Hello Patricia Marie,

I have recently moved away from London to a new area, 150 miles from where I have lived my whole life. I now live in a lovely little home in a small village community, as I wanted to get away from the rat race of life. My problem is, I had imagined that once I'd moved in, the neighbours would be popping round, and I would chat to people in the street, and that I would easily make new friends. However the opposite has happened. My nearest neighbour seems a grouchy moaner, who merely stared at me when I tried to introduce myself, the people I meet in the street have no interest in striking up conversation, and not one person has come round to welcome me into the area. In fact I feel I am most unwelcome and an outsider.

I feel very low as I really had expected this move to give me the peace and tranquility I have always desired, but all I now feel is ostracism and unfriendliness. I do not have the money to move again, in fact I am struggling financially, but having to consider that this may be my only option as I am worried how lonely I am going to become if I stay.

Patricia Marie says...

I am not surprised you are feeling lonely living in a new area with no friends or family nearby. However, I do feel you need to give yourself more time to adapt to your new home and surroundings. Of course it's important for everyone to have a good support network, and this will happen - just not overnight. However, you can make some good contacts straight away.

Get out and about, look for groups, clubs or societies in your area where you can become involved in your passions. You could also volunteer for a local charity or church group. Helping is a great way to meet others, to counteract loneliness and to feel connected. If you are able to work, perhaps look for a local job where you could make new friends, and earn some money too. Also, do consider getting a dog, which would not only offer great companionship, but dogs provide a neutral topic for conversation and, therefore, act as social 'ice-breakers.'

Just as you feel the outsider in your neighbourhood, established residents can often feel threatened by newcomers, so why not take the initiative. Be hospitable, perhaps organise a coffee morning, or an evening drinks party. Send invitations to your neighbours, saying you would love to meet them, be able to get to know them properly and look forward to welcoming them into your new home.

Rather than put any pressure on yourself at this moment, give yourself a good year before making any decisions on moving again. I believe during this time you would have made friends and settled in well, and most importantly be enjoying your home which you say you love. Finally, try not to lose sight of the fact that you are at the start of a new adventure in your life and need to cherish the experience whatever the outcome.