How To Make Friends In A New City
Have an exciting solo trip to a new place ahead of you but dread the thought of dining alone? Let’s accept the fact that meeting people can be hard – but with our tried-and-tested tips, you’ll return from your travels with lifelong memories and new friendships alike.
Open yourself up
Being surrounded by strangers in an unknown place is intimidating, but with the right attitude, it can be equally liberating. Be approachable, smile, make small talk and don’t be afraid to give compliments. The people that are up for a chat will appreciate that you made the first move.
Friends of friends
Ask family and friends to put you in touch with anyone they know in the city you’re visiting and see if they’d like to hang out. Having an acquaintance in common makes for a perfect conversation starter and takes that blind date feeling out of a first meet-up.
Dine out alone
It might be tempting to order room service, but going out for a meal will make you feel less lonely than you would be eating by yourself in your hotel room. Ask to be seated at the bar or a communal table where there might be other solo diners; you can start a chat by politely asking your neighbour what they ordered.
Find an activity
Neighbourhood coffee shops often advertise running clubs, reading groups or pottery classes – all activities which are more fun when shared with others. You will get a taste of what life as a local would be like and meet people with compatible interests along the way.
Attend cultural events
Ask your hotel about events currently happening in your destination, such as exhibitions, theatre and gigs. The chances of you making a new friend at a concert by your favourite band or at a talk by a writer that inspires you are higher than anywhere else.
The camera trick
Rather than ending up with hundreds of selfies from a sightseeing tour of your destination, ask a passerby if they can take a photo of you. Most likely they will ask where you’re from – et voilà, you have a first conversation topic.
There are a number of helpful apps for meeting new friends, among them Meetup (which brings together groups of people with common interests in thousands of cities) and ATLETO (to team up with fellow sports lovers). Even the dating app Bumble comes with a BFF option.
Keep in touch
Once you’ve met like-minded people, don’t forget to nurture your new connections by arranging regular catch-up and inviting them to visit you in your hometown. This is the only way that strangers can become – and stay – real friends.