I thought you might find it handy to read our tips, things you might not have considered or a reminder of things you know only too well.
1. It takes time. Some say it takes between 2-3 years to really make deep friendships. Don't be daunted though, as it's perfectly possible to have friends before that time but just don't expect to instantly settle in. Focus on the positives.
2. Some people find the first year really easy but the second year harder when the novelty wears off. For others the first year is really tough but by the second year things feel a little easier - just be prepared.
3. Being open to ideas is really important. Although you might not instantly see a friendship developing with some people you just never know where 'relationships' lead so it's important to keep your options open. Saying yes to random invitations is a great start.
4. In every area there are cliques, be it at playgroup or school or just in a local pub. To the best of your ability try to accept invitations from lots of different people or you could find yourself part of one of the cliques accidentally.
5. Wanting to see your old friends is totally natural but be careful. Filling your weekends with 'London friends' means you can't accept any last minute invitations from new local friends. You'll only get a couple of chances if you turn them down as they will assume you're not keen on interacting with the locals. It might seem harsh but our advice is to keep your weekends free so you can be available if anything is going on locally. Be prepared to have some blank weekends which you can use to explore the local area.
6. Try as best you can to avoid the stories that always talk about life in London. Everyone will know you loved London but you've moved and you've got to try to think like a local. Being frustrated about the lack of coffee choices, or the drive to the super market is fine to share in your own home but won't help you make friends locally.
7. Book regular phone calls with your friends from London. It can be hard to find the right time to chat so booking in a time will ensure you don't spend your life playing telephone tennis. Organise a night out back in London but try not to shout about it with any new local friends who might feel you're saying you can manage without their friendships.
8. Ask for help. We all love to help others and if you arrive in an area and are totally self sufficient people don't know how to help you. Asking others for recommendations or advice is a great way to strike up conversations and show that you do need them. Also recommendations are a great way to properly get to know an area.
9. Be bold but try to avoid being pushy. It's absolutely fine to invite people round but don't immediately take on the roll of organiser even if that's what you were before you left. You need to read the community and get to know who's who before you start running the place! Bear in mind, advice often given that people aren't waiting for your arrival - there isn't a big hole in their lives waiting to be filled by you. You need to fit in to their already busy lives.
10. Write everything down after you meet someone. If you'll be meeting lots of people it can be really hard to remember their name, or how many children they have or the job they do but remembering next time helps them to connect with you. It's so much to take on board at one time so keeping a note pad and pen takes some pressure off your memory.
11. Remember how it feels to be new and embrace anyone new moving to the area. Even if you don't feel you've lived their long enough to become an expert befriend people and be welcoming. Fellow 'incomers' are the best people to support you in your move as they truly appreciate how it feels to move to a new area and want to settle in.