Building Community and Friendship in a New City as an Adult

I moved to Columbus, Ohio in the Fall of 2017. Just me and my partner and our U-Haul. At this point, I was living in New York for about seven years, and despite how much I love New York, my second home, I was ready to leave for a couple reasons: for one, I wanted to be closer to my family in Dayton, Ohio (where I’m originally from). Two, I had become more serious in starting and growing a business and I wanted to take the risk in a city with a lower cost of living. Three, I wanted a moment to pause, refocus and reset from the busy, amazing and adventurous life I had in New York.

I moved to Columbus with no network and no friends—but I had moved around before. I left for New York at 18, so I wasn’t worried about finding my way. Although that was once true at 18, I didn’t consider that this time would be a little different as an adult, and the context of the city I was moving to.

Since moving, I’ve become involved in a great community and have met a few mentors. Having a business has really helped me put myself out there, but it was tough finding friends—and still is, if I can be honest. You know, the kind of friends you have unplanned sleepovers with or ones who watch The Office with you for hours. The friends you invite over to do work and drink wine. The friends who just chill on the sofa with you, sharing a blanket in complete silence. Those are hard to find.

Post college, I had heard that adult friendships are challenging to cultivate. I didn’t understand then, but I understand now. However, in these past two years, I’ve been able to carve my path and meet some great people along the way. Based on my experience here in Columbus, I wanted to share some events and resources that helped me begin to find my tribe.


Creative Control Fest. CCF is a multi-day creative confest (Conference + Festival) that centers creatives of color who are a part of the growing creative class in tech, entrepreneurship, etc. Fun fact: CCF was the first event I ever attended when I moved here—literally the first weekend. Since then, I’ve built great relationships with Marshall and Kaleem, two of the three co-founders, as well as so many other creatives I’ve met at their confest. In fact, I was even invited to speak at their confest this year on Cultivating Wellness for Creatives.

Creative Mornings: Calling all my early risers! Creative Mornings is a free monthly breakfast lecture series designed for creative communities. I started attending Creative Mornings this year and have loved the dynamic speakers and content. 8am breakfast, lectures, conversation and creative community, all for free.

Creative Babes: Creative Babes is a community of intentional, supportive babes who come together quarterly to recognize and celebrate our connectedness. Specifically geared to women, but open to non-binary/gender fluid folks, as well. I believe CB was the second event I attended once relocating. At their last gathering, I was invited to vend with my business.

Moving on to some resources to utilize!


Eventbrite: It’s a free database of events, so use it! Promo your own events on it and also take a look at it weekly to get involved in your community and support others.

Instagram: When I first moved here, I began to follow people that looked interesting or had similar interests. I was able to find out about cool events that were on-brand with me that way!

The Wonder Jam: We offer great events for gathering and community. From workshops to learning a new skill, like video editing for social and building + identifying your values. Some of these workshops are led by our talented team and some are led by our talented community friends, creatives and business owners. We’re gearing up for our 2020 event roster, so stay tuned!

I shared these opportunities I’ve had not to brag, but to show that if you make the effort, folks are usually good about sticking to their word and finding ways to collaborate. Volunteering support for events is also a great way to meet friends, community, mentors, etc. And if all else fails, and there’s nothing that speaks to you, create it! In 2018, after yearning for a black/poc wellness community that was missing here, I created Communion, a self-care practice for women and non-binary folks of color. It was beautiful: 11 people showed up our first practice and I only knew three. Remember what’s for you can’t be taken – continue to align and you’ll find your people, opportunities, etc. If you’re feeling low or lonely, I understand. Give it some time and start where you can. I hope these tips were relevant and helpful for you!

Transplant to Columbus? Have some event and resource tips that helped you find your people? Please share in the comments below, I would love to know!

November 25, 2019
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