Making Friends is Hard To Do

When people move to a new place it’s often hard to see how they’re actually doing.  Their Instagram feed is filled with pictures of delicious food, beautiful beaches, and fun parties.  It looks life they’re having a blast and so busy doing fun new things everyday! But does that mean they feel happy all the time?  Probably not… Nobody is going to post an Instagram photo of them sitting home alone every night.  A lot of people feel lonely, but it’s hard to talk about.  When you’re older than 10, it’s a lot harder to just go up to a random person on the street and say “Will you be my friend?”. So, what do you do instead?

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I have found that this loneliness often occurs when you’re in a brand new place.  The first few weeks are a whirlwind.  You’re too busy to be lonely.  You have lots to do – starting a new job, finding a house, buying things you need, figuring out transportation, and adjusting to life in a new place.  But after the initial phase passes, you no longer have things to keep you busy every second of the day.  You get home at night and you’re not sure where to go, who to call – that’s the hard part.  The good news is that it does get easier.  Once you have 2-3 friends, they introduce you to their friends, and all of a sudden you have a regular group to go to events with around the city.  The tricky part is just being open, and figuring out how to find those first couple of friends.

My most recent post on Expat Coffee Club is all about how difficult it is to make friends when you move to a new city or country, and some suggestions on how to meet new people.  Here’s a brief excerpt, but you can read the whole thing by following this link, 5 Ways to Make Friends in a New Country:

I consider myself to be an experienced travel. No matter how stressed I get in the days and weeks before I actually leave for a new place, I know that once I get there I can handle whatever this place throws at me! I’ve gone through challenges before, and I’m tough enough to overcome the new ones I might encounter. I’ve been evicted, lost my phone, missed flights, experienced new religions, communicated with people who only speak a different language, and figured out how to take public transportation. But one of the hardest things to do in any country is to many new friends!

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It’s important to stay in touch with friends and family back home through Skype, email, and postcards, but it’s not enough.  When you’re in a new place you want to experience it.  You should be checking out festivals, trying local beers, finding the best street food, and learning how to salsa – all of which are a lot more fun with some friends! In Canada, most people make friends through work, school, and friends of friends, but that’s a lot more difficult in a new place where you may not have those networks. So, what do you do if you’re travelling or moving on your own and you don’t know anybody yet?  Here are my top 5 tips for making friends in a new city:

#1 – Stay in a hostel when you first arrive
Depending on why you’re moving, you may already have a place set up by your school or company. However, if you don’t, it’s often cheaper and easier to look for accommodation once you arrive. While you’re looking, you can stay in hostel for a few days or weeks until you get settled. Hostels often have a lot of events for the people staying there. Various hostels I’ve stayed at over the years have different activities, like pub crawls, movie nights, day excursions, volunteer opportunities, and cooking classes. Most of these events are attended by young people from other countries who are also looking for new buddies, and are super open to making new friends. Even if you don’t have time to attend all these events – just knowing that the hostel has a special drink night at a certain local bar every Tuesday night, means that you can go to that bar on your own in a few weeks and try to meet up with people as well. Hostels are a great place to get oriented to the social activities available in a new place.

If you want to read the rest of the blog, and learn 4 more great ways to make friends in a new city, then read the full blog on Expat Coffee Club – 

5 Ways to Make Friends in a New Country

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About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
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