New In Town
As a recent transplant to the Twin Cities, Kirby Hoberg knows what it’s like to start life in a new city. If you are new to the Twin Cities or have been here a while and are trying to get more involved, this post is for you!
Welcome to your new home! Maybe you’re new to the parish, city, state, or country. Now it’s time to break into your community and get some connections going. But how to do that?
Here are the top four things that have made the difference for me when starting over in a new place.
Get the lay of the land
Talk to people, do your research, and make it known what kinds of community you are seeking.
I’ve found that most parishes want to welcome newcomers, but no one is going to know what you need unless you tell them!
When my family and I moved to the Twin Cities from the SF Bay Area we were coming into a brand new place where we had no family, two kids in tow, and I was 20 weeks pregnant with our third baby. I wanted to connect with the young adult community, homeschool support, and maybe figure out how to do postpartum in a brand new place.
Connecting with online groups, showing up at posted events, and asking about possibilities at the parish coffee hour got me set up with a doula, a postpartum team, meals for weeks after the baby was born, a book club, and an awesome moms group. All from bringing it up a handful of times.
Fight the Segregation
There’s a bad habit among the 20s-30s group to hyper-segregate our social groups. You’ve got the singles, the couples in a relationship, the engaged couples, the married without kids, the married with kids, the school parents, the homeschool parents, and on and on.
Don’t fall for that trap! So many cool people don’t look just like you. Show up to the young adult events when you’re married with school-age kids. If you’re in your 20s-30s, you qualify. Nothing can change without someone starting the change.
Invite, invite, invite
It feels so good to be included, but there’s a secret — you have to let people know you are interested in being included. Even if you’re a bit of an introvert, you’ve got to put yourself out there a little more when you’re in a new place.
Invite another family over for dinner, or just one person for coffee. Set up a meeting with your pastor to introduce yourself and ask about ways you can get involved and meet people.
People will sometimes turn you down, sometimes you just won’t click. It might be a “just for now” friendship or it could turn out to be lifelong friends. The Holy Spirit does great things with an open door.
Commit to something
The single best way to form bonds with different people is to be around each other consistently. Join the choir, commit to a Bible study, make your own group! Find a way to get together with a group of people weekly or biweekly and really get to know each other. Make it a small group, make it an open invitation happening. Perhaps you work through a study together, maybe you just play poker. I’ve attended regular movie nights and pizza parties, hosted cocktail parties and women’s study groups, and committed to regular young adult happy hours — and these are just the gatherings that have formed long-lasting friendships. Pick a thing and give it a good try!
Every parish and city has its own flavor of community. That flavor is only enhanced with newcomers. Be proud of who you are and join in!