Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

November 7, 2017

The Complete Guide to Making Friends After Moving Out-of-State.

     This has been a post that I've been wanting to write since probably three weeks after moving here! However, I didn't quite feel qualified to write on this subject just a few weeks after moving, so I told myself that this would be a fitting topic to finally broach on the blog after the six months post-move mark. Six months is enough time to really get used to and settled in a new job, new apartment/home, new city/state, and new way of life in a new state. With that all of course comes making new friends, dating (if you're single), and overall just a total change for your social life in general!

How to Make Friends after moving Out-of-State

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     As most of you know, I'm originally from here in New England (small-town coastal Maine), and I moved to North Carolina five years ago for college. I actually struggled a lot during my high school years- I honestly felt like I really didn't make good friends until my senior year of high school, and the first three years of that time of life brought a lot of trying, crying, and loneliness in the friendship department. Anyways, thankfully my North Carolina years were extremely different from this! I made some of the most incredible friendships at both of my universities (If you're new here- I transferred after my freshman year, and finished my degree at a different university in Charlotte), in broadcasting school last year, and also through the blogging community in the Carolinas! I knew that moving out-of-state to pursue my dream of radio would make it hard to leave my wonderful friends behind, but at the same time I wasn't too worried. I had done so well in North Carolina making friends, that surely it couldn't be too hard to do this somewhere else?

     Wellllll.... Vermont has proven to be *quite* the challenge in the friend-making department. Now that I've been here six months and really settled into Vermont life, I see the friend-making debacle being the root of a few things. One is Vermont's culture. It's super different from southern city life, and even different from Maine in some regards. Native Vermonters tend to be more private and family-oriented people, and into adulthood seem to focus less on social relationships. (Not saying people don't have adult friends here!! It just doesn't seem to have the same importance in lifestyles as I saw in Charlotte.) Vermont is also a small state and Burlington is a small city, which makes it hard to break into as a newcomer. I'm very much in the minority to move here for a job actually! Some Vermonters have to leave the state to find work in their respective employment fields, as there isn't much industry growth here. Charlotte on the other hand is one of the top cities in the country right now for young professional transplants, so in addition to being a big city, it's also a city filled with tons of new residents, who are similarly looking for new friends. Vermont... not so much.

    With all that said to give you some background about the differences with Vermont and Charlotte, I finally wanted to share all the ways that I've tried to make new friends since moving to Vermont! A few of these things I did back in Charlotte after graduating college as well- as during my year in broadcasting school last year I wanted to try and broaden my friendships and make some new "adult" friendships there too. I thought the best way to write this post would just be to write out absolutely everything that I've tried and how I did it/what it is, and then explain if it worked for me or not, and if I'll try it again in the next state that I move to for work.

     I'm writing this blog post from the perspective of moving to a new place in post-grad life- as personally I think college is a really unique four years, with lots of great social opportunities built into everyday life! But if you are a college student, you could definitely try some of these things in addition to making friends on your campus.

     1. AT WORK: This one is kind of a given if you've just moved for a new job! Work will probably be a lot more pleasant and fun each day if you're friendly with your coworkers. I have heard many times before about the dangers of becoming too good friends with someone you work with, kind of like the dangers of dating a co-worker. Sometimes office best-friendships can go south, and that can end up causing a toxic work environment. But I think it's definitely great if you are friends outside of work to some degree with coworkers!
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Can I say both yes and no? My coworkers are a really nice bunch of people, and were very welcoming to me moving to Vermont! My desk at work is actually up in the sales department, and I kind of think all the sales people as my second (and third and fourth and fifth, etc) moms and dads here in Vermont! Some of them have children close to my age, so it's been nice for me to have such kind and caring older coworkers. Unfortunately, I am the youngest at our radio company by a good few years. I'm also one of the only single people in the company, so just about all of my coworkers are all settled with relationships and families. Because of that, we don't always have too many of the same interests outside of work, but coworker relations are definitely pleasant and friendly in the office and radio studios!
     Will I try this again somewhere else? Absolutely! I totally believe in being friends with coworkers. It would be awesome if wherever I work next is a younger company.

     2. AT CHURCH / BIBLE STUDY: It's no surprise if you're a regular reader here that my Christian faith is a big part of my life, and with that, I strongly value the community that comes with it. Church has always been something that's very important to me, ever since I grew up going! There are lots of social opportunities that can be found through a church. It can be a bit hard to make friends just be showing up one Sunday and attending a church, so involvement is key! Churches both large and small offer bible studies or small groups, many that focus on 20 somethings or young professionals. In Charlotte I was in a 20-somethings women's bible study, and here in Vermont I'm in a co-ed one. You can also meet people at church by getting involved through volunteering- churches have tons of ministry opportunities- everything from children's ministry, hospitality, worship, and serving the greater community through your church! And larger churches also offer things like retreats and conferences, which can be a great way to meet people.
     Did this work for me in Vermont? YES!!! This is one of the only things that has worked for me in Vermont. It did take me a good two months to find a church home here, but I've been so happy once I finally did. I'm involved as I mentioned in a co-ed 20 somethings bible study through my church, and this fall I've also gotten involved with some volunteering opportunities as well. One of my church friends knows a lot of people that go to a nearby different church in the Burlington area, so I've also started attending some social events at that church as well. The Christian community here in Vermont might be small and in the minority of the general population, but what I've discovered of it has been so welcoming to me and for that I'm forever thankful!
      Will I try this again somewhere else? OF COURSE!

     3. GYM / FITNESS: If you enjoy being physically active, chances are you'd enjoy being friends with people who enjoy the same sports or exercise regimens that you do. Trendy fitness classes were more of a thing back in Charlotte, and although I didn't have any gym memberships the last year that I lived there, I feel like I was always meeting girls last year who told me that they made some of their good friends at yoga or barre or spin class. My job here in Vermont graciously covers a membership at a local gym for all employees, so I was excited to start going to fitness classes again after moving here, and hopefully meet some friends through the gym. I was doing really well at attending regular fitness classes this summer up until my work schedule totally changed in August- I'm trying to get back on a good gym schedule though!
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Yes to fitness, but no to finding friends. As I said, my work generously covers the membership fee for employees at a local gym, so that is one less thing that I have to account for in my monthly budget! However, I didn't find that the fitness classes at my new gym were a great place to meet friends. Most of the ladies in the classes I went to were much older than I am, or kind of kept to themselves. It wasn't a super social environment. Burlington does have a Pure Barre studio, as well as a spin studio which I've heard is popular with young women in the area... but I just can't justify spending money to go to either of those places when my work is paying for a gym membership somewhere else!
    Will I try this again somewhere else? Sure, why not! Just because it didn't work for me here in Vermont doesn't mean it won't work elsewhere. If the next place I work for doesn't cover my gym membership again, I'll probably try and go to some "trendier" fitness studios - haha!

     4. BUMBLE BFF: This is still a fairly new addition to the popular Bumble dating app, but I'm all for this added feature! Bumble BFF works very similar to the dating version of Bumble, where you make your own profile, and then swipe on others. Except with BFF, instead of swiping on boys, you're swiping on potential girl BFFs! It's really a great idea, and I'm surprised that a concept like this wasn't created sooner. I'm actually such a fan of this concept that I've done a sponsored post promoting it on Instagram before. I've met so many of my great friends already through the internet with blogging, and I've also tried my fair share of dating apps, so I'm definitely all about meeting people online. A lot of my girlfriends in Charlotte were using and having success with BFF around the time that I left there, so I couldn't wait to give it a try in Vermont!
      Did this work for me in Vermont? One big fat NOPE! I'm still kind of disappointed it didn't. I really gave this one a try. I went on multiple Bumble BFF "friend dates" this spring and summer. I just didn't feel a friend-type connection with any of the girls I met. BFF really is a lot like dating Bumble, you either feel a connection or you don't! The problem with using Bumble BFF in such a rural area like Vermont is that your options of people to swipe on are super limited. Seriously- I would swipe left on like three girls, then be out of options for a WEEK. It was pretty brutal. So then I just started swiping yes to everyone, whether we had anything in common or not, and meeting up with girls just because I was lonely and wanted more friends. And those meet-ups were usually just awkward. I finally just deleted BFF because it was seriously bumming me out in Vermont!
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Yes! Like I said- I think the Bumble BFF idea is a great concept, and where I have friends in Charlotte who've had success with it, I know that it absolutely does work. I think though it really works the best in major cities. If I find myself living in a big metro area soon, I might definitely give this a try again!

     5. MEETUP.COM: This is something that my mom encouraged me to join after I was really struggling in my first couple months up here (this is before I found the church that I now attend). My mom is an artist and photographer, and she's actually in a photography group that she found through, which she loves attending! Since she has had a positive experience with it, she told me about the website, and it was definitely worth looking into. is a website where people in the same local area can network or form groups based on shared mutual interests. The goal of the groups is the quite literally "meet up," either on a monthly or weekly basis, so that you can get to know others in your area. I gave this a try in my first couple months in Vermont, and looked for groups that matched my hobbies and interests outside of work. (as I didn't see any Vermont meet-ups for "radio" or "blogging.")
      Did this work for me in Vermont? NOOOO. This was the biggest no out of anything on here probably, lol! So Vermont didn't have a lot of meet-ups that applied to my age group and interests. I did join a couple of the groups online for 20 somethings or people who had recently moved to the Burlington area, but I still didn't get a very good feeling about any of them. One of the women's groups that I joined was having a meet-up at a local restaurant one evening so I decided to go. I actually showed up about 10 minutes late... and there was NO SIGN of anyone there from the meet-up! And like 15 people had said they were going. I confirmed that I was at the correct restaurant from the Meetup app, and then I asked the restaurant staff if they knew of a larger group coming in and they said they'd heard nothing about it. I'm still not really sure what all happened with that, but it was kind of an awkward experience and really discouraged me from using the platform again. Especially since none of the groups matched my interests *too much.*
     Will I try this again somewhere else? No. But I suppose I wouldn't rule it out as a last resort! Maybe in a really big city where there are a lot of specific niche groups for tons of interests and more groups for 20 somethings, I might consider it. But I'd probably try everything else on here first- haha.

     6. YOUNG PROFESSIONALS: Most US cities, both large and small, have Young Professionals groups. I'll explain in the next section about how I wasn't able to do this in Vermont, but since I haven't actually been in a YP group myself, I asked my blogging bestie Dana from Seersucker Sass to help explain! She's been involved with her local YP group for a few years, and even serves on the board. In Dana's words, "Young Professional networks help YPs find a sense of belonging in a community. Organizations will differ by community, but most provide members with social, volunteer, and professional development opportunities." Thank you Dana for helping to explain more about it- you're the best!! From my understanding about when I looked into the Charlotte one last year, Young Professionals groups are co-ed organizations, and sometimes run through the city's Chamber.
      Did this work for me in Vermont? Nope. I found the website for the Burlington YP group, and made a few attempts to contact the person listed as the president after I moved here. I never heard back. I also noticed that the website was pretty vague and hadn't been updated in quite a long time... so I'm not sure how active the group up here even is! It's something that I had meant to follow back up on this fall, but then my work schedule changed... and honestly I wasn't that impressed about what I found on it this spring.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Most definitely! Young Professionals is absolutely something I want to be involved with in my 20s!!

      7. JUNIOR LEAGUE: The Association of Junior Leagues, International is a non-profit, international organization for women, with almost 300 chapters in four countries! In simple terms, Junior League is kind of a like a sorority for adult women, except its focus is mainly on philanthropic work. I first became aware of Junior League's presence when I lived in the South, as their Charlotte headquarters were close to my university, and they were pretty prominent in the city with their community efforts. Had I stayed in Charlotte or the South in general, this is definitely something that I would have wanted to get involved in. I didn't realize that the Junior League actually had chapters all throughout the country and not just in the South, so I was ecstatic to find that there was a chapter even in Vermont! Philanthropy was one of my favorite things about joining Greek Life in college, and Junior League seemed like a great way to meet like-minded, community and career focused women in my new state. It's also similar to Greek Life in that members pay annual dues, and attend regular meetings, in addition to the philanthropic work. I attended a new member recruitment event for the Vermont chapter in August.
      Did this work for me in Vermont? Really sadly, it did not. I loved attending the new member recruitment event and was SO hoping to join, but this was unfortunately around the time that my work hours changed. With my radio schedule changes that came in August, I work too late in the evenings to attend the Junior League meetings. I am so bummed this didn't work out for me in Vermont, as I think it could have really opened the doors to some new friends and also some great volunteering opportunities.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? YES!! As I said, I loved learning more about Junior League when I attended their new member event, and I am so, so hoping to be able to join wherever I move to next! Truly an amazing women's organization.

     8. SORORITY ALUMNI GROUPS: Sorority girls- you must know the saying "It's not four years, it's for life!" This of course refers to the fact that once you're a sister of a sorority, sisterhood doesn't end on college graduation day. There are lots of opportunities to become involved with your sisterhood in post-grad life. Lots of them are volunteer opportunities related to working with collegiate chapters. You can serve as an advisor to a chapter, or volunteer with events like sorority recruitment at a college, if a chapter of your sorority needs extra volunteers. If you're looking to meet other post-grad sisters, I'm pretty sure that all Panhellenic sororities have alumni associations, with various chapters in cities and states across the country! My sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, had a pretty active alumni group back in Charlotte. I was pretty busy last year between broadcasting school, blogging, interning, and job applications, so I didn't have a lot of time to go to their events. But I was really hoping to get involved with ADPi again- either as a chapter advisor or with an alumni group when I moved!
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Nope. I quickly learned that Vermont didn't have an alumni organization for ADPi. While it isn't too hard to start an alumni organization for your sorority, it is a time commitment, and where I have a demanding day job and didn't know how long I'll be in Vermont, I didn't find that this would be the wisest thing for me to get involved in starting. I thought that it might be better for me to get involved with the collegiate ADPi chapter that is here in Burlington at the University of Vermont. I reached out to them both through my former ADPi chapter advisor in Charlotte, and also through an ADPi alum that I met here in Vermont who had previously served as an advisor. Unfortunately, neither effort lead to anything, and I ended up finding out that they didn't need any advisors for this school year.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Yes! I really would love to be involved in an alumni group for ADPi, and hopefully get to serve as a chapter advisor someday as well. I guess Vermont just wasn't the right timing for either of those things.

     9. NEIGHBORS / ROOMMATES: I investigated some roommate situations for my move to Vermont, but after five years of living with roommates both college and post grad in Charlotte, I really wanted to live on my own for a bit (especially since I didn't know anyone in Vermont). Even if you live alone though and don't have a roommate(s) to hang out with, it's still awesome if you live in an apartment or housing development that fosters community! Last year in Charlotte, I had friends in some apartment communities and neighborhoods that regularly planned events for residents. One thing that I definitely do miss about college life is having friends your age in such close proximity with dorm and on-campus life, so I love the idea of being good friends with neighbors.
      Did this work for me in Vermont? No. All of my close-by neighbors are much older than me.... like older than my parents. Lol! The plus side is that my apartment is very quiet and I haven't dealt with any noise issues since I moved in, but the negative of course is that where I ended up living definitely isn't a place to make friends.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Potentially! Like I said, I love the idea of living in an apartment or housing area that values community building and neighborly relationships, but that wouldn't be the top thing I'd value in finding a place to live (location, price, and amenities would be things I'd consider first, similarly to my search here in Vermont).

     10. BLOGGING: It's no secret that I met some of my favorite people in Charlotte through blogging! What started as a hobby for me during my freshman year of college has become SO much more, and I'm not just talking about the business side of blogging. The friendships that I've formed over the past five years have become irreplaceable and so special! At the time that I was growing my blog, Charlotte really was the place to do that. It's a huge city for blogging (Almost too huge now- I feel like a new fashion blog pops up everyday there now!), and there were always brand events to attend, bloggers to meet for coffee, and local businesses that were open to collaborating. I got to serve as the InfluenceHer Charlotte area Regional Chair for two years, and it was so fun to plan seasonal meet-ups for other IHC bloggers! I am also a member of The Blog Societies, and attended some of their Charlotte area meet-ups as well throughout the years. I always tell girls who ask me for advice about starting a blog that a huge part of blogging is the community, and you truly get back what you put into it! I was excited to see what the blogging community was like back in Northern New England.
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Yes, but differently than Charlotte. A few weeks after I moved here I first met Nicholle from Nicholle Sophia. We first connected via Instagram, and she's a total sweetie!! I've also gotten to meet Rebecca from Caravan Sonnet- I actually have been reading her amazing blog for years, and didn't realize that Rebecca was in drivable distance to meet-up in the Burlington area! It's kind of cool because back when I started blogging, no one that I knew of was doing it in Maine or New Hampshire, but now on Instagram I've seen a few people pop up closer to where I'm originally from! Blogging is slowly but surely spreading to Northern New England. In all honesty though, I seriously miss the amazing community back in Charlotte though, and all of the fun events! I still get PR event invites on a weekly basis to stuff in Charlotte. I think Vermont is YEARS away before stuff like that for bloggers starts happening here.... haha.
     Will I try this again somewhere else? OF COURSE! Seriously I have met some of my best friends through blogging... I can't imagine not connecting with this amazing community in whatever future city I live in!

      11. RISING TIDE SOCIETY: Rising Tide Society is a networking community filled with resources for those who work in the creative or entrepreneurial industries. They sponsor monthly meet-up groups across the country called TuesdaysTogether, in which anyone local in a creative industry is welcome to come and meet and network with other creatives. I knew one of the people who started up the Charlotte TuesdaysTogether group through blogging, and although I never went to many of their events, their Facebook group is actually how I found my former photographer, Deeana! A blogging friend suggested that I join TuesdaysTogether here in Vermont, to see if it might be a good outlet to make new friends. It was a great suggestion, and I went to my first Tuesday meeting this summer. I actually found one of my Vermont photographers, Amanda, through the local group here, so if you're a blogging looking for a photographer, Rising Tide/TuesdaysTogether is a GREAT place to do that!
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Yes and no! I was able to connect with Amanda through TuesdaysTogether, so that's already one huge win! I was able to attend two meetings before my new work schedule prevented me from attending more. I really enjoyed the amazing group of creatives who are in the Burlington group. They were such a friendly and welcoming bunch of people! I was the first blogger to go to a TuesdaysTogether meeting here in Burlington, but I loved hearing about everyone else's jobs in various creative industries like photography, small business ownership, the wedding industry, and more. Similarly to not being able to do Junior League, my new work hours prevented me from going to future meetings, so I haven't been able to keep going.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Yes. I'd preferably like to get more involved specifically with the blogging community, but Rising Tide Society is a great place to connect with photographers, and I did appreciate how welcoming the group was.

      12. CLASSES (EDUCATIONAL OR FOR FUN): The fun of being in the classroom doesn't have to end after you get your degree! Most community colleges let you sign up for individual classes in subjects that interest you, just to learn about something new. Most towns or cities also offer adult education programs with hobby-type classes (which cost less than community college), which can be a way to learn a new skill and also meet new people. Another place to look for classes if you're into DIYs is at local craft stores! I know that most Michael's and Hobby Lobbies offer things like cake decorating and sewing classes.
      Did this work for me in Vermont? Not something that I tried actually! I looked this fall into doing some crafting or baking classes at Michael's, but the weeknight ones started after I get out of work, which is the problem with a lot of things on this list. I'm definitely not opposed to doing a community college class in a field that interests me in the future, and it does seem like a cool way to meet people. However, going right into 10 months of broadcasting school after graduating college, I needed a bit of a break from traditional school this year! So this wasn't something that interested me a lot for this immediate stage in my life. I looked into local adult education classes, but didn't see too much that interested me.
     Will I try this again somewhere else? I might consider it!


     There you go! My complete guide to everything I can possibly think of to help with making friends in a new place! As you can see, I've definitely put in the time and effort to making friends here in Vermont. Unfortunately, my work schedule changes which happened in August, and the fact that the Burlington area is a very small city in general, both work against me, and I realize that. I'm hoping that wherever I do move to next will provide me with an easier transition to a new social life- but I know I went through the tough experiences that I did here in Vermont this year for a reason! I know that it will make me more grateful for future homes and social experiences, and not to take things for granted.

     If you've moved out-of-state recently, either for work or school, how did you make friends? Did you try these things that I shared, or did I leave something important out? Let me know in the comments!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese



  1. CUTE! Such a good roundup! Moving to a new city and making friends there can be so challenging. So many good ideas!

  2. I love this idea! I have really started to be "pushy" with asking people to hang out recently! After meeting fellow bloggers & other "transplants" I've been trying to hang out with someone new every week!

    I need to try Junior League though!

  3. Great ideas! I've tried Meet Up before but it never really worked out; for mine, I think there were too many people to really get to know anyone well to be honest. I like the idea of a friendship app. I've heard of some others that I might try out. You should see if there is a Geek Girl Brunch in you area - I'm an officer for the Cincinnati one and I've met a couple new friends through that (we don't have a lot of turn out at the moment, but always hoping for more in the future!)


  4. Making friends when you're from out of state can definitely be hard I'm sure. These tips are great though for any situation really.

  5. I still haven't tried Bumble BFF so I think I'm going to have to haha.

  6. Wow, you have tried so many things so far! I think that's great, I love that you've really put in the effort. I'm sure you will meet people with time, I know it takes time as it always has for me too. I've never tried Bumble BFF, I'd like to! But you're right, just as with dating on there it can be hard. I hope you meet friends soon love I'm sure you will xx

    Sending light & love your way,

    My Lovelier Days

  7. Moving to a new city is such a struggle. I've lived in Minneapolis for two years and I still don't feel like I have met a ton of people. I didn't know you were an ADPi... no wonder I loved reading your blog so much sister :)

    xoxo, Paige

  8. Love all of these things you tried! It can definitely be tough to find friends when you're in a new place. I keep hearing a lot of great things about Bumble BFF! Hopefully it'll work out soon for you!

  9. Loved this post! I live in Charlotte and love it. I'm sure you miss it. I had no idea they had a Bumble BFF! That's good to know. Hope your new radio career is going well, sounds like it is. So awesome you are pursuing your dreams.

  10. Can totally relate to the struggle of making new friends after a move. Never thought to try Bumble BFF though. Sounds sort of cool! Maybe I'd have better luck on that then with actual dating apps, ha!

  11. Girl, I could have used this post about a year and a half ago! Haha, this is such an important topic to talk about though! Like you, I moved province (I'm in Canada) after I finished university. I'm from near Toronto and Ontario very much has it's own vibe that I'm comfortable with and have grown up with. I moved to PEI (a small island on the east coast) for an internship and had such a hard time making friends. The islanders were super sweet people but it was incredibly difficult to actually break into the friend circles there. Needless to say I ended up back in Ontario and I think Ontario will always feel like home for me haha. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  12. These are great tips! Especially the first tip! I've made a lot of great friends from the places I've worked at :)

    Kristen |

  13. I would have given up after the first try! I'm glad you we're able to find a few different ways to meet people in this tiny little state- you are 100% an extrovert!

  14. A year ago, I moved to NC on my own and it was definitely difficult to make friends. I love this post and totally agree with all these tips! xx Carly |

  15. I've never heard of Bumble BFF but that sounds so cool! I've never been in this situation but I feel like your tips are perfect for anyone who is!


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