“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”― Elbert Hubbard
So no one told you life was going to be this way? I’m kidding, I’m kidding.
When I first started telling people that I was leaving my job in London to pursue my passion for travelling, photography and writing, everyone seemed so worried for me – How would you survive? What about the safety of your job? How would you cope being all alone in the big wild world? How will you make new friends abroad?
See also: 12 Ways to Make Friends in a New City
Here’s how you can get better at making friends abroad!
Let’s be honest, making friends abroad is a lot like dating. Yes, you can party with most people, but to find people who you really like, can connect with, who understand you and who you enjoy spending time with isn’t the same. Whether you are starting a long trip or moving to a new country, loneliness and the lack of a local network can be the most daunting part of being an expat or abroad.
See also: Why Solo Female Travelers Do It Better
Whether you are travelling or moving to a new city, make sure to join the community groups in that specific place. You can easily find them by browsing Facebook or Meetup.com. Instagram is also a favourite tool of mine to meet local people. Yup, the photo app isn’t only a visual escape, but also a great way to interact with locals who are often willing to show you around. During my time in India for example, I met some incredible people and my trip there wouldn’t have been the same if I didn’t stumble upon them and their local secrets.
See also: 3 Simple Ways Minimalism Can Help Your Life Abroad
Photo source: @the_storyteller
2. Become active!
Surprise, surprise! People won’t come knocking on your door in a new place because they don’t know you are there, therefore you need to be out there!! Start playing a group sport or join a running or cycling club. If you are not a sporty person, then find a new or dig an old hobby: photography, diving, dancing, music, poetry, cooking, language courses, whatever you might fancy. There are always drinks and dinners after the sport so make sure to tag along and get to know your new mates.
3. Put yourself out there!
Stay in hostels -if you travel- or move into a share house -if you are an expat. But remember to choose wisely: your flatmates are likely to be your first friends and connections so make sure to select a house that is fun and sociable and not only a rooftop for its inhabitants. Of course you want to live with a lovely roommate who’s not only incredibly funny, but also has a passion for washing the dishes and a intimate relationship with the vacuum cleaner. A party house is never a good idea, but a fine balance between the two should get you a long way.
4. Make the effort!
In the last 12 months of my trip, I’ve spoken to many people who had difficulties in meeting new people and felt incredibly lonely. One of the things they all had in common it wasn’t shyness as you might expect, but instead a mix of anxiety, pushyness, self-pity logorrhea that scares people off. So, rather than begging people to become your friends, use these smart techniques: any time you are cooking in a hostel, cook for two or three and share your meals; if someone ask you out, no matter how bad you want to finish that Netflix series, just GO! You never know if the person you are meeting are going to be your BFF!
5. All inclusive friend package deals ?
If while on the road, being alone has become “being lonely”, join an organised holiday with a company like Topdeck, Contiki or Busabout . Joinign a free tour of your new city can also sparkle some unexpected new friendships! This is a very easy way to make friends abroad and share experiences.
6. Friends of friends are my friends too!
Before leaving home, gather all your friends of friends and long distance relatives and ask everyone you know for contacts of people in your destination. Not only you could save lots of money in accommodation, but you can also meet people who might have many things in common with you and can become friends in the long term.
7. Make it happen!
If you are struggling to find a suitable group for you in your new city, organise your own party or gathering. You can start inviting the few people you know and encourage them to bring along their friends. When I used to live in London, I often organised brunch meet ups where total strangers with a passion for food and photography would meet and share the day together. Not only I met some incredible friends abroad, but some of them have also established relationships and friendships that go far beyond the brunches I used to organise for them.
8. Follow up with people whom you like
Of course, meeting new people is great, but it’s not enough! Exactly like in dating, make the effort to follow up with the people you like the most. Arrange a coffee date, go to a cinema, or have dinner. And remember it takes time to pass from a pleasant acquaintance to a real friendship.
9. Be brave!
I was initially very scared of sitting in a bar or restaurant alone, but I soon realised it was the best way to meet like-minded people and other solo travellers. Most people are exactly in the same situation as you and are keen to meet new people, so don’t be surprised if in the middle of your meal or margarita, somebody will come along and start chatting with you. Of course, this only happens if you wear a positive outlook and a friendly face, it might be harder if you are sobbing into your mojito in the corner of a room…
Along with number 3, we have some of the coolest kids around renting our properties – after all, the best way to make friends abroad is to live with them! Where are you going? Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Istanbul, Milan and MORE! Find your mid to long-term accommodation with Spotahome today!
See also: Things To Do In Valencia: Discover Street Art
How do you find new mates abroad? Any other tips to share? Let us know below!