How to Make New Friends Abroad
1. Take Advantage of Social Media to Find International Friends
One of the greatest things about modern technology is how accessible people have become. Thus, hop on Facebook and search for groups in your area. For example, I am a member of numerous Facebook groups related to expats, TEFL teachers associations, and “intercambio de idiomas” in my city, and more!
Practically everyday people are posting events going on in the city, giving or asking for advice, striking up random conversations, or looking for new people to go out and see the city with. The possibilities to find friends abroad through Social Media and make plans are endless.
2. Try Meetup.com to Make Friends Abroad
There’s this lovely website called “Meet Up” and on it, you can find thousands of established groups for specific interests. That could be any number of things. For example, there are groups of people who are new to the city and looking to mingle with friendly faces. Then there are groups for language exchanges (these are my favorite!), and more specific groups for those interested in hobbies such as photography, painting, sightseeing, wine, dance – everything! Seriously, if you want to make local friends and have no clue where to start, this is a fantastic platform for it.
3. Go to a Bar or Coffee Shop to Meet New People in Your Area
It’s absolutely normal to go to a bar or coffee shop by yourself – there’s no shame in it, so don’t feel intimidated. Most likely, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make new friends if you allow yourself the opportunity to just strike up a conversation with strangers (or wait for them to strike one up with you!)
On several occasions here in Spain I have gone to a bar or coffee shop by myself and ended up having great conversations with strangers who were either guests or employees. Sometimes we exchange numbers and keep in touch and sometimes we don’t – it’s up to you.
I go to my favorite coffee shop several times a week and I have become friends with the staff, as well as the other regulars of the café. It’s so nice to know that I can go there, see friendly faces, and truly feel at home in my city.
4. Go Out and Do Things You Enjoy to Discover Genuine Friends Overseas
What interests you? Theatre, art, music, cycling? You’ll likely meet others in your situation if you go out and do these things alone.
It may be that you go to a museum and you find yourself in a conversation with someone about the transition of Picasso’s art throughout the years and, what do you know, you’ve made a new friend abroad with similar interests as you, just like that!
5. Say ‘Yes!’ to Every Plan and Meet New People
You have nothing going on and someone invites you out to do something, so instead of staying in and watching Netflix, just say ‘yes!’
For example, I have an old acquaintance I met while traveling who happens to live in my city now. He messaged out of the blue me and told me about an Irish standup comedian coming to Barcelona, and wanted to know if I wanted to join him and his friends. It had been so long since I’d seen him (and we never knew each other that well), but I jumped on board and said ‘yes’ and had an absolute blast!
6. Contact Friends of Friends!
More likely than not, especially if you know a lot of fellow travelers, you probably have a long-lost friend or a friend of a friend who lives in Spain. Contact them! Get on Facebook. Do a search of your friends’ list and narrow it by ‘Current City’ and BAM! All the friends who currently live in your city will miraculously pop up.
If no one pops up or you want to widen your search, go to Facebook or your social media platform of choice and make a post asking if anyone has friends abroad and preferably living in your city. Then, get their contact information and introduce yourself!
7. Follow Up with the People You Like
So, you had a wonderful time exploring the city and trying local dishes with someone you met up with – awesome! But keep in mind that friendships need nurturement, so let them know what a fun time you had and go ahead and plan something again. It’s like dating. If you are thinking how to make good friends in Spain, you must put in work to go from acquaintance to genuine friendship.
8. To Make Friends Abroad You Must be Brave!
It may seem scary to put yourself out there and go to events alone. However, once you do it, you’ll become a king or queen of social situations and become a more brave and independent person.
9. Remember Who You are
Most importantly, remember who you are. Don’t change your values in order to make friends overseas. Stay genuine to who you are: the rest will fall into place. This is not to say that you shouldn’t try new things -because you absolutely should. Just don’t become someone you don’t wish to be for the sake of friendships.
10. Go and Find Your Space out There!
Be yourself, have a positive outlook, and go out and show your new city what you’re made of! You’re a total catch and anyone would be lucky to have a friendship with you, so go take the world by storm!
Originally published for Meddeas here.