This post is for everyone that moves to a new country and would like to make new friends. For all us wanderlusters, drifters, expats, nomads, gypsies, these tips can be pretty helpful.
In the past years I have lived in several different countries and cities and I always created a nice group of friends for my self who’m I could hang out with, go partying, visit musea, have couch potato days with and so on. And if you will follow my tips, you will have that too!
1. FACEBOOK GROUPS
Step 1: Join Facebook groups. Yes, it is actually that simple. In every country I have ever lived in I did this and actually, Facebook is a great way to meet new people. Me, as an expat, I always search for the Expat Facebook groups. Often a country has several. Join them all! However, do check which one is most active because sometimes nothing really happend for a long time in that particular group. I always search by country and city. For example, I recently moved to Antwerp in Belgium. I found some cool Expat Groups of both Belgium and Antwerp and I joined them. You can also chose other big cities within the country that you are living in. For example, Brussels is a big city in Belgium So I have joined that too.
Step 2: Now that you are actually part of some groups react to posts. Often there will be a weekly event that will be organized by the owner of the group, join those events. It is good for your networking, I can promise you that. Also, don’t be afraid to post your self. Show initiative and arrange a meet up!
Step 3: When you organize a meet up pick a fun place and be nice to everyone who wants to join. Don’t exclude people. Remember, everyone is new in this particular city or town, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The people you think you won’t have anything in common with can end up being your best and loyal friends.
2. JOIN A GYM
A gym is a great way to meet new people. For me, it is actually a great way to meet new girls. And for guys I think it is a great way to meet a new (male) work out buddy. When I was living in Kuala Lumpur I was a member of the Celebrity Fitness Gym and it was the best thing I could ever do for my self. Besides the rooftop pool, the rooftop basketball field, the personal trainers they organized awesome classes. When you go to a class you will start to notice that on the days that you are going there are other people too that are always going on the same days. Just say Hi! Introduce yourself, tell them you are new in town. Don’t immediately suggest to hang out, that can be a bit creepy but in time, with the natural flow of things, trust me this will happen. I have met the best people in the gym and we did a lot of fun group activities.
Yes, back to a social media platform. I use Instagram a lot for my website of course but it really is a nice way to connect with people. You can search by hashtags and just see what will happen if you use the hashtag of your city. Sometimes it will be off travelers but sometimes also by (new) locals. Start commenting on their pictures, start a conversation.
Don’t get too personal too fast, just post fun comments and stuff. I have met some cool people this way which I have gone out with, had drinks with and just had lovely days and nights with!
4. TAKE A CLASS
Take a class, any class, just something that you are interested in. If you take a class you will automatically be part of a ‘group’. You will meet people with the same interests as you have and already will have something in common. And again, take initiative. After the class just randomly ask if anyone would like to go for a drink. Ask it to the entire group and see who wants to join. Don’t focus on that particular guy or girl you think you will have a click with, you never know. Don’t exclude someone. Just go as a group. Of course you don’t have to do this every time as a group but the first time it is nice. When you are in groups and actually spend time together you will see with who you have a bigger click and for the next time you can do something together or in a smaller group.
This tip will be totally random but I challenge you to do it and see what the results are. It may actually surprise you. Whenever I come to a new city or country I always google ‘meet up name of city‘ Seriously, just try it for fun. Of course you will see all the meet ups from the website http://www.meetup.com but besides those you can often see other events you can join
Volunteering is actually a win win. You are doing something good for the community and you will meet new people. Every city has great charity organizations. Pick one and do your thing!
7. SAY YES!
When you have followed the 6 steps above I am sure that within no time you will have some new buddies. When these new buddies invite you to an event, a party, a dinner, a meet up, always say yes! Okay, let’s be realistic, you can not always say yes but try to say yes as often as you can. Meeting new friends through friends is a great way!
I hope these steps will be helpful for you. Do not have a fear of rejection. Sometimes you will get rejected but hey, that is life. Not everybody can be your (best) friend. Just always remember that you are freaking awesome and amazing and if you put your self out there, you will have a great circle of friends at some point!
Love you! X