The advantages of extended family living in close proximity to each other – or even together – are things that many modern-day nuclear families are missing. Sharing financial, emotional, and child-care support across generations used to be the norm for most American families. However, since the Industrial Revolution, this trend has been greatly reduced, and the nuclear family is now usually separate from their extended family network. To make matters worse, today, people need to move far away from their families in order to secure work, or start their own families.
Breaking from family can leave people feeling disconnected and lonely, so it’s important for these individuals and families to start making connections immediately within their new communities.
The challenge to these newly relocated people lies in finding the networks that will help them to start feeling like they belong.
Start Building Support Systems Immediately After Move
Some of the best ways to start building a support network in a new community are: getting involved with religious organizations, business associations, neighbors, community and cultural events, joining social groups such as meetup.com, volunteering time, or signing up for a sports team in the community, and more. The key is for the newly relocated to reach out as early as possible, which will help them feel less isolated and more supported, making for a smoother transition in the beginning.
Start Small, and Build Upon Successes
A few things to keep in mind while building your support structure are: starting small and building up networks is the best way to find friends and acquaintances with similar values and interests as you. These people will introduce you to more people, and so on, and so on. It’s also important when establishing social networks for you to give the kind of support to others that you are hoping to receive yourself. Stay open to new adventures and people. Don’t be shy; invite someone you have a lot in common with to lunch or dinner. Regularly participate in hobbies or leisure activities that you enjoy, that involve other people. This is a great way to meet new people that share your passions. Don’t forget to use the internet.