Social Question

bookish1's avatar

How do you recommend making friends in a foreign city?

Asked by bookish1 (13062 points ) June 10th, 2012

So I’m having a great time in Paris and I’ll be here for two months. I’ve met a few of the kids in my student hostel but they are definitely kids. I am by far the oldest; they are between 17–20, and we don’t have much in common, nor do they have much interest in going out.

I’m going to go nuts if I don’t make friends with some people closer to my age and maturity level while I’m here. I don’t have any regular activities, since I am here on my own doing research, not taking classes or working. Does anyone have any ideas for how to meet people around here to hang out with? I speak excellent French, but Parisians are pretty insular and it’s hard to worm your way into their friend/acquaintance circles.

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12 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

My recommendation would be to head out to the Paris suburbs if possible. Most metropolitan areas house people who are not open to making new friends unless they are added to a specific environment. Tourists are a dime a dozen.

It only takes making one friend to open up a potential network of others. There must be some opportunity to join a group or find a local pub where regulars hang out. This is a website that lists Paris groups open to meeting up with new people.

bookish1's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer: Merci mille fois! :) Thanks a bunch. I never knew about that website. I’ll check it out. And you’re right, tourists are a dime a dozen here. I used to live in a tourist town myself. I’m not staying in a very touristy quarter right now though. But maybe I’ll head out to the suburbs, I am familiar with one of them. Thanks again :)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Je vous en prie. When I visit my SO in his small English town, the people are curious as to why an American bird would be there and just can’t refrain form asking. When we went to London, no one batted an eye.

marinelife's avatar

Are you from the U.S.? I suggest starting with American Ex-Pats in Paris, a meet up group. Like-minded people.

bookish1's avatar

@marinelife : Thank you. Yes, I am. I found that group and a couple others on meet-up. Looks like a great website.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

couch surfing

CWOTUS's avatar

Meetup.com, in all kinds of forms. I don’t know what kind of presence it has overseas, but in the Northeast USA it’s fantastic. Highly recommended.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If you have a handheld GPS, look at Geocaching.com . There are caches right in your area and no doubt meetup groups for enthusiasts. You will learn about hidden corners of the city and places in the countryside that are far from the beaten path.

Understand that you are considered a short timer so any resident will not want to invest much effort building a serious friendship only to be ‘hurt’ 2 months from now. You will do much better hanging with the expat community. They understand the situation perfectly.

cazzie's avatar

I got involved in an Ex-pats group here in Norway and they were horrible. Eeek. I had African and Australian and Brits as friends and they were told they were not welcome in the Ex-pats group—- ‘This is for Americans only.’ pppfffftttt.

JLeslie's avatar

If there is an “American club” for expats, meaning a club with pool, tennis, gym, dining room, etc., that part of town probably has a lot of people from putside the country. I’m not suggesting joining the club, it is usually very very expensive, but if you hang out in shops, bars, restuarants, parks in that area probably you will meet people in similar situations to you, and if they have been there a while they will have local friends also.

Also, university campus might be a great place at your age. The library, union, and cafes nearby. I think be patient a little, you just got there. It will happen.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@cazzie Sounds like you got stuck with the American Club. A true international expat community is the best!

janbb's avatar

Try meetup.com for Paris. There are groups that stage events and activities listed that you can attend. They will be mainly British or American people though.

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