How to develop contacts after re-locating

Q: I moved to Boston about six months ago and I think I have made a mistake.  I am terribly homesick and have not made a lot of friends.  I have relatives but they are in NY, which is further than I thought. I did receive a sizable amount of relocation money from my current employer.  What do I do?  I fear that they will be very angry if I return to Dallas.   My company needs my services badly, since I am a software developer.

A: Thanks for submitting your question.  Dallas to Boston is a big move, especially if you are single and didn’t have a lot of pre-relocation contacts.  However, there are ways to develop contacts and feel more connected to the city and all it has to offer.

First, you probably hold an undergraduate degree.  Contact your local alumni association.  Most alumni associations have chapters or at least informal groups within the Boston area.

Second, become more involved in your professional community.  Connect with other developers.  Join a professional association.  These contacts will be helpful both professionally and personally.
Third, volunteer.  Explore volunteer opportunities.  Walk a dog from a local shelter or sort cans and boxes for a local food pantry.  I guarantee your heart will be fuller and your network of friends will be broader.

Fourth, join a club.  Maybe you are a chess player or maybe you ran track in high school.  Either way, there are clubs that will help you get out of your house and connect with others.

Fifth, explore meetup.com.  Meetup.com is a site which connects people who share common interests.  There are meetups that connect people who want to learn how to dance the salsa and meetups that connect people who own Boston Terriers.  You can also form your own meetup group.

Finally, invite friends and family to your new city.  Take them to a museum and out to dinner.  It will force you to learn a bit more about Boston.

Be careful of isolating yourself.  Get out.  Don’t sick behind a PC on weekends and during the evening.  If you feel like you have made a genuine effort to develop a network of friends, and you are still homesick, it may be time to re-evaluate your move but give a bit more time.  Please consider making a greter effort and giving Boston a chance.  Developers tend to be introverts.  There is nothing wrong with being an introvert.  However, it is important to take a risk and connect with others face-to-face.  Set a goal and hold yourself accountable.  Maybe your goal is to volunteer twice between now and year-end.  Or attend one alumni event in the next 30 days.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.

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