7 signs you're not ready to move to a new city, even if you think you are

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  • Moving to a new city can be life-changing.
  • But before you decide to move, you need to make sure you're moving for the right reasons and that you gave your current city your all.
  • You may not be ready to move if you're just bored with your job or if you'd be leaving your support system.

Moving to a new city is a big deal.

It's common for people to move in search of new experiences, opportunities, and change. That whole cliché about finding yourself? Relocating can help with that discovery.

But the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Moving to a new city should be a well-thought out decision rather than a rash one, in which you truly consider the pros and cons of what you're giving up in exchange for what you'll be getting in your new life.

It can be tempting to pack up your bags when you see your peers posting about their "new chapters" in new cities on social media. But what's right for them may not be right for you, and that's OK.

Before you decide on a fresh start somewhere else, think about you why you want to move. If any of the reasons below apply to you, it may be a sign that it's not the right time to relocate.


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You're bored with your job

You're bored with your job

If you're unhappy at work, talk to your boss about taking on new projects or moving into a new department to switch things up before taking any drastic steps.

If that doesn't help or you've exhausted the job search in your current city, relocating for a job can be a great decision if it means you'll be in a place or at a company where you can build a career you feel you wouldn't have been able to elsewhere.

But while relocating can expand your opportunities, you need to make sure they outweigh any other effects moving might bring, and whether a job offer in a different city is truly worth the move.

Alexandra Levit, author of "Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can't Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success," told Forbes that you need to make sure the job is a great fit or that employment prospects are better in the new city.

Career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman also told Forbes you should relocate only "because you want to, and not because you should."

You're stuck in a rut

You're stuck in a rut

If you're bored with more than just work, you might just be in a rut. A change of scenery may seem wise, but it likely won't change how you feel — at least in the long term.

Try to expand your horizons locally before expanding them even further — the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Is there a new park or restaurant you haven't checked out yet? If you're feeling bored with your everyday routine, switch it up: Take a new route to work, pick up a new hobby on the weekends, or stroll through a new neighborhood to see if you can find anything to inspire or stimulate you.

Even if it doesn't seem like it now, homesickness is inevitable for many following a move. It might be even worse if, once gone, you realize you haven't soaked up all the experiences you could have in your former city. New experiences are crucial to growth, but before you search for that elsewhere, make sure you've taken full advantage of where you are now.

You feel like something's missing, but haven't made enough effort to find it

You feel like something's missing, but haven't made enough effort to find it

Many people relocate because they feel that there's something missing and think they'll find it elsewhere. But before you move in an attempt to fill that void, make sure you've exhausted all of your options in your current location.

If you feel like you're lacking a strong social circle, have you attended networking events or joined a local club or sports team to make new friends? If you're in a dead-end job, have you truly put in the time and dedication a job search warrants? If you're seeking more culture, have you looked into the showtimes for local plays or researched nearby art galleries and upcoming art fairs?

Put in all the effort you can before you decide to pick up your life and move. This is especially true if you're relatively new to your area — give yourself time to explore, evolve, and adjust.

You won't have a support system in a new city

You won't have a support system in a new city

For some, moving to a new city where they don't know a soul is an exciting challenge to branch out and make new friends. For others, expanding their social circle is a huge effort and the loneliness of not being near a support system isn't worth it.

Some prefer stability and comfortability — if you identify with those characteristics, there's nothing wrong with that. You just have to weigh what factors are most important to your life — if being in close proximity to your friends or family is high up there, and most are currently located where you are, moving may not be in your best interest.

You can't afford it

You can't afford it

Sometimes, the feasibility of a move lies in its practicality, especially when it comes to finances. While it can be argued that there's never really a "right time" for anything, it can also be argued that there are better times for some things when money is a factor.

From packing and shipping to security deposits and broker fees, moving is expensive, especially if you want to relocate to a city with a higher cost of living. Sometimes it's best to wait until you've built up a small nest egg to put towards moving expenses.

Don't let stories of people moving to a big city with $400 in their pocket, a suitcase in their hand, and dreams in their head fool you. The ride can get rough and you don't want to flounder for a few years while trying to get your feet on the ground.

You're running away from your problems

You're running away from your problems

Moving to a new place may seem like it solves your problems, but it really only numbs them until they resurface. Your problems don't lie in a place; they lie within you and won't go away until you learn how to resolve them on your own.

Psychologist Elizabeth Stirling told the New York Times, "No matter how much you move, you still take yourself with you."

While relocating can be a means of growth, it won't magically conjure up a new, better you. Only you can do that.

You're moving for a loved one

You're moving for a loved one

Moving for a loved one is a big step. It's not a bad reason to move, per se, but it's important to make sure you're doing it because you want to.

A survey by Homes.com found that 43% of people who moved for love wouldn't do it again.

Look at the bigger picture — if you subtract your significant other from the equation, is there anything in the new city that will make you happy? Are there good job prospects, friends you know, or activities you will enjoy? If not, it may not be time to move just yet.

"You can't make someone happy unless you are happy," wrote Natasha Koifman in a blog for Huffington Post. "A relationship will not fulfill you unless you fulfill yourself."

It's a huge commitment to take on a new city with someone, especially if you're relatively early in your relationship. You don't want to make a big move for someone else and not get your happily ever after — it's even worse if the city does nothing for you.

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