When you move abroad and leave your family and friends behind, you’ll soon learn how important it is to find “your” people in your new home. Humans are happier in packs, and even though it feels good to be independent, you will need at least one good friend to keep going. If you’re not a naturally social person or if you think it’s hard to make new friends, keep reading.
If you are a person who tries to avoid social events and big crowds, you have to make an effort now that you don’t know anyone in your new city. You have to shift your mindset and keep an open mind. You also need to know what kind of traits you are looking for in people, kind of like when you’re dating. What kind of people do you want in your life? What kind of people do you not want in your life? Another important thing is to seem friendly, even when you are alone. Smile and be polite. Give people around you an instant positive impression.
When you relocate, you’re probably going to study or work. Here, you are in direct contact with classmates and colleagues this is a great place to start. Who doesn’t like to work with their friends? Show interest in people and ask them about their lives. As you might already know, most people love talking about themselves, and they love to be listened to. Find the people you like and show extra interest in them. Soon you’ll be invited to dinners and parties.
If there are any activities you plan to do regularly, like going to the gym or taking a language course, you can find people to make friends with this as well. If you think that it’s hard to connect with people at the gym, you can start with talking to the person at the counter. Smile, ask how their day was or compliment them. Yes, even if it’s simple, it goes a long way. They will soon know who you are as soon as you step through the door.
Take some time to look up events in the area. Every city has events every week, so don’t worry if you can’t attend them all. Find an event that is interesting to you and where the chance to meet new friends with similar interests is higher. If it seems like most people are in groups, don’t go and hide in a corner. Look available, smile when you make eye contact with someone and add comments to a conversation if you can. Maybe you’ll be invited into the conversation, and soon you’ll be mingling with the whole room.
If talking to strangers is hard for you, there is always social media. Nowadays, you can find groups on Facebook like “expats in [insert your city]” or groups of people from your own country like “Americans in [insert your city]. Social media makes it easier to connect with fellow expats who are in your position, but it’s not as easy to meet locals.
Create a post about searching for friends, meet up with those who contact you, see if you like them and start to hang out regularly.
Now that you have met people, you can’t expect them to be there for you without being consistent. That means, if you never catch up with them and see how they’re doing, they will soon forget about you. Some people need more effort from your side than others. You will notice how you will have an instant connection with some people and with others, you will need more time to get close. You will probably be busy with work or school, but a message now and then goes a long way. If you want good friends, you have to be one.
Hopefully, these tips can be of help to those who plan to live abroad, and they have calmed you down. The tips also apply to anyone who wants to make friends while traveling. Remember, be confident in yourself and don’t make friends with people you don’t like. Try to find a group of friends that give you energy and make your new life exciting.