When coming to London, I knew I obviously didn’t want to spend all my time at home, in bed, or just hanging out with my flatmates (even though I love them). I want to meet people in London, talk to them, make friends. I’m very interested in learning about what makes London different and what Londoners think of America culture. Even though London itself is a comparatively small change, it’s full of people from many cultures! So these next 8 suggestions are tips I’ve researched and discovered about meeting people in a new place, or even just in general – though many of my principals are based on having new people approach me first, as it can be difficult to know the customs of approaching new people in a different culture.
8 Tips for Meeting People in a New Place
1. Connect with the people around you.
Proximity can be the easiest way to make friends. When you see people more often, it becomes easier to approach them and make conversation because you feel more comfortable in their presence. Roommates, coworkers, and neighbors are all naturally around you frequently and great people to be friends with. Even if your roommates aren’t from the country you’re visiting, they may provide opportunities for you to meet more people.
2. Make a routine.
Creating a routine for your day is taking the ‘proximity’ principal from the previous section and creatively using it to our advantage. Even if you aren’t naturally around the same people daily, you can become so by having a routine. By visiting the coffee shop every day at 8 am, you’ll begin to run into the same people. While your first encounters may be short “hellos” you’ll find they provide a natural segway into friendship.
3. Make concrete plans.
If you’re interested in seeing someone again, immediately decide on a time and place to meet. “Let’s do this again soon” often devolves into lack of initiative or inability to find a common meeting time. Instead, if you both have a certain hobby, suggest you meet at a certain time and place and bring a friend along. For instance, if you both like photography. “Let’s meet at Hyde Park Corn next Saturday at noon – we can take photos around there. I have a friend who does photography too, I’ll see if she wants to join us – you should bring someone too!” Now we’re making specific plans together and I’m even suggesting we expand our group of friends, so we can both meet more people.
4. Go places alone.
First, be safe! I’m not suggesting you go everywhere alone or head somewhere that you aren’t comfortable. When you’re alone, however, you’ll find that you’re more open to meeting new people. Coffee shops, concerts, special interests groups, or even bars are great places that provide opportunity for meeting new people. Plus, it’s important to have alone time, and to know how to use it! I personally love this how to be alone video.
5. Be vulnerable.
This goes hand-in-hand with “go places alone.” The most open environment to meet new people is often when you’re feeling most vulnerable. That’s because it’s easy for you to approach others, and easy for them to approach you, when you’re vulnerable. In these situations you’re more willing to approach a new person because you need their help feeling comfortable, and they are more willing to approach you because they want to help you or you do not look intimidating.
6. Make eye contact.
Making eye contact is the easiest way to connect with another person. It instantaneously brings all their attention to you – even for just a moment. Often, it can be the tipping point on if someone is willing to come over and make conversation with you. Making eye contact lets them know that you are aware of their presence. It’s a welcoming gesture and if you’re the kind of person who lives in their own world when you’re out on your own, you’ll be surprised what kinds of conversations begin simply from a second of eye contact and a small smile. (Note that this is appropriate in US and European countries. It can be considered rude or aggressive in African, Asian, and Latin American cultures, especially with superiors.)
7. Always say you’re new here.
When given the opportunity, always let people know you’re not a local – it’s a great conversation starter for local places to visit, travel, or just your past. It always makes you intriguing because you have a different knowledge and experience base. Plus, let’s be honest, our accents give us away and that itself can be an area of interest.
Here we were lucky enough to see the famous “back room” at One of a Kind which is filled with hundreds of priceless fashion items – simply because we are new in London and love fashion.
8. Find a meetup.
Any special interests groups will do, but I’ve found Meetup is great because often the majority of the people there are new to the group too, making it easy to meet new people. Plus, you have sort of hobby to keep you busy so nothing gets awkward, and by default have a topic to discuss you’re both interested in. Anyway, I’m clearly biased because I went to my first-ever meetup this past weekend and I totally loved it. I’ll talk more about that on Thursday. :)
An update from last week:
- Book a trip, or two. I have booked two, and buying a third, and need to pay for two more through my program. Success!
- Buy those leather pants, tan boots, and black boots I was eyeing when I went shopping today. I decided to save the money and wait. Failure. (Or is it?)
- Figure out my routine more: gym, school, web design. Um, the routine seems to be to do what I can when I have time… Up in the air.
- Organize more? Room, kitchen. Yeah! I bought a small shelving unit. BEST PURCHASE EVER. Success!
- Go or, at least, sign-up for some sort of photography workshop! I went to meetup and it was amazing. :) Success!
So, by next week
- Enjoy Edinburgh, my first trip!
- Study more, do homework.
- Plan birthday festivities!