How to Make Friends Anywhere in the World

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When I came back from my first extended trip to London in January I was met with so many, “Oh I so wish I could do that!” greetings. And I couldn’t stop shouting from the moutaintops, “You can! You can!”

In this week’s post on IFB I talk about how to start creating new friendships in places you want to travel thanks to the glorious free resources of the internet, blogs & social media. In addition to seeking out style bloggers, photographers & the like on blogs & social media, I also requested to be included in the London Facebook groups through the entrepreneurship classes I’d taken.

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{left to right: pepperdine delta gammas & kappas erica, mary kate & molly; speaking at a beauty bloggers brunch for safira & julie; meeting online entrepreneur friends alicia & inga in person}

However, if you aren’t a blogger or entrepreneur there are still so many ways to seek our new contacts in a foreign country:

  • Sports & activities: As I type this I’m sitting at CamYoga in Cambridge where I’ve met so many nice people. I’d looked up the studio before I came & have made a point to arrive early, not be in a rush to leave & be open to conversation. I could have buried my head & written this post faster, but I’ve been chatting with the manager Tom & am sure if I ask later he’d be happy to invite me along to drinks with friends in town this week to meet other locals. You could do this with tennis, dance, whatever you enjoy.
  • Churches & places of faith: I sought out a few large churches I was aware of in London & joined their Facebook groups. As I suggest in the IFB article I also spread the word to friends, many of whom pointed me to Christian friends of theirs who’ve invited me to events (though to be honest I’ve been so busy with work & other contacts I  haven’t taken advantage of these in my first two trips). Whatever your spiritual inclination, there are meeting places & online groups around that shared perspective.
  • Sorority or alumni groups: I haven’t sought this out on Facebook myself, but am sure most greek & university chapters have expat groups in various parts of the world. Again you might stumble upon this just by putting it out there to your friends who’ll think of this or that friend.
  • Broader business groups: Whatever industry you’re in there’s surely a meetup happening, a chance to go network & meet likeminded folks. Even think outside you’re industry. I’m not in Public Relations, but could definitely spin my reason for being there as a stylist looking to leverage more PR. Who knows, maybe I’d meet the perfect contact for PR in the UK!
  • Conferences: I’ve yet to explore this but it’s on my radar to look into business & blogging conferences in London that might take place during a stay. They’re great opportunities for developing relationships even if you walk in knowing no one, as it’s a business-card-let’s-be-new-friends-fest.

Whichever avenue you go to explore new relationships, Simon Sinek in his 99% Talk points out that it’s easy to find these because when we have just one unexpected thing in common with someone it creates instant trust.

Even if you’re only in town for 3 days, these relationships can help you find the best cafe or local hang-out. Or if you’re traveling for longer as I am, can lead to genuine friendships, being invited to people’s homes & spending a season in a new place on a richer level of experiences.

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{exploring a bookshop with photog michelle; at the ballet with style bloggers briony, dearne, charlotte, lucy; fashion pr party with anna}

Where would you like to travel in the world? Promise yourself in the comments below one thing you can do this month to start keepig your eyes & heart open for new friendships there ...

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P.S. Do you have a friend who's always talking about how they wish they could travel? Email them this post!

P.P.S. This is the first in a four-part series that's not just about living more richly through travel, but living more simply with the secret I've discovered through my recent travels. It's changing everything for me. Everything. And I can't wait to share. Till then love from Cambridge, England ...

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