***SPOILER ALERT: It’s really freakin’ hard!***
It’s been seven months since I picked up my life and moved to another state…alone! And while I don’t regret my decision one single ounce, there’s a part of me that wishes things were a little different. Creating a new network, making new friends and putting down roots in a brand new place as a 30-something adult is hard! Though not surprising… as most of you know, I did it 10 years ago when I moved to Boston, but that was different. My network back in New York wasn’t as great back then because I had recently come out of college, and my priorities then were different, too. Now – 10+ years later doing it all again…man.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve been struggling a bit. Because I own my own business, I work from home – so that built-in work friend group that inevitably happens for most…isn’t a thing for me. If I don’t force myself to go out and meet people – it won’t happen. It takes a lot of strength and willpower to put yourself out there in a new place, and it was a challenge that I was willing to take on before I moved here, and am tackling every single day. But it’s definitely not easy.
I preach to my clients on a daily basis how important it is to be authentic and transparent so that people can truly build a strong connection and loyalty to their brand. So, in effort to practice what I preach (as you guys have come to know me to do!) – I wanted to share a little bit of where I’m at. Because as I’ve said before…social media (for example) tends to paint a prettier picture of what’s going on in people’s lives, rather than what’s ACTUALLY going on in life.
So, here’s my life right now in a nutshell:
My weeks consist of doing client work during the day, and then I typically google networking/business events happening in the city during the evening that I can attend. I’m thrilled to report that Raleigh has a really awesome network and the city is so community-centric that even though my business wasn’t built here, I’m being embraced into the community because I’m here now. It’s really a wonderful feeling. Business wise, I feel like I’m doing better than I am in my personal life.
Here’s the thing – I’m 33 years old. I have a lot of friends – and a few very, very special friends. There’s a part of me that thinks that’s enough. Sure, they’re all in different cities, but I love my friends and I love the relationships I’ve built with the people in my life. Do I really need more? The easy answer is (and I’m coming to understand this more and more every day…) – yes. It’s important. Those impromptu happy hours, or catch up dinners are important. And when your friends don’t live in the same city (let alone state!) – you still need a support system.
But meeting new friends is kind of like dating…its super freakin’ awkward. Like, maybe even more awkward. At least for me. So you really have to be confident and comfortable with yourself because if not…yikes! Thing is, even if you are confident, social events have a unique way of really taking you down a notch! There you are…drink in hand (because it’s actually needed), in the corner…by yourself…desperately trying NOT to take out your phone to mindlessly scroll because anything is better than looking like a loser that no one wants to talk to. While you sit in your head for what feels like hours…you try to scope out someone who looks interesting enough to chat with. Then – you spot them! Ok, good. Now, what do you say? How do you even start the convo? Hi, I’m so and so? WEIRD. Ok, maybe heading to the bar is better because then, you can at least comment on their drink choice, or the fact that the place is super loud, or how f’ing awkward this ENTIRE SITUATION ISSSSSS. Ugh. Rinse and repeat.
So, yeah – there you have it! My life in a nutshell. So fun, right? Ha! But in all seriousness, I’m very aware that things take time, and I know that in time I will create a new network for myself here because it’s what I want for myself. And if you’re reading this, then you know that generally…if I want something, I’ll do whatever it takes to get it.
I always say…I’d rather go all in on something – whether it works out or not – then have to look back and wonder – what if?