Okay, so lots of my friends always say how lucky I am to be in a new country. How exciting it must be so on and so forth. The truth is that it is but it can have it’s own difficulties and challenges, one of which is meeting new friends. When we were staying in hostels and hotels meeting other travelers was a breeze. There was always someone new around and hanging out with locals was easy. Especially since typically locals owned where you were staying.
However when you first arrive and start getting settled in to a new area making new friends isn’t always that easy. For us at least when we first arrived in Mazatlan we knew no one but each other. Which was fine but I knew that Jeff would be leaving soon to go back to Alaska. Hmm, then what? Who would I talk to? What would I do? Other than work all the time? Don’t get me wrong I love writing but all work and no play makes Kai not so Happy. Yes, I wander around finding new places to share with all of you and to experience all that is here. But it’s typically alone and for the most part, that’s okay too. I enjoy exploring alone sometimes. However, sharing the experience with a new friend would be pretty cool too.
The problem comes when you start to become almost hermit-like because you’re usually alone. Everybody needs friends… When your no longer in school or working a 9-5 traditional type job meeting new people can be a little more challenging. Now add into the equation I’m still learning Spanish and am not quite fluent yet (not even close, lol) so now it’s even a little more challenging. Work on your Spanish you say and to that, I say absolutely!! I think it’s extremely important to continue to learn the native language in Mexico. Actually Spanish is in the top three languages spoken in the world along with English and Chinese. So yes I will keep working on it but Rome wasn’t built in a day and since I’ve just started learning about 8 months ago It’s definitely going to take some time.
So what now? Well, the good news is that most adults of a “certain age” are more open and happy to meet new people. Gone are the days when you judge someone without even talking to them first as many of us did in the old high school days. Most of the expat community I have begun meeting here are more free-spirited and outgoing. Keep in mind when you meet a new person from the expat community that they initially didn’t know anyone either. This I think makes them more accessible and approachable. They are aware of what you’re going through. This doesn’t mean you’ll be friends with all of them or even like all of them. With a little planning and research making new friends shouldn’t be exhausting or frightening. If you’re not the most outgoing person in the world that’s okay be yourself but you’ll have to put in a little effort. Just remember that most of us have been in your shoes. You’ve moved to a new country for the adventure, the culture and many other things I’m sure. So do your best to step out of your comfort zone. The hardest part is done, right? You already made the jump to move. I’m not exactly a shy person, those that know me already know this. However when I’m in a situation when I know no one it can still be intimidating and daunting.
This is what I’ve come up with for starting points. There are many resources and ideas that I’ve found to make the process smoother and less painful.
When you move to a new area ask your current friends if they might know anyone in the area you’re going to. If they do see if they can set up a “play date” so to speak. You’ll already have something in common, a mutual friend. This makes the ice breaking a little easier.
Take a couple local tours to get to know the area meet locals and visitors. Talk with the guide they are a great resource for learning more about your new home. These all vary in the price, of course, dependent on duration, type, and necessary transportation. I have found them ranging around 25$ US and up.
There are always several places or individual teachers that have local Spanish classes. Since we’re trying to meet more locals and build new friendships try out a group class. This way your all learning, laughing and meeting each other in a semi-structured environment. For those of you who are a little shyer, this is a great way to break out of your comfort zone. Plus the added bonus of learning the language. It’s a total win-win all the way around. I found most classes are around 100 pesos an hour. You can find them fairly easily on the internet and on Facebook.
JOIN A LOCAL FB GROUP-
Everywhere I’ve visited in Mexico, America, Latin Americas all have FB groups for each little town. Some are really good groups and some not so much but use your own discretion. I even found an international group on FB, unfortunately, they are not in Mazatlan the closest is in Puerto Vallarta. Regardless it’s a good place to start learning about the area and even meeting new people in your town. Finding out about events, restaurants and much more.
LOCAL EVENTS CALENDARS-
Again nearly everywhere I’ve ever been has a local events calendar. I try to take a look at the beginning of the month and write down a couple of events that look fun to me. Attend something that is in your interest whether its a concert, theater, or art show etc. This is a fantastic way to meet others that enjoy similar interests as you. Here in Mazatlan, my go to is Mazatlan Life.
Set aside some time and volunteer in an organization that interest you that you have a passion for. This could be walking dogs at a shelter or picking up trash on the beach. The others that are there already have a similar passion as yours. Just look up on the internet Volunteering needs in your area. I went to Volunteering in Mazatlan and found many places that would love to have an extra helping hand. This would be an awesome question to ask your tour guide too.
This is a fun website they have many different groups of locals that meet up to do things they enjoy. It’s totally free and whenever there’s an event you’ll receive an email inviting you. Some of the out of USA meetups can be a little sparse but it’s a good resource. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and check out even one event. Chances are you’ll meet some new friends. You can even start up your own groups or events caveat there is a fee to become a group leader. The fee is minimal around 5-8$ US a month.
Well, this is a pretty good start I think. Please share in the comments if you have any ideas or things you’ve done. As always we are so happy you’re here please sign up for our weekly newsletter and you’ll never miss the newest post. Plus you’ll receive a free photo ebook show casing our travels so far. Every Friday we send you new fun recipes from around the world and anything that you may have missed during your busy week. Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite social media’s. Just click below to follow.