Making Friends in a Foreign Country



Making friends as an adult is hard. With no nostalgia or shared memories to connect you, you have to hope against hope that you will meet someone who just gets you – and that’s pretty rare. Work and hobbies are a great way to meet people as a “grown up” but usually there’s a safety net of old friends to fall back on so there’s no pressure when it comes to finding a new bestie.

So what happens when you move to a foreign country? Well from my experience moving somewhere new can be pretty intense and pretty lonely. I spent the bulk of my first weeks in Melbourne looking longingly at groups of twenty-somethings laughing at some no doubt trending topic, and fighting the urge to run up screaming “PLEASE BE MY FRIEND!”

And as crazy as it sounds that attitude has actually won me many of the friendships I have here. My first real friend in Melbourne was made using a very similar technique to the one shown above. Through persistence, enthusiasm and (if I may so myself) an adorable puppy dog look, I managed to wriggle my way into this person’s life to the point where our social lives are now almost entirely interdependent.

Also in a recent *slightly* drunken rant about my lack of female friends in Melbourne (seriously I am a girl’s girl) my victim of choice took such pity on me that we swapped numbers and promises to meet up for Prosecco, mani-pedis and a whole host of other girly things that I was certain I was missing out on. Surprisingly, begging someone to be your friend has a pretty high success rate.

Of course there are less desperate/scary ways to gain companions in a place where you know no one. Mutual friends are a great way to meet new people – using the common factor of the person you both know, friendships can  grow and develop as you discover more and more likenesses of character and interest. Certainly I know a good number of people in this city whom I’ve met through someone who knows someone, who knows someone.

If you’re lucky, the world might deal you a strange hand and you’ll find yourself standing in the service elevator of your new workplace, right next to someone you went to university with 10,000 miles away. Call it a coincidence, call it fate, it’s pretty surreal to run into someone you know when you’re a million miles from home. Though I’d advise that this is not the most reliable friend-making technique.

It is possible to make friends in a foreign country, but most ways to do it are scary and involve putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. So whichever way you go about it, just remember to stay true to you – it’s always better to go alone than badly accompanied.


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