustworthy friend helps you 24/7.
2. Cleaning routine. You don’t have to sit down at a writing desk and draft this out, but spend a few minutes coming up with a basic cleaning regime for you to follow. It’s definitely easier to do a little each day, but if that doesn’t work for your schedule set aside at least an hour and a half during your time off to get your apartment spotless. I don’t know about you, but whenever I deep clean my apartment I feel like I’m living in a hotel for a day, and I absolutely love it.
3. Make a “moving” shopping list. This is everything you will need (minus food) for your first week at your new place. First aid kit, cleaning supplies, tape, cat food, etc. Your first week moving into your new place will be stressful enough, you don’t want to be halfway through setting up your living room and realize that you forgot to buy trash bags.
4. Secure yourself. I’m not the most agile or fast person in the world, and I do live in a mid-sized city that has a good deal of crime. The apartment complex I live in is very safe, but I still like to double lock my front door at night. It might be smart to keep some pepper spray or a baseball bat somewhere in your apartment, just in case.
5. Stay social. Even the most anti-social person gets lonely. Make sure to hang out with your friends, not just your co-workers, your actual friends. Get out off your apartment every few days and go see a movie, get a cup of coffee, go people watching at the park, etc. It’s easy to get depressed if you’re living alone and doing the same things the same way every day- allow yourself to mix it up.
6. Meal prep. It can be stressful and seem useless to cook complicated or “fancy” meals when you’re living on your own. Plan your meals for the week and make a list before going shopping. Get yourself enough food to make a variety of dinners that will only take you fifteen minutes. If you do want to go crazy and make steak and mashed potatoes for yourself, make enough for two meals. Also, nobody is going to think poorly of you for stocking your fridge with a couple frozen dinners.
7. Customer service. Living alone means that you are going to be doing a lot of talking to customer service representatives. Get comfortable talking to people over the phone. Tell the rep what you need as quickly as you can, and try to be polite because customer service at a phone center is a garbage job that doesn’t pay well. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to ask for a manager if you’re upset or unhappy with your service. Take their survey at the end of your phone call, tell them how unhappy you are. It’s someone’s shitty job to look at all those surveys, no complaint goes unheard. Companies with great phone service: Verizon, Apple, Amazon. Companies with awful phone service: USPS (literally the worst), electric companies, health insurance companies.
8. Guest space. This is not required, but it’s a good idea to have some sort of space for a friend to stay the night. A friend of mine had a bad breakup, showed up at my apartment with ten minute’s notice, and then fell asleep on my couch after an hour of crying. It as 7:30! Whatever, she needed it. Keep an extra blanket and pillow in your closet, I like to keep travel sized shampoos and conditioners in my bathroom cabinet on the off chance a guest wants to use my shower. I got these at a hotel for free, but they’re available at CVS and other pharmacies.
9. Toilet paper. Don’t let yourself run out of toilet paper! I like to buy more when I notice I only have one roll left. The same deal goes for paper towels.
10. Enjoy. Living on your own is simoltaneously exciting and exhausting, but an all around must-have experience. Enjoy the freedom to forget to make the bed, to decorate your bathroom however you want, to have ice cream for dinner, to watch reruns of Friends and cry when Rachel decides to move to France. Make sure to give yourself lots of space to move at your own pace, but please remember to eat three meals a day and to go to the doctor’s for a checkup at least once a year!
First things first- we as humans are social creatures. We seek out social interaction, even the most antisocial person in the world still needs the occasional stimulating conversation. Don’t stress about making friends, it’ll happen one way or another.
The best friendships are created organically, but that said, there are some things you can do to quicken the process.
1. Friends by proximity. Be social and inquisitive when meeting your new co-workers and that openness will help you create fast friendships. Ask lots of questions, people love it when you ask them lots of questions about things. Remember elementary school? Remember how easy it was to make friends then? You’ve got this.
2. Places. Hang out at places that you would normally hang out with your friends. Scope out cool bookstores and cozy coffeeshops, and be on the lookout for similar-minded people. Find reasons to talk to these strangers, whether that means asking them for directions, what they’re drinking, etc. The next time you run into them, you’ll be able to start up a conversation.
3. Events. One of the quickest ways to make lots of new friends is to join a group that meets weekly that does something that’s important to you. This could be anything from a book club, to a Dungeons and Dragons game, to volunteer work. Go to your local library and read the bulletin board looking for groups that interest you. You may have to get on the internet to find something close by. At the very least you’ll have a weekly social event to go to where you won’t feel out of place.
4. Neighborly. This next one depends on you, but if you have cool looking new neighbors introduce yourselves to them. Hit them up at random and say something casual like “I was going to go out for a drink, wanna join?” Planning things in advance puts pressure on acquaintances, so try to be spontaneous.
If any of my followers have any ideas, please chime in! And good luck!