How to Make Connections in St. Louis (when you don’t know where to start)

If you’re unsure of how to answer the question, “Where did you go to high school?” then it’s likely you’re also in the throes of figuring out how to find a community in St. Louis. For anyone new to the region, it can be intimidating to branch out and broaden your social horizons.

From one transplant to another, here are a few ways you can start making new connections in St. Louis:

Be social.
Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. When you’re new to a city, the quickest way to start getting to know people is by saying yes to new opportunities. Even if happy hours or networking meetings are not normally your cup of tea, now’s the time to push outside of your comfort zone. By having the courage to be vulnerable and step into new situations, you will have the opportunity to find what could be meaningful new friendships.

Find ways to contribute.
Look for projects in the community that speak to your passions. Do you love comedy? St. Louis has a flourishing stand-up and improv scene. Want to invest in the outdoors? There are many organizations across St. Louis that advocate for gardening, urban farming, or the beautification of our city. If you’re looking for a place to start, STLVolunteer.org lists current volunteer opportunities available throughout our region. By identifying your specific interests and finding the organizations that align with them, you’re on track to meet like-minded people who will share your passions.

Adapt a hyper-local mindset.
With so much ground to cover in Greater St. Louis, it can be difficult to decide where to invest your time when it comes to finding a new community. One way you can narrow your search is by thinking locally. Look no further than your current municipality or neighborhood. Odds are there are many ways you can get involved in your local government. Get plugged in by attending a Board of Aldermen meeting or volunteering on a local board or committee. Make an effort to learn about the trends and topics that are relevant to St. Louis by researching the community issues your municipality faces. By learning about the place you call home and becoming familiar with the people who run it, you’re taking a small step toward making St. Louis a more connected region.

Think about what will benefit your career.
No matter where you live in the St. Louis region, there are many opportunities to plug into communities that will help you explore your career goals. If you’re interested in entrepreneurship, St. Louis has a thriving start-up scene with weekly events designed to connect innovators and creative thinkers. For young nonprofit professionals in our region, there’s YNPN St. Louis, a group focused on connecting and cultivating the next generation of philanthropic leaders. Finally, anyone interested in becoming a better leader can join FOCUS St. Louis, nonprofit that offers leadership training, provides civic issue education and public engagement initiatives.

There are many ways to use your career to find a new community in St. Louis; it’s impossible to list them all. That’s why we’d love to hear from you on Twitter and Facebook: What are your favorite events or organizations in St. Louis? How have they helped you make new connections?

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Emily Knippa

Emily Knippa is a St. Louis-based marketer and writer who focuses on content marketing, career development, and personal finance. She enjoys meeting people pursuing inspiring career paths. She’d love to meet you at the next United Way event. Say hello to Emily on Twitter at @emilyknippa.