How to Feel Less Isolated as You Adjust to Los Angeles

by Emily Ewing


adjust to los angelesHave you recently moved to Los Angeles, yet find yourself struggling to connect with other people here? Are you longing for a sense of authentic belonging in this massive city, yet a bit unsure if that will ever happen for you? Good news: you’re not alone in feeling alone.


Many people are drawn to LA by a sense of wonder and opportunity, whether to chase a dream in the entertainment industry, to attend college or graduate school, or to land a new corporate job downtown. Yet despite the promise that entices so many to this city, the adjustment to life in Los Angeles is notoriously difficult. Oftentimes, it isn’t long before the optimism of a new life in LA is deflated by the difficult realities of adjustment.


So what makes the adjustment to LA different than adjusting elsewhere? First, the Los Angeles area is geographically huge, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re not accustomed to a city of this scale. As you may have already discovered, there is a direct relationship between large cities and increased competition. In addition to increased competition for jobs and apartments, there is also an increased sense of rejection when things don’t work out, whether it’s not landing that coveted role, job, or corner unit. Thus, many people adjusting to the city feel discouraged quite quickly, as it only takes a few experiences with rejection before the bruises and weariness take hold. 


Additionally, many elements of the city can cause increased levels of anxiety for newcomers. In addition to overwhelming traffic and commuting patterns, the high cost of living in LA often makes finances tight. Further, image is highly valued in this city, which can contribute to stress and insecurity over one’s body and appearance.


While the fast-paced, eclectic, and driven culture of Los Angeles makes it an exciting and vibrant place to live, it can also lead to a sense of loneliness and isolation—especially when you are experiencing the adjustment challenges before finding a solid group of friends to lean on through the transition. 


If any of this resonates with you, maybe you’ve found yourself saying: “My adjustment to my new work and/or social life in Los Angeles has been difficult. Maybe this isn’t the place for me.”

  • You may find the culture in Los Angeles to be vastly different than your norm.
  • You may lack the time to stop and process your adjustment to Los Angeles.
  • You may think, “This should be easy for me. Everyone else seems to have adjusted to Los Angeles just fine.”


While the adjustment journey looks different for everyone, below are a few helpful tools as you adapt to your new life in LA. Here are three tips to help you feel less isolated as you adjust to Los Angeles. 


Accept that it’s difficult for you to adjust to Los Angeles

Acceptance is often the first step toward realizing change in our lives. Life here looks a bit different than you thought it would? Did you think you would have a few more things figured out by now? That’s okay. Accept the place you’re in by being honest with yourself about your current reality. 


Connect with someone you can trust

Be honest with someone around you about what is difficult about your adjustment to Los Angeles, as well as what you are seeking.


In addition to being honest with yourself, being honest with even one other person about your current situation in LA can provide a sense of community and belonging. Although it can be difficult to admit to someone else that you are struggling to adjust to life in Los Angeles, you may be surprised to find others are wrestling through similar challenges.


Find a therapist who can help you process your adjustment to Los Angeles through counseling

If you find that you may want to go further in processing your adjustment journey, therapy is a wonderful place to do so. Life transitions, such as moving to a new city, are often a catalyst for discovery, meaning making, and renewal.


Therapy provides space to explore those themes, as well as one’s inner world, in addition to providing greater coping skills in the face of unpleasant symptoms, and an empathic, non-judgmental companion along the way.


It is possible to find a sense of home both in Los Angeles—and within one’s soul. It may take some time, earnest effort to process your journey, and, in some cases, an experience in counseling. We have several trained professionals located in our Downtown office, who would be happy to help you along in your adjustment journey to Los Angeles.


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