Making friends in a new city can be tough. GirlCrew Madrid member, Kim Hogan, shares her experience on moving abroad, and gives her top tips for making friends in a new city.
My move to Madrid in July 2016 was my fifth time moving country. It has become somewhat of the norm to pack up my life into a couple of suitcases, and head off to a new city every few years. My family are never surprised but always incredibly supportive when I tell them that I am off, again.
I do wonder, every single time, when I say a tearful goodbye to my family at Dublin airport why I have moved abroad. But then I land in my new home and remember that Dublin is only a two-hour flight away. And that I need to pull my big girl pants up and enjoy the amazing opportunity life has given me. As the wonderful Jim Broadbent said in the movie“Brooklyn” –“homesickness is like most sicknesses, it will pass” and it does.
Having moved so many times you would imagine making friends in a new city is a piece of cake for me. Wrong! Making friends, I have found, seems to get harder and harder the older I get. For my most recent move I decided that I was going to push myself out of my comfort zone and make the effort to meet new people. I don’t think you can ever have too many friends.
Here are my top 5 tips for making friends in a new city
Although some of the websites/groups mentioned are specific to Madrid, I have no doubt that they exist in your chosen new home –
1) Make the effort
If your housemates/colleagues invite you out, even if you’re in your PJs about to binge watch another episode of Gossip Girl (we’ve all been there),move your ass and get out there. You never know who you could meet…
2) Reach out to all your contacts
Before you leave talk to your family, relations, friends, work colleaguesetcto see if anyone has friends living in your soon to be new home. We all know Ireland is a small place and more than likely someone will know so and sos cousin whose sister moved there 10 years ago
3) Get online
GirlCrew – obviously!
Join Facebook groups – e.g. for Madrid the “Irish people living in Madrid” group waswhere I asked about good locations to live, phone networks etc. they also post about things going on in the city
Check out the “happening” groups they have a group for most cities and organise really fun events
4) Join a sports team
I’m not a particularly sporty person but after being in Madrid for a month or so I realised that as great as it was having loads of Spanish friends, I really missed the Irish banter so I googled GAA teams in Spain and found one in Madrid. I had never played GAA before but it’s now one of my favourite things to do on a Saturday. It’s great socially but it’s also a fun way to get fit = win win!
If you’re on the metro, in a coffee shop or just wandering through a museum, look up from your phone… chances are there are other people in the same boat just looking to have a chat
I hope you have a very exciting, new, adventure and remember, enjoy yourself!
Kim Hogan, GirlCrew Madrid