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How To Get Out & Make Friends as a Transplant in the Suffolk, Smithfield/Isle of Wight & Franklin Southampton Area of Virginia

by | Mar 8, 2024 | Local Community

Forward, Together with western tidewater community services board

If you feel lonely more often than you’d like to, you’re not the only one. According to the U.S. Attorney General, we’re in the midst of a loneliness epidemic, and it has more serious repercussions than having nothing to do on a Saturday night. This lack of social connection comes with dangerous hazards: an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, anxiety, depression and dementia, as well as an increased risk for premature death that’s equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Why are we so lonely? For one, our lives tend to take us on diverging paths, forcing us to let go of friendships as we change careers, get married, have kids or move to new places. Making friends in a new city can feel especially difficult, but it’s vitally necessary – “Social connection is a fundamental human need, as essential to survival as food, water, and shelter.”

How To Make Friends as a Transplant in Suffolk, Franklin & the Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton

If you’re looking to make friends in the Western Tidewater area of Virginia, you’re in luck. There are tons of ways to meet new people and build relationships here – you just have to know where to look. 

Figure Out What You’re Looking for in Your Friendships

Why are you looking to make new friends? You might simply be bored or lonely in your new city, but there are some other factors you may want to consider. 

Life coach and career expert Stacia Pierce thinks that “the people you associate with have a major impact and influence on your personal success,” so choosing the right friends requires some thought. 

According to Stacia, you should look for friends who:

  • Have similar values as yourself
  • Have life goals comparable to yours, so you can “work on your goals together and encourage each other in reaching them.”
  • Bring balance to areas of your life where you are weaker
  • Motivate and encourage you
  • Share interests with you
  • Will celebrate your success

On the other hand, you might not necessarily be looking for someone to help you with your goals and that’s ok, too. When thinking about the kind of people you want to meet, ask yourself:

  • Are you looking for a deep connection or just someone to hang out with on the weekends?
  • How important is it that new friends have the same values or viewpoints as you?
  • Do you care more about getting out in your new city and doing things or building meaningful and long-lasting relationships?

These questions are just meant to help you think about what you’re looking for in your friendships – there’s no wrong answer. Whether it’s serious or playful, close-knit or casual, whichever type of friendship that’s a good fit for you is the type of friendship you should be looking for.

Get Out and About

Try your local newspapers or magazines to find out what’s going on around town. Most major cities have a free weekly that outlines all the festivals, concerts and other events happening in the area. There are also usually more specific, hyperlocal magazines dedicated to a particular neighborhood or area, so you can find events that will allow you to meet your immediate neighbors.

Related Article: Felon-Friendly Apartments Near Suffolk, Franklin, Chesapeake, Norfolk and More

Things To Do in Suffolk

Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts

Suffolk Art Gallery

Suffolk Waterways

Events in Suffolk

Local events are a great way to meet your neighbors and make friends. Some recurring Suffolk events include:

Suffolk Farmers Market

Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival

Suffolk Peanut Fest

Taste of Suffolk

Things To Do in Smithfield/Isle of Wight County

Smithfield & Isle of Wight Visitors Center and Arts Center

Isle of Wight County Museum

Historic Fort Huger

Cure Coffeehouse

Taste of Smithfield

Events in Smithfield/Isle of Wight County

Downtown Smithfield St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Smithfield Woman’s Club Annual Flea Market

The Isle of Wight County Easter Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza

March Small Business Market

Things To Do in Franklin Southampton

Blackwater Park

Barrett’s Landing

Franklin Bowling Center

Pick Your Own Strawberries at Goose Hill Farm

Franklin’s Market on Main – Local Farmers Market

Events in Franklin Southampton

Spring Market Craft Show

Hunks in Heels

Music in the Country at River Road Farm

12th Annual Child Abuse Golf Tournament at Cyprus Cove Country Club

Follow Your Interests

When trying to meet people in a new city, hobbies are a great place to start because you’ll instantly have something in common. connects people who want to get out and experience things and meet new people. You can join a group that hosts regularly scheduled meetups or simply look for one-time events that interest you. is also great for recent transplants. While this site is more focused on finding things to do than on meeting people, it can help you to get out of the house and try some new things – and you just might make some friends along the way.

Talk to Everyone

Just because you go to an event alone doesn’t mean that you can’t meet people there. Try starting a conversation with a stranger. After all, you both came to the same event, so you probably have some interests in common. And keep this mindset in your everyday life. Find connections with people, even if it’s just a compliment. Strike up conversations in line at the grocery store or with your Uber driver. If you’re not naturally an extrovert, that might sound terrifying but people really are nicer than you think.

Try an App

You probably know there are lots of apps out there for dating, but there are also several that are focused on platonic friendship, including:

Bumble For Friends – Bumble For Friends (formerly Bumble BFF) is the friendship-seeking mode of the Bumble dating app

Get Bumble for Apple here.

Get Bumble for Android here.

Nextdoor – Nextdoor is a neighborhood networking app that’s especially helpful for a recent transplant. It gives you recommendations for businesses near you, helps you buy and sell items nearby and allows you to join groups to connect with neighbors.

Get Nextdoor for Apple here.

Get Nextdoor for Android here.

Meetup app – has an app to make meeting up with people easier. Use the app to browse events on the go or to message your group members if you can’t find them at your designated meetup spot.

Get Meetup for Apple here.

Get Meetup for Android here.

Hey! VINA – Hey! VINA is an app designed by women, for women. If you’re a woman or non-binary individual looking for friends, this app is for you. 

Get Hey! VINA for Apple here.

Get Hey! VINA for Android here.

Veteran Finder App from Together We Served – If you’re a veteran looking for old friends from your military days, you might be able to find them via the Together We Served website or via their “Veteran Finder” App.

Get the Together We Served app for Apple here.

Get the Together We Served app for Google here.

Don’t Limit Yourself When It Comes To Making Friends

Shasta Nelson, friendship expert and author of “Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness,” says that one of the keys to making friends is letting go of any preconceptions you may have about who you ‘should’ be friends with:

“If you’re a mom, that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with someone who is child-free – you may have lots of other things in common.”

WTCSB Is Your Local Community of Hope

Western Tidewater Community Services Board is your local, single point of entry for accessible and affordable behavioral health services like mental health counseling, help for substance abuse and developmental disability support. But we’re more than that – we’re your community of hope and caring. If you’re having a hard time transitioning to your new home, we want to help. 

Get started here.

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