Real talk. This post was borne kinda desperately out of my recent break up and the realisation that I don’t actually have that many friends that aren’t also directly linked to my ex-boyfriend. Yeah, lame. Even though I moved to Berlin 10 months ago, I was in a relationship and spent a lot of that time with my boyfriend, when I could have been making friends with other amazing girls in this city (because boys suck obviously).
And then I was like, uh, how do you make friends? It’s kind of awkward, but what do you do when you move country and don’t have many friends in your new city? After school and university, what’s the best way to make friends? Add to that the fact that I’m a writer/bookworm/introvert/socially awkward… basically, the complete opposite of a social butterfly. An antisocial caterpillar, maybe. So how do you make friends when you’re an introvert, in a brand new city? Well, I’ve done it twice before, so here are my tips.
I’ve moved from Brisbane to London, and then from London to Berlin, and both times I barely knew anyone when moving to a new city. Actually, scrap that. When I moved to Berlin I literally knew no one. I was completely friendless, didn’t speak any German (oh, and didn’t have a visa, either). And somehow, I survived.
As an adult (especially if you’ve only ever lived in the city you grew up in) it’s sometimes a completely unfamiliar concept to make new friends. In Brisbane, the friends I had were from school and uni, where everyone was young and fresh and making friends was the thing. But once you’re an adult, in a new city, it can feel impossible to form new friendships. But as someone who’s done it, I thought I’d put together a few of my tried-and-tested tricks to making new friends.
Friends of friends
I can personally vouch for this on multiple levels, because it’s pretty much the only way I actually managed to make friends in Berlin. I moved to Berlin knowing no one, but had a friend in London who had a friend in Berlin. I added her on Facebook, sent her a message introducing myself, and asked if she wanted to meet up for a drink. Through her I met a bunch of fellow expats living in Berlin. When you’re new to a city, other expats are usually always willing to welcome you into their friendship group. My advice is don’t be shy with meeting up with friends of friends. There’s a reason your friend is friends with them, and you’ll probably love them.
I made one of my best friends in London through work, after bonding over our shared birthday. It’s an obvious one, but making friends with a few good eggs in your office is definitely a great way to extend your social circle. Make an effort to ask your coworkers about getting lunch together and drinks after work. I have a tendency to want to put my head down at work and then run home afterwards to write, but when I moved to London I really made an effort to get out of my comfort zone and make plans with people.
Join a class
I didn’t try this out in London (mostly because I was flat out busy with living a London life), but in Berlin I’ve started German classes and made friends through class. If you’re joining a class, whether it’s a language class, fitness class, art class, or a writing group, you’re guaranteed to meet some like-minded people. After class ask if people want to chill out with a drink, or just extend the conversation elsewhere.
Girl Gone International on Facebook
If you’re moving to a new city as an expat, I can definitely recommend finding and joining your local Girl Gone International page. Here’s the one for Berlin. It’s a Facebook group for expats in the city (they have separate groups for around the world), and it’s full of brilliant women who share tips and advice for moving to and living in the city, as well as full of meet-ups and events. Join it, get acquainted with how the page works, and join in with the meet-ups.
Moving into a social flat share
I say this only because it was how I made two of my closest friends in London. I moved into a flat, and voila, instant friendships. We cooked dinner together, went out together, watched TV together, and I also ended up visiting both of their parents’ houses for a weekend away. Sure, it was purely good fortune that I managed to secure a room in London with two of the greatest girls in the whole city. But if you’re moving to a new city, finding a room in an existing share house with people who share your lifestyle and values is a great way to make friends.