What to do when the excitement of a new city wears off

You’ve had a whirlwind time lately and moved to a new city. After the house hunting and the excitement of decorating, and exploring your new neighbourhood, you may look around and wonder what’s next. We’re all different, and we take varying degrees of time to arrive at the same place: what was once an exciting move starts to feel like your normal daily life again. You know where to get your groceries and you’ve explored some of the ‘off the beaten path’ bits of your new home town.

With the excitement and newness wearing off, there is now space for other feelings. Like being homesick to your old town, missing your family and friends there and even your favourite coffee shops. The older we get the more difficult it is to make a new circle of friends too, as everyone who has lived somewhere long enough has their established circle of people and is busy enough as it is. Breaking into a new group of friends becomes harder that way, and it is only natural to miss your old circle too. You may start wondering if you’ve made a mistake moving.

Moving is stressful, and the grass is never greener on the other side. The new exciting job may be requiring longer hours, and the new people you’ve met have not turned into friends yet. Your old friends are moving on with their lives too, and you are catching glimpses of the fun things they get up to via social media, without being able to participate. It is not surprising this can be enough to send you into a downwards spiral.

Don’t let that happen and take charge with these tips to help you get through.

Reach out to people

Breaking into a new social circle takes time and effort. At first, a lot of that effort needs to come from your side. So, reach out to the people you met. Whether at work or networking events, or meetups and workshops. Reach out to them and ask them out for a coffee or lunch. One thing leads to the next and before you know it they will be returning the favor and inviting you out to things too.

Get active

Get out of the house and discover some new activities. Cycling from park to park, or by the waterfront (if your city has one!), hiking in a nearby forest, and more. There are bound to be people doing the same. Running clubs are always happy for new members, and cycling or hiking groups are probably not any different.

Invest in local

When I started spending more time in London, it was really nice when the nearby corner store owners wondered where I’d been when I was away on a work trip, or back home in Canada. Spending money at your local coffee shop, and becoming a regular at your local market, may not translate to friends but it does give you a few friendly faces who will ask how you are doing. And actually mean it.

Keep tabs on old friends

People don’t call each other anymore. It’s a world of whatsapp messages, snap chats and texts. Pick up the phone and surprise a good old friend with a ring. If they are busy, they won’t pick up and maybe you can schedule a time for a proper catchup. I often pour myself a glass of wine when talking to one of my friends, and we basically “meet for a glass”, even though it is virtual. It’s not the same as a real life hug, but it helps and it keeps you connected to those important in your life.

Plan a trip

You may need a vacation. Plan a trip, even if it is going back to your old hometown for the weekend. Or a big vacation far far away. Take a friend, old or new. Or just go on your own. Clearing your head can do wonders for how you feel about pretty much everything and bring a lot of perspective. You’ll come back with new memories, and chances are you will yearn for your (new) home while you are away.

Photo by Jon Tyson 


  • |Carly|

    when I moved to NY I was so excited to be living in the “big apple”, but after a few weeks I was overwhelmed with the rush of everything. I just couldn’t keep up and it was so different living there from visiting on a weekend city trip. Ultimately an opportunity came up to move to Chicago and I took it. Even so I get what you’re saying that firs tspark sort of goes after a while and then it is just annoying because it feels like home except you don’t know where to buy certain things, because you don’t really know the city that well yet. or you get lonely, a bit like you described. I joined and that’s been pretty good. Also eventbrite helps find stuff I am interested in that also helps me network.

    • Christine B.

      I’m glad you were able to make a change when you discovered New York wasn’t quite your cup of tea ultimately! Yes, I agree eventbrite and meetup are both awesome for discovering things to do. Depending on the city one is better than the other. In Amsterdam for example Eventbrite is not that well known, so there aren’t that many things to do. On the other hand is big in Amsterdam with lots of choice.

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