New in Town? Master the Meet and Greet

When you move to a new city, it can be tough to make new friends, let alone meet women you'd like to date. Beyond the obvious online dating sites, consider finding groups of people with similar interests to make your search for potential pals and partners easier.

Make New Friends
When you move to an unfamiliar place, your Facebook account should not be your only connection to friends. Keep in touch with the ones back home, but make new ones too. Search your city and state in Facebook to find pages for restaurants and bars, band schedules, radio stations, or outdoor festivals and concert arenas. Read the comments on those pages and get some clues to what's happening and popular. Then if you explore the events in person, you just might find some friendly face-to-face connections.

Do Your Research Online
Other online resources can help you find activities and groups centered around similar interests. For instance, if you go to the website and search on your city and state, you're likely to find meetup groups for fitness, dancing, outdoor activities, professional networking, creative activities or just plain dating. You can test the waters by communicating with group members online and then going out and meeting them in person. If you don't hit it off with the first group, don't give up, try another.

Be Nice to Neighbors
Although online connections can take some of the pressure off making friends, don't forget the old-fashioned neighborhood network. Be friendly with your neighbors and they'll be friendly back. Offer to lend a hand when you see someone shoveling snow, unloading something heavy or doing difficult yard work. If you lend a gardening tool, conversation naturally follows. Then when you get comfortable, invite some neighbors over for a drink or to watch a sporting event.

Work It at the Office
At work, keep your ears open when colleagues are discussing happy hours or other gatherings. Ask friendly questions that show your interest and you might be asked to join them. And don't turn down invitations for cookouts or parties - even if you suspect the guests will all be married with children. You just might make some good friends or meet another oddball single at the family-friendly party.

Pay for It for a While
Taking a class is a good way to get to know other people in your area. Whether you're participating in an exercise class, cooking new recipes or tasting fine wines, you'll be in close quarters where talking to each other is expected. Sooner or later you'll connect with some of your classmates, and then you can plan your own extracurricular activities and get better acquainted.

With all these options, you have to be a little brave and stick it out beyond the awkward first attempts at conversation. Like any relationship, communication usually gets better over time. Try to move a little beyond your comfort zone, and it may pay off with a great new network of friends and potential sweethearts.

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