Moving abroad or interstate is daunting enough as it is; you pack up your life into as few bags as you can manage and make the exciting yet terrifying move to an unfamiliar place, completely unaware of what your life will be like once you’ve arrived.
So now you’re there, you’ve found a place to live, you have a job but the only thing missing is, well, friends.
At the very end of 2015 I moved all the way from Perth, Western Australia to London completely solo. Surprisingly I wasn’t too worried about making friends; I consider myself a pretty bubbly, friendly, chatty person and have never had trouble making friends previously. ‘How hard can it be?’ I thought to myself. Well, as it turns out, I was completely wrong. It was hard. Really hard.
Making friends as an adult is incomparably more difficult than making friends as a child or teenager. Of course we all have different experiences but in high school you’re surrounded by the same few hundred people everyday, you naturally gravitate towards some and eventually (or hopefully!) form solid friendships. Finding friends in a large city is surprisingly tricky but after having been in London nearly a year, I’ve found a few ways to find friends.
Use The Internet
This is going to sound kind of odd but I’ve met 90% of my friends in London through the internet. Facebook has proved to be an invaluable medium to form friendships abroad due to groups that connect like minded people. One that I found to be great was GirlCrew London, which connects female expats (or locals) living in the city through events and meet ups. Search for any group and you’ll be sure to find something that suits you i.e. Aussies in London etc.
Use Your Contacts
Chances are, you may have friends of friends that are living in your new city who are in the exact same boat as you and want to meet new people. Meeting for coffee with a stranger may seem strange but trust me, it’s the best way of getting out of your comfort zone and connecting with new, exciting people!
Put Yourself Out There
Making friends in a new city strangely has a lot of similarities to dating; you’ve got to put yourself out there, sometimes make the first move and go on dates (of the friendship variety). I’ve never asked so many randoms to go for a coffee in all my life but it beats the alternative of ending up alone on your Saturday nights with nothing to do. Try not to feel self conscious about asking people if they’d like to meet up; everyone’s in the same boat and just wants to get out there, make friends and explore their new city!
Find A New Hobby
Whether it be learning a new language, doing a photography class or joining a team sport, you’re bound to meet people by signing up to something new in your area. Cities like London have so much on offer and although this is hardly ground breaking advice I felt it was necessary to throw it in there anyway!
Develop A ‘Yes Man’ Attitude
This is probably the most important of all; say yes to everything (or nearly everything!). Graciously accept invites to everything you can; go to parties, lunches, events, anything that you’re invited too. It means mingling with more people which will result in you being that little bit closer to finding your people.
Remember, these things take time. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes months and months to find even just a few people that you want to hang out with. It’s quality not quantity. Sometimes you may feel like the loneliest person in the world (trust me, I have) but all I can say is push through and things will be ok in the end.
Do you have any advice for making friends in a new city, or perhaps just making friends in general? I’d love to read it in the comments below.