New arrivals Blog #1: Building your social network in a new location

For the next few weeks, my blog posts will focus on some of the challenges of arriving somewhere new. This week’s post is all about building a social support network in a new community or with different groups of people in your new location.

Why this matters

Meaningful connection with other people is vital to a healthy, happy resilient life. Those of you who are familiar with Martin Seligman’s work on positive psychology will know that connection with other people is one of his five pillars required to flourish in life.

Social support also minimises the effects of stress with very positive results. In addition to feeling less stressed, social support can also improve your health and decrease your mortality risk.

It’s no surprise to discover we are particularly vulnerable to stress during periods of massive change or sudden transition, such as moving country. Our lack of a social support network makes us even more prone to stress.

My experience

Before I moved to Singapore, I had (and still have!) the most amazing friends and family in my home country. Finding people with similar values and interests to me in Singapore took a long time, and I do remember this as being a very difficult and stressful time when I first moved. With hindsight, there were things I would have done differently to build my social support network, some of which are included in the ‘Top Tips’ paragraph below.

Top Tips

  1. Keep in touch with your existing social support network. Be honest with them if you’re struggling - you don’t have to pretend everything is perfect with people who you’ve known for a long time.

  2. Be proactive in meeting people with similar interests to your own

  3. Recognise that it will take time to build meaningful connections with new people

Need some extra support?

I’d love to hear from you if you’re looking for some additional support and guidance with building your new network, or if you’re finding your move challenging in other ways. I offer a range of services to boost your resilience throughout the relocation process, including coaching. Contact me to find out how I can help.