Have you ever moved homes, changed school, walked out of one office for another, and recognized that by doing so, you’re beginning again and leaving all your colleagues behind? Getting divorced, going away to college, and moving on are often interesting times but can be full of tremors.
While we may have analyzed many factors, our friendship groups’ impact may be something we didn’t fully recognize until much later down the road.
Beginning again can be an anxious time anyway, determining where everything is, where we’re supposed to be and what we should do. There can be a lot to memorize and doing these things alone can make everything so much more difficult. Missing out on having a warm, friendly face to share a beer and discussion with can make the first few self-conscious weeks quite an uncomfortable and lonely time.
Colleagues can be a root of safety and comfort, a hug in times of sadness. But real colleagues also care enough to give us a bump when needed, supporting us in moving on and keep going, rather than letting us feel sorry for ourselves for a prolonged time.
The following tips can help you start again without loneliness.
- Don’t lose yourself. Starting again can suggest that others have already settled into their friendship groups. Suppose you’re the new girl on the block (like me, seven months ago), it’s essential not to appear desperate to make buddies. Look after yourself. You may well have been through difficult times on your way to starting again or are feeling weak at having left home for the first time. The thought of attempting to get up, dress up and turn up may be daunting.
- Be kind to yourself: Commit to getting regular sleep, eating healthily, and getting lots of fresh air. There are days when you’ve been the new child before so remember that things do tend to work out fine in the end.
- It may be that a significant first step is to move into a house share while you find your feet. Other occupants may be in a relatable position. You can accommodate each other with mutual support. A house share can give a little security: there’s often someone around to talk to and being ready for friendship. Or moving in with friends or family can ease the financial pressure and provide a temporary buffer.
- Some situations are already helpful in meeting new colleagues. Work, shared accommodation, interest groups and parents’ organizations can offer useful ways to connect. But for others having no friends and beginning again requires the effort to be proactive and recognize places where kindred spirits may go. Joining a dance class, gym, and using public transport, even walking the dog regularly, often means bumping into the same people regularly. A nod of recognition or a friendly smile can slowly evolve into a comfortable conversation and possible friendship.
- Stay in touch with your old circle of colleagues through social media, WhatsApp groups and regular calls. Even if those times make you feel lonely or are a little upsetting, continue with the contact and find ways to remain involved in each other’s lives. Maybe schedule a regular call for a good chat so that you can settle down with a brew and stay in close contact, particularly at first.
- Invite: Take it coolly, make an effort, and start by recommending a drink and a chat. If capital is a factor, you could call them to yours for a pamper evening, bite of supper, or games night. Don’t take refusal personally and instead be taken to get to know new people and learn about them and their lives.
- No prejudge: Don’t prejudge what you’ll like or feel about ‘others.’ Go along, chill, and be friendly for a few minutes in their company doing something different. You may decide never again to repeat the adventure, but you’ve made some new contacts even so.
- Request help. It can be intriguing to slip into a ‘not wanting to be a burden or nuisance’ mentality, but requesting help can build bridges into new relationships. Staying private and keeping your insecurities quietly to yourself may be mistaken as coping, that you’re reluctant to share with others, or are even suspicious. Keep your own counsel and be ready to connect and let others in. (your mind, not vagina..we will discuss that in another article).
Beginning again can be challenging, but being friendly, relaxing, and involved is often enough to guarantee that you’ll have placed yourself with lots of new colleagues to enjoy before long.