We All Come From Somewhere
Thank you again for all the kind messages, enthusiasm about this network, and for the offers of support so far. It has reassured me that starting this was a great idea.
Don't forget that there is a free New to Dunedin Network event next month. We have some great people coming, who are a mix of locals and recent arrivals keen to connect.
We All Come From Somewhere
I realise that the more people I talk to about the New to Dunedin Network, the more stories I hear about people coming to Dunedin from somewhere else. Even the people I thought were some of the most established shared that they were once new to Dunedin. If you are having that "new kid in class" feeling, be assured that time ad effort can get you established in a community.
No matter if you are new to a city or a job, there's a feeling of being an outsider at the start. This is completely normal, and how we react is one way we can make this feeling last a short or long time.
I get it. Those feelings can make you want to retreat to the comfort of your homes. I do the same regularly as a break from the world. But what I found in the past was that when feeling an outsider, I would want to retreat more.
However getting out is the way to make connections. It takes finding energy, getting vulnerable and putting yourself out there. It's not comfortable for many, and it can surely be tiring. Sometimes it can be a fail, but those successful times are worth it.
What are some ways to get out there? Find activities or groups that involve interacting with others. Team sports are an obvious example, but activities like a group classes, quiz nights and volunteering are great opportunities to meet others.
There will be Fails
Sometimes those times you put yourself out don't reap rewards. Other times you feel more like an outsider than before you took that risk. These are normal, and picking yourself up and starting again is needed after a retreat (if needed).
One time I failed in Dunedin was going at a local networking event. I put myself out there, had some interesting conversations with people, but I still felt like I was the one person on my own and everyone else knew each other. I retreated after that event, but made myself go to the next one. it was at the next one that I wad recognised by people I met before, had more conversations, and ended up being connected with more people and opportunities. Like I said, it takes time.
Locals - Be Welcoming
I get it. We all have busy lives and it is not your prerogative to take people under your wing when they are new. But taking a little bit of time out, or being inviting goes a long way. A simple invite to work drinks or a chat over lunch can open up common interests and making friendships.
Likewise, an uninviting gesture can go a long way the other way, and potentially reflects poorly on your community. So be considerate about your actions.
Coffee a Week Commitment
In response to being a welcoming local, I am trying to spend an hour a week connecting with people over a coffee. It's a small gesture of time and cost, but is a great learning and connection opportunity. Added bonus is I get to try out more coffee places across Dunedin.
If you want to catch up for a coffee, feel free to reach out.