Have you ever relocated to a place where you don’t know anyone? Do you feel alone and would like to increase your social network? I hear you and this post is directed to you. As a Lebanese who lived in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, it was crucial for me to put myself out there and look for friends. When I first arrived in both countries, I didn’t know anyone which increased my sense of fear as I didn’t have a support system. Being an extroverted woman, mingling with people and having friends is part of my personality and what I enjoy most. Therefore, in this post, I will share with you some ways that I used to increase my circle of friends and meet unforgettable people with whom I share valuable memories.
Join online groups
Several socializing groups are present on Facebook or other social media platforms. You can find groups such as ex-pats, women empowerment, and mothers. Those groups might respond to some of your questions and might present some fun activities for socializing. For instance, when I arrived in the Netherlands, I got introduced to an online group called Girls Gone International (GGI). This is an international group existing in major cities. It helps connect international girls in order to support each other in their expat journey. Through this group, I met interesting ambitious women and I was able to build a meaningful supporting system. The group managers also organized Jazz dinners, picnics, cooking classes, brunches and many more gatherings to provide a socializing opportunity for women.
Practice your hobbies with others
All of us have our hobbies and interests such as art, politics, economics, food, wine… At the weekends, we might find ourselves listening to some economic podcasts, visiting some museums or trying a new bar. Instead of doing our hobbies alone, why not join a group? For instance, joining the economy or equestrian club at your University. By joining a club, or academy to practice your hobbies, you will encounter many people that share with you the same interest. In the UK, I joined salsa and bachata classes as I love dancing. By going every week to learn the bachata, I bonded with my classmates. We ended up meeting outside the class and going together to Latin parties.
Why not go out and have some fun? Attending festivals, online or offline conferences, and events is a nice way to be surrounded by people. People are more likely to open up and connect if they are having fun, chilling and happy. You might find plenty of events and festivals in your city of residence via social media ( Facebook mostly) or by a simple google search.
Lounges and bars
One of the oldest ways to increase your social network is in bars and lounges. Have you ever talked to strangers in a bar, pub or lounge? I did! You will be amazed at how sometimes spontaneous and random encounters might turn out to be the most unforgettable. People who are not in big groups might be open to socializing in bars or lounges. If you read the room and spot an opportunity, don’t hesitate to open a discussion. Being new in the city is a great selling point, many people love to share their favourite places and give tips.
Building our social network is comforting and increases our sense of belonging. Some of the people will become family and others a great company at social gatherings and activities. Meeting a person for the first time might be easy, but maintaining the connection and nurturing it is a challenge by itself. Despite initiating the first step, It is important to exchange contacts and remain in touch to solidify the relationship. Have you lived in a foreign city far from your origin, let us know in the comments. We would love it if you share with us the story behind meeting a great friend.
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