When In Doubt, Just Say "Yes"

When you move to a new city like I just did, life can feel overwhelming. Everything you once knew is gone and your surroundings are totally unfamiliar. You’re trying to find the grocery store, get comfortable driving in the new place, and make friends. Because of the stress of having your world turned upside down, the natural instinct is often to sit in your bed and cuddle up with your computer. After all, it’s familiar and comfortable, unlike every other aspect of your new life.

But as I adjust to this new place, I’m seriously fighting the urge to cozy up to Netflix in favor of putting myself out there. I’m a naturally shy person, so this isn’t always easy for me. I’ve been here for a week and I’ve already done about 234 things that I never would have felt brave enough to do before. What I’m realizing, though, is that when you’re tackling a new situation (particularly a new city) you have to use the word “yes” a lot. Probably a lot more than you’re used to or would like to.

My life idol and future BFF Bethenny Frankel’s motto is to come from “a place of yes” and I’ve really been trying to keep that in mind as I get comfortable in Charlotte. Regardless of the type of situation, I try to approach it with that “yes” mindset.

Do I want to go out to dinner with my roommate and a group of her friends that I don’t know?

Do I want to try a new exercise class by myself? 

Do I want to go to a networking event where I don’t know anyone? 

Yes. Yes I do.

In most cases, it’s far more comfortable to answer these questions with a solid “no.” But comfort isn’t how you build a new life. The longer you put off putting yourself out there, the longer you have to wait before you can start to build up a social life and feel adjusted. Even though it’s scary and awkward and you feel like everyone’s staring at you, when you’re trying to adjust to a new city I’ve found that “yes” should be coming out of your mouth a lot more than “I’ll just skip it, thanks.”

You have to grit your teeth and fight through the awkward, sweaty moments in order to get to the “this feels like home” state. I’m currently working through it now, so I know it’s not easy. But it’s definitely worth it.

Have you had to deal with a major life change like this? How did you handle it?


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  1. Just moved to a new city (and state). Rented my place via the internet/phone, never saw it in person.

    One year before this, I moved to a new city (and state). Each time, I put myself out there. It’s so worth it.

    I use meetup.com like it’s my job. In this newest city, I attended an inaugural event. It started with 5 people (me included). I became an “organizer” the next week. Since then, the event has grown to over 600 active members, with groups of over 100 people meeting EVERY week. It’s the fastest growing meetup in Michigan. I’m “the guy everybody knows” who “doesn’t know anybody.” A great place to be. Couldn’t be happier.

    • ljmlevine says:

      Meetup has become my new best friend! It’s such a cool concept, and I love that you can turn it into whatever you want/need it to be. So cool to hear about the success you’ve had with it. I hope I have the same experience once I get going!

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