It’s not always easy when you moved a long way from home, in the beginning you might feel very lonely. The thing is, you are the only one moving and you enter a new world in which everybody already has his friends and social network. Your new colleagues and housemates/neighbours probably already have a life, which doesn’t alwasy make it easy to infiltrate. It does depend on the circumstances and the culture. For example, the Frenchies aren’t the easiest people to get befriended with, I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings, but the most French people I’ve met are very closed. Even though I have my own crowd of friends at home, skyping with a bottle of wine locked up in your room just isn’t exactly the same as hanging out with people.
Here are some tips for if you feel lonely and are having a hard time in building a social life in your new town.
This is a global community, connecting expats all over the world. You can register yourself for free and check if there is a community where you live. There are events organized, depending from the community there will be a weekly or monthly meeting. You just have to subscribe yourself and attend. The first time might be a bit scary, but I assure you: you aren’t going to be the only lost soul standing there. Everybody comes to connect and to meet new people, so people are very much willing to have a conversation with you. You might meet someone interesting enough to exchange contacts!
It’s also possible to join a group, specified on one of your interests. They have forums and smaller meetings.
You’ve probably heard from this one. A community originally made for offering a sleeping place to someone visiting your city for one reason or another. Did you also know that when you join, you aren’t obligated to offer your couch? There are also local events organized by couchsurfing enthousiasts, which are open for everybody. I have my account on ‘wants to meet up’, so people can always write me whenever they would like to meet someone to share a coffee with. I’ve met my dear South-African friend Candida through this way, when she was working as an au pair in a tiny village close to my hometown! Without couchsurfing she probably would have been lost, lol. And of course it’s also perfect for when you want to travel and easily meet locals, you just ask them if you can crash on their couch!
I’m not joking here! You know how I’ve met my best friend Diepak? Right, through speeddating! If you’re just looking for friends – without benefits – I would recommend you to attend a not too serious speed dating night organized by a bar, where probably the crowd will exist mostly of the regulars. I found it hilarious, 3 minutes of talking with a guy and hoppa – you move on to the next. Every conversation could be entirely different. I even went two times! First time I already met Diepak. We spoke about music, but we both didn’t want to cross ‘yes’ to get in touch afterwards, I don’t know. I was scared to get stalked by creeps. Second time I went Diepak was also attending, this time we did ‘match’, because the 3 minute conversation were interesting again. Afterwards we kept on talking with a few of our friends who were also there and five years later we are still friends! Although our conversations these days take a lot longer than 3 minutes.
Attend a bar – Solo
I know, it’s awkward. I feel ya. But hanging alone on the couch on a saturday night isn’t exactly perfect either, right? So instead of being miserable, just try being miserable at a bar one time. You will see that people might start talking to you. Last time I was hanging at the bar alone, I scored two new contacts. Do make sure that you don’t get too drunk and hit on the wrong people – you probably won’t make friends that way.
Guessing you didn’t move that far all alone just to be an entrepreneur, you probably will have colleagues. Don’t feel rejected if they don’t start inviting you out for dinner or showing you around, they are already used to living there. Besides, at your old job you didn’t hang out after work with all of your colleagues, right? They probably just don’t think of it. Take the initiative, ask someone you think you could get friends with to go out for coffee or drinks one day. It might surprise you how much you connect with them when it’s not only about work.
You could be wishing each other a good day every time you see each other, or you could try to get to know each other better over a meal. You both have to eat and you both have to use the kitchen, right? So why not sharing? It might be the start of a good series of dinners between housemates, or it stays at that one time you learned a bit more about the person you share your front door with. Either way, I’d say it’s a win-win situation.
Start conversations with people you cross path’s with. Even though it would be just small talk, the connection will brighten your day.
Do you have some tips for our fellow friends who live abroad? Please share them in the comments!