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How do you reconnect when you move to a new town?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Kritter47, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Kritter47

    Kritter47 Member

    Took me a while to work up the nerve to post this, but here goes nothing.

    I've been at my job for just about six months now. It's my first job out of college, first time living more than 30 minutes away from family. I lived in my own apartment for part of college, but my dad lived a half-hour away and we would meet up weekly for dinner and to talk. I met people with similar interests through my classes and found a group of friends I was very comfortable with. But now that group has scattered in the post-college exodus and, predictably, I've fallen out of touch with most of them.

    I don't know anyone in town expect for the people I cover, the people I pay my bills to and the people at work. It's a big enough town that there should be people somewhere I would have something in common with, about 100,000 people, but small enough and isolated enough that the usual things I used as ice-breakers (namely, playing a particular sport that doesn't exist at all here) are at least a three hour drive away.

    I don't know how to meet people outside of this though. Even the people I know through work are more co-workers than friends. I don't see any of them outside of office-related stuff. I went to the Christmas party but couldn't go to the Halloween party (held at a smoke-filled bar and I have asthma). I'm a lot younger than the rest of the sports staff and the only girl, and the copy desk, where the people my age are, is their own little group I can't seem to break in to.

    Part of the issue is I have a very, very mild form of autism that, among other fun things, makes me very awkward socially. I can't read nonverbal cues, I have only a passing familiarity with the unwritten rules of social interaction and I have a hard time in big, loud groups of people because of sensory overload problems. So the thought hanging out at a club or bar makes my skin crawl, plus what's more pathetic than the girl sitting at a table by herself because she doesn't know anyone there?

    Usually I'm perfectly happy to be on my own. But there's nights like tonight where I'm just really fucking lonely all the way out here. It leads to me being a whole lot more passive-aggressive than I like being because I want someone to ask how I'm doing so I can say "not so good" and vent.

    I know I'm going to be moving approximately 463 more times if I continue with this career, so I was hoping those of you that hadone this will have some sort of experience reestablishing a social network in a totally unfamiliar city.
  2. My first job at a daily took me 1,800 miles away from my family, and the population of the entire state was one-sixth of the city I left. I would recommend finding a nice bar. It worked for me, but doesn't seem like it's an option for you. Is there a mall, or bowling alley or some sort of social place you could go to?
  3. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Kritter, this time in your life is one of the hardest that people go through. You're not the first one, nor will you be the last, to go through this. You go from a "protected" situation with tons of friends and activities to one where you're totally on your own. Plus you may be dealing with culture shock and welcome-to-the-real-world shock. It's really, really hard.

    My thoughts:

    Pick up a copy of The Quarterlife Crisis. It's a little cheesy, but you'll be able to relate to it. And nothing is more comforting than realizing you're not alone.

    Use those cell phone minutes! Have a set time each week to talk to family and friends. This way you know you'll get to talk and you'll have something to look forward to. Sure, you can call randomly and email and stuff, but set a phone date as well.

    Sometimes your coworkers aren't going to be your best friends, and sometimes that's a really good thing. Don't feel forced to go to bars or other places you really don't want to be. You'll be miserable and it will show. Not conducive to making friends.

    But go to places you want to be. Check out www.meetup.com. If you live in a college town, check out events that are open to the public, such as a lecture series. Get involved with a sport that is played locally, even if you suck. Get involved with a hobby group.

    If you really are in BFE, maybe these things aren't an option. Maybe you need to turn this time into your time to work on projects or learn a new skill that won't involve other people.

    Also, can you get involved with a support group, online or in person, for people who share your condition?

    And, of course, spend a ton of time on SportsJournalists.com! :)
  4. Oz

    Oz Active Member

    No need to be nervous posting that, we've all been there before.

    My first stop was about 75 minutes away from home -- close enough to make a day with the family or hit the Royals with the boys, then drive back the next day and get to work. In town, however, that was a different story. The best friends there were all co-workers. My sports editor (the only other guy in sports) was 30 going on 17, which made for some great times. Then there was one girl about my age in advertising and two guys, both reporters, about my age. That was it. We had this thing called the Meat Eaters' Club. We went to a local place named J's every Friday afternoon, once we put the paper out (PM paper). That might seem like a little thing, but something as simple as that weekly lunch -- or going to the local sports bar one night to watch games or one afternoon for lunch -- helped a lot. It gave me a sense that I was supposed to be there, that I did have friends. We were all there, at the same time, with the same purpose.

    I made connections people folks in the sports info office and among some athletes, too. Three football players in this D-II town lived down the hall from me, and that also helped a bunch. Sometimes, they walked down to my place to use the computer if the computer lab was closed. Sometimes, they knocked because they wanted to kick my ass on PlayStation (almost always College Football or Madden, of course). Sometimes, they wanted to hook me up with someone they knew because, "You need to stop working for a moment, because you need to get some pussy." They were good friends to me when I needed it, and they also proved to be good sources when breaking stories on campus.

    At my second stop, a three-hour drive from home, all my friends came from work. I switched to preps, and obviously I wasn't going to make friends with the kids. We had some great parties. It might have been a revolving door at times there, but most everyone who came through there had a good time. I loved hosting parties at my house, just to make sure we didn't go too long without one function where we could all cut loose.

    Sometimes, it's tough because you are removed from family and your best friends. And so you make due with the friends you do make there, because wherever you are is home.

    And Cadet is right. In the meantime, call home as much as you need to. I still do that now, because I can't exactly drive home anymore. It never hurts to constantly call home and talk to friends and family.

    Hopefully, as it did for me, things just happen to work out for you. Good luck.
  5. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    One more thought:

    Pets are good. And if you're going to be a single, female sportswriter, you need to get started on your cat collection. ;)
  6. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

  7. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Pets are wonderful creatures. You might not be able to get a cat with your asthma, but there are dogs that generally safe for asthmatics (poodles, one of those little, floppy haired dogs). I hiighly recommend one. They've kept me sane on more than one occasion.

    I'll also admit to calling my mother every other day right after I move.
  8. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    Screw that. I call my mom about every day. Then again, we're basically best friends...so I call her just if I get bored or whatever. I call her either on her lunch or her mid-afternoon break.
  9. spup1122

    spup1122 Guest

    I'm 12 hours from my parents' house now if I'm driving and I dealt with the same issues as you when I first moved here. I didn't have a job yet, and my fiance was working a lot and we don't talk too much when he gets home because when I do talk, I feel like I'm talking his ear off since I haven't had outside contact with the world for the day.

    I will second whoever said calling home was a good plan. My first job away from my parents, I called almost every day. They were all but begging me to date someone just so I would quit calling them. I call them just about every other day now. I either see something that makes me think of them, so I call, or I just miss them. My dad and I used to have a weekly conversation just about fantasy sports. I'm sure your friends and family would much rather help you get through this than complain that you call all the time.

    I don't know if you're religous, but finding a church that holds similar values to yours may be helpful in finding people who are similar. If you find a friendly church, you're going to meet a lot of people and many of them will remember you the next week that you attend.
  10. Kritter47

    Kritter47 Member

    Heh. Night owls. I like that.

    I talk to my parents every day, usually multiple times per day. My dad and I are on the same cell phone plan, so that keeps the costs down. My friends from college and I are on completely different work schedules, so it's very hard to get on the phone for extended periods of time.

    I cover a mix of preps and college, and I'm worried about becoming friends with the college kids because of that. I'm still working out the boundaries of the reporter-source relationships and don't want to do something stupid that puts someone in a no-win situation.

    I'm still figuring this town out too. I've always been a city girl, and this is a town that only thinks it's a city because the next sizable town is 80 miles away. Where I went to college there were suburbs three times the size of where I live now. It definitely has it's upsides in terms of traffic, but even though it's in the same state, the whole way people relate to each other is different.

    Cadet - as far as groups, I've looked into that. The only group here is dedicated to parents of kids with it. There's not a whole lot of research on adults or young adults with it because it's only become an official subcategory of ASDs in the past 10 or so years, with almost all the diagnoses in children.
  11. MertWindu

    MertWindu Active Member

    One of the things I find is important is music. Find some of the stuff you loved listening to last year, and when you were a kid. Listen to it now. Allow yourself to experience the new place with the familiar sounds. It'll help your mind reinforce the idea that this is just another spot on the same slab of earth as home.
  12. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I would have suggested find a good neighborhood bar, but I dont think that would work for you. Sends the wrong message, but there's nothing wrong with trying it once and see if it would work for you.
    Not a God squader by any stretch of the imagination, but can you try church?
    And remember, you can always vent to us here.
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