Toronto is a big city that welcomes new individuals every single day. People move here for a variety of reasons, including education, career, culture and education. Despite the numerous opportunities available, it can sometimes be hard to meet new people.

Here are four ways you can begin to make friends when in a new city that won’t break the bank:

  1. Meet with colleagues in a social environment: One of the challenges of making friends in adulthood is that we don’t have school to structure our social worlds anymore. Work becomes a next proxy for many people. We spend time daily with our coworkers and we get to know them, sometimes referring to them as our “work family”. It is important to tread cautiously with extending a collegial relationship to friendships (e.g., meeting up after work and on weekends). In particular, consider whether there is a reporting structure or other hierarchy at work. If you had a disagreement or difference of opinion outside of work, would this impact the working relationship?
  2. Join an activity or class that meets repeatedly: When choosing an activity, consider, “does this class allow us to speak to one another? Does it encourage getting to know one another?” While spin and yoga classes can sometimes put us in a room with other like-minded individuals, they don’t encourage getting to know one another, and often classes can disperse quite quickly so that the next class can come in. By contrast, cooking or language classes that meet weekly, or intramural sports, encourage discussion and getting to know each other. is another wonderful resource with a myriad of interest groups.
  3. Become a regular somewhere: Find a coffee shop, gym, place of worship, or studio (e.g. dance, arts or Pilates) and commit to going regularly at roughly the same time. You’ll find in short course that you’re getting to know the staff and the other patrons, and often they live nearby.
  4. Spend time in neighborhood parks: Are you a parent or a dog owner? Meaningful friendships can be established between 6-8 a.m. or 4-7 p.m. every day as people congregate at playgrounds and dog parks. Again, as long as you go roughly the same time on a regular basis, you’ll likely get to know other “regulars”.

Committing to even one of these proactive steps will start to feel satisfying. It is very important to be patient as it often takes time to feel established in a new city. Use gratitude to thank yourself for taking control over the aspects you have control of in this endeavor!