Friends Nextdoor

How to land in a new place and create community

Ever since I learned about I have seen its potential to help people land in a new place more quickly and build a community around themselves. Most of the time when we move it takes a while to acclimate and find a new group of friends. I would guess the time it takes most people to arrive in a new town to be 2-3 years. What would our lives be like if that time was shortened to months or weeks, instead? I think they’d be richer and I explain below how this can be done by anyone, anywhere.  

Using and other online tools such as Constant Contact* (email service provider + survey capability) and Facebook (for group functions), it’s possible to quickly build a list of people who live close by who share your interests. When one relocates, these tools can be used to create a new group of friends quickly.

I’ve been doing this in my local neighborhood here in Portland and it’s led to amazing connections.

Here are the steps I have taken to try this out:

  1. Sign up for
  2. Created an email list for potential new friends using an email service provider, and set up a sign-up form that people can use to subscribe (or, just create a simple group in your email client like Outlook or Gmail). You can make more than one list for different interests, e.g., people who like to play chess, play music, or like to effect change to make the neighborhood more livable. A person can be added to more than one list.
  3. I started conversations on Nextdoor around various list topic(s).*
  4. Via private messaging, I asked people who seem interesting to you join my lists (provide the sign-up link) and I explained what I am up to and asked for their email address.
  5. Once I formed a group, I invited group members to events. In my case I’ve hosted house concerts which is a favorite way I like to gather with people. I have also started a Facebook group so that the members of the group can speak to one another and possibly instigate activities themselves. The cool thing here is that you’re acting as matchmaker, and all of the connections are local!
  6. Repeat the above until your social life is full of interesting people who live close by and may enrich your life.
  7. Show others what you’ve done (we learn by teaching).

I’m always open to feedback. Have you tried something like this? What has worked for you? Please feel free to help me improve this concept in the comments section below or write me @

As of 9.26.19 I have been doing this for about 11 months and I’m learning as I go. I have a list of 75 people in my Portland, Oregon, USA neighborhood who have been invited to various events at my house (mostly house concerts and an orphans’ Thanksgiving) and the experiment continues. I also just learned about fellow traveler Rachael Lynn’s new book At Home Anywhere, which looks promising! 

* Another way to find people who share interests is by creating a survey (I use the tool in Constant Contact). That way you can find people who share your interests and ask for their contact information all in one effort. The link to Constant Contact above is an affiliate link. 

Here’s some of my past writing about

Yes, Yes Marsha, also has some good thinking of the challenges of moving. to a new city and making new friends

The world might feel like it’s unraveling… hold yourself, friends and family tight

Water rushing by a lighthouseIn doing some interesting reading and then noting what I’m seeing in our world – It feels that our world is unraveling a bit. There are a multitude of things going on at the same time, some of them tragic, some of them unseen in the past and thus a little hard to wrap our heads around. The natural world also seems to be going through changes – for anyone who is paying any attention at all to various scientific papers to recent conferences on the climate and just plain looking out your window (if it’s not frozen shut as the East Coast of USA experienced a bunch this year) – the climate is changing. Then, there’s the political/media circus of giving the Tea Party movement a lot of time and attention = cacophony in the political and social sphere.

All that said, and more. So, what to do when overloaded with stimuli – there are many reactions that people have. Some clam up, hide. Some pretend that nothing different is going on. Then there are some who are speaking about the change – and many who have been speaking about it for a while – Bill McKibbon comes to mind. But other authors, like James Kunstler, Richard Heinberg – these folks are tracking the change and writing about it.

But what I might suggest is for us not to forget ourselves.  Our strengths. What we each bring to the world – and not let the strong winds of change push us around too much, make us lost. That would be unfair. It’s unfair to you because this is your life, and it should be as sweet, powerful and wonderful as you wish it to be. And, it’s not fair to the rest of us and future generations – for a large group of us to sleepwalk through this next period of time – the next chapter in our lives.

So, learn to dance with the change – learn to see the signs of something changing and instead of “holy shit!” your mantra could be “how interesting?” or “hmm, how will I dance with this in my life?”

This is also a good time to remember to take the best care of yourself that you can – physically and emotionally. Take your vitamins, get plenty of sleep, move that body, and make sure to stay connected to people. Your friends. Your Neighbors. Your Family. and new friends. If I’ve learned one thing at Burning Man lo these past 10 years, it’s that friends and close connection is key in life. Also, the ability to make new friends quickly is an art and can be learned. Start by introducing yourself.

Albert Kaufman
Portland, Oregon

Related: 8.31.18 – A More Or Less Definitive Guide To Showing Up For Friends

And, Ben Bochner’s song – Hold on Strong!

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