Learning the Dance of Making Friends in a New City

Moving to a new city is hard. Anyone who has lived in multiple cities, states or even countries  understands what it means to be the Jess in New Girl all too well (sans the apartment full of quirky, childlike men as roommates.)

If there is anything you desire most when moving to a new city, then it is friendships. Not those people who rarely call or text. Not those people who go out with you every once in awhile to capture an Instagram worthy pic. True, real, unadulterated friendship. You want it, but when moving to a new city, it can seem intimidating and overwhelming.

Here are some tips on how to make real friends:

1. Get involved in things you care about.

Moving to a new city is a great opportunity to get involved in causes and organizations you care about. Once you do, you’ll meet people with similar interests and passions. A guaranteed conversation starter and a road to meet like-minded people.

2. Step outside of your comfort zone.

In a new place, there will be ample opportunity to try new things. Do things you normally would never agree to. By taking a chance and adventuring into the unknown, you will expand your net and meet people along the way. Don’t forget to smile.

3. Say “yes” more than you say “no.”

After a long day of work, the last thing you want to go do is try that cardio kickboxing class your coworker invited you to or go to on coffee date your neighbor suggested. Do it! The more you are willing to be open to people, the more friends you will make.

4. Network, network, network.

The word “networking” can seem intimidating and nerve-wracking, but what it really boils down to is asking questions and listening. Find ways you can help other people and ask them for help when you need it. Networking means learning to connect and take an interest in people.

While we of course all want friends, we also don’t want to settle. Here are some bonus tips:

Don’t try to force anything that isn’t organic.

Making friends is a lot like dating. If the puzzle pieces don’t fit in a relationship, then you part ways. Same thing goes for making friends. If there is no real chemistry or you just don’t click, then it is perfectly OK to let it run its course.

Flaky or inconsistent behavior is a red flag.

Someone who says one thing and does another, someone who constantly cancels (of course unless they have a legitimate reason) or someone who only comes around when they need something, stop the friendship. Not only should you stop it, but you should actively move in the opposite direction.

Never beg.

Never beg anyone to be your friend. If you are always the one initiating or asking to hang out and their response is always delayed, they cancel, are indecisive or (worst of all) never respond at all, let it go. Never beg. You are too valuable for that.

This post originally appeared on FabFitFun.

How the Job Hunt Is a Lot Like Dating (and How to Deal)

Dating is rough — especially in today’s millennial, app-driven, and instant-gratification society. The game of going to countless dinners with different people, having numerous awkward first dates, and swiping left and right based on a cursory glance, is not an easy process. And the job hunt is no different.

Both dating and job searching is so much alike, in fact, that you can’t help but laugh at the similarities.

It’s always a waiting game. You send in your resume, cover letter, and references. Then, you wait. HR emails you to set up a phone call and you respond right away. Then, you wait. You nail the phone call, they ask you to come in for an in-person interview and you agree. Then, you wait. You interview and follow-up with a thank you. Then, you wait. It sounds a lot like waiting for a guy to text back, waiting to see if a guy will you ask you out again, and waiting to see when he might call.

There’s a lot of uncertainty. With job searching, there aren’t any guarantees. So often in the job search, a person will walk away feeling like they’ve landed the position, only to not receive a job offer. Same goes for the dating world. Those who date are in on-again, off-again relationships or are in relationships they thought were for the long haul but suddenly ended. However, with all the uncertainty, comes a chance for adventure and an opportunity for something great.

You want the best fit for both parties involved. The older you get, the more you understand this rule of thumb in job searching and dating. You want a career and relationship with a person who is the best fit for you and for you to be the best fit for them. There’s no room for settling. If the pieces don’t truly fit, then you’ll only be doing yourself a disservice in the long run.

The initial interview (or date) is nerve-wracking. The first date butterflies are all too familiar. They’re similar to the experience of going on an interview for a job. You want your hair, your outfit, and your makeup to be just right. Whether you’re meeting your future partner or your future employer, you want to impress the other person sitting in front of you.

Confidence is key. You have to know who you are, what you want, and what you bring to the table. If you’re not confident, then the job recruiter or potential boo will see right through you. Know your worth, and you’ll find the right job and person for you.

This post originally appeared on FabFitFun.

How a Layoff in My Mid-Twenties Gave Me the Jumpstart I Needed

“You are good enough.”

I sat across the table from a friend in a dainty coffee shop on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Her words reverberated across the room, bouncing off the table, clanging across the window chimes, spinning around the revolving door back to slap me in the middle of the face.

Good enough? Am I really?

In that moment and in the weeks leading up to it, questioning my worth had become the norm. I sat there, hair in a messy ponytail, wearing oversized sweatpants, clearly too underdressed for the swanky shop, pondering her words, the simplicity of which left me befuddled. A true moment of authenticity and profundity on a cool, February evening.

Two weeks prior I had been laid off from job, abruptly, unexpectedly and painfully. It was my first big girl job in L.A., an editor job at that. I was pursuing my passion of writing while living in the City of Angels. My dreams were coming true, until suddenly my train was derailed from the track. The dream I had been holding so dearly had been swept out from under me.

I was at a loss.

In the weeks and months post job layoff, I would learn enough lessons to write a book. Lessons about rejection, bouncing back, how a “no” isn’t always a bad thing, the importance of an emergency fund and the value of authentic friendships during hard times. In these lessons, there are some universal truths I have found that apply to any rejection, whether it be a job loss, a breakup, a “no” from a college or university or a friendship ending. Sometimes, the most painful events that seem like endings to a story are often the beginning of a new, better story.

1- Rejection forces you to reevaluate what’s important.

Prior to my job loss, I made a list of things I was passionate about as a part of my New Year’s resolutions. I wanted to focus on the areas and subject matters that deeply mattered to me, things that excited me to wake up each morning, things I wanted so desperately to help change and make better, things that I would work on even if there was no income. I came back to this list after my layoff, and I quickly realized that perhaps losing my job was a chance to pursue a career path that was more authentic to my own passions. This season of my life has helped me to become reacquainted with the woman staring back at me in the mirror, what matters most to her and the kind of work she is most passionate about.

2- An unexpected turn can lead to unexpected opportunities.

In my time without a full-time job, I have decided to say “yes” more often. I say yes to things that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do with a full-time job like going to museums, volunteering, taking on freelance work, trying out morning and afternoon workout classes and going on coffee dates with friends. Sometimes a closed door redirects you and opens you up to other opportunities and doors that may not have been available before.

3- Life’s hard realities not only act as teachers but help you to help others.

So many people have been where I have been before. So many people will be where I am standing once this is all a memory to me. At first I felt so much shame about losing my job. I told friends that I felt like I had gotten all A’s in adulthood and then all the sudden had been handed a D. However, I realize now that a job loss doesn’t make me a failure. It makes me human, and if anything, it gives me empathy to understand other people struggling with rejection of any kind.

4- You realize where your value lies.

Sometimes, we hold onto things so tightly that they start to define us. When we lose them, we lose sight of who we are. We all desire love and success, but it is life’s greatest balancing act to not allow those things, what we do, the passions we have and the people we love, to define us.

What’s for me will be mine. I won’t have to beg, plead, bend or break for it. What and who is for me, will be, pure and simple. I have learned and am still learning to hold the things and people in my life with a loose grip. To embrace them but to not be defined by them. To not allow the absence of a thing or person to break me.

5- During life’s storm, your roots grow deeper.

I hate cliches, but they are typically accurate. As the saying goes, “When it rains, it pours.” I am learning, though, that the rain isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Rain helps you grow, and when you are faced with adversity, it really shows you how strong you can be. I have been reminded of my own inner strength to keep pushing forward and to get back up.

Life is hard sometimes. I don’t think there any other way to put it. Sometimes, life just sucks. It deals you an unexpected hand, and it is up to you to make the most out of it. As I sit in this season of rain in my life, I am reminded that I am not defined by the things that I lose. I look out with hope, knowing the sun will come again.

This post originally appeared on Darling Magazine.