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Expat in Germany: Making Friends in Germany

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Making Friends in Germany

I've started making friends in Germany as I've mentioned in previous posts (Resources for Expats Living in Stuttgart, Making Friends in Germany) and I've met some very nice people.  But I'm at the point now where I want to start deepening my relationship with some of those people that I've met and start getting to know people one on one, instead of only in a large group.

Although I am friendly, I am actually shy when it comes to extending the first invitation. In many ways making friends in Germany reminds me of job hunting.  However, rarely does a dream job just fall in your lap, usually you have to look for openings, which is time consuming, then once you find a potential job, apply to it, then see if the company also sees you as a potential fit, then meet to see if you actually are a fit for each other - similar to what happens when you are making friends.  So while making friends in Germany is a two way street, I've decided to be more proactive, since good friends, like good jobs rarely just fall in your lap.  It takes a lot of work to make good friends, just as it does to land a good job.

My Making Friends in Germany strategy is to ask one new person each week to do something.  This will be especially important for making German friends, since Germans can be a bit more reserved when they first meet you, but I would like both German and expat friends.  So far, despite my initial shyness, I've had great success!  I invited an American expat I'd met at several different expat functions to a movie we had previously discussed.  I've invited a Thai lady from my German course to lunch (one on one) and this week alone I invited a Guatemalan lady from my German course and her husband to dinner with J.P. and myself and we had a great time.  Although it was a week night, we stayed for 3 hours conversing in a mix of German, English and Spanish, with me frequently using all three in a single sentence.  I also invited one of J.P.'s German friends to join us for an adventure course.  He wasn't able to make it, but sounded like he would have been interested had he been free.

I have a few more people on my list that I plan on asking to do things as well in the upcoming weeks as part of my Making Friends in Germany strategy.  Fortunately, I haven't had to do all the asking and have received some lovely invitations as well which are much appreciated.  Making friends in Germany does take time and patience and it makes me thankful for the good friends I already have in Canada.  It also takes me out of my comfort zone, but I am still enjoying making friends in Germany and believe I am on my way to making some life long friends who will no doubt further enrich my life.

If you have any tips on making friends, please share them below. 
Also check out Language of Friendship by Grounded Traveler, another expat living in Germany
For more tips see Seven Tips for Making New Friends by The Happiness Project author, Gretchen Rubin



At October 15, 2010 at 1:28 AM , Anonymous DDS said...

Your so right, making friends will take time. Iv been here for one year now and find my comfort zone is trying to kick me out! Its tired of seeing me everyday, day after day... I think both you and i just have to push our selves and soon we could find good friends.

At October 15, 2010 at 8:06 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

I like your attitude DDS and think you are right!

At October 15, 2010 at 2:38 PM , Blogger Tracy said...

I find making new friends is also a lot like dating. At the beginning you're trying to decide if you like someone, then when you first go out you're on your best behaviour, trying to show your best self. It takes a lot of time & work but can be so rewarding in the end. Good luck in your search, I'm sure you'll find some great life long relationships.

At October 15, 2010 at 8:35 PM , Blogger Seh said...

I know exactly what you mean! When Thomas and I first moved to Madison it was really hard because I wasn't even working yet so I had few opportunities to meet people in the beginning. And this will be the case again in Munich soon. Plus, I too can be a bit shy at first. But I find sharing something like an academic class or even a gym class can open the door to a good conversation. :)

At October 17, 2010 at 4:22 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Tracy, I agree, funny as dating was the other analogy i was going to use as it so similar.

Seh, I like your idea of meeting people through common interests. I did this a lot in Canada, through hiking clubs, but am hesitant to join a German hiking club until my German is better - good motivation for me to learn the language :)


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