Unfamiliar surroundings and new ways of life. Getting to know people in a foreign country can be a real challenge. It’s not uncommon for Germany to be seen as a complicated country to get into conversation with locals and make friends. But don’t bury your head in the sand too quickly. In this article we would like to give you some tricks and tips for meeting new people in Germany and making lasting friendships.
What are the important prerequisites for making friends in Germany?
The key is openness. To make friends in Germany, you need to be open for learning about new cultures, sharing common interests with other people and be willing to socialize at local events.
So why is it so hard to make friends in Germany?
Possible reasons that make it difficult to make friends in Germany could be that Germans tend to be distant with others, cling to their childhood friends, and prefer to have a small group of real close friends rather than a large group of acquaintances. However, these “prejudices” – if that’s what you want to call them – should not be generalized to all locals, nor are such claims scientifically proofed.
Here are some tips for gaining access to German culture
Instead of bombarding you with facts and online research results (boring (!)), we, Leb Bunt e.V., have decided to include as many personal experiences as possible and to give you practical tips that have already proven successful with our team members.
TOP 1: Join a sports club or a yoga, meditation or dance class.
You can take dance, yoga, painting, cooking or other classes that interest you, depending on local offerings and personal preference. It is best to have a common ground to share the same interests, whether with a local or someone else.
TOP 2: Join an association like “Leb Bunt” to get in touch with new nice people.
A club or association opens so many doors to meet new people. There is a club for pretty much every hobby you can think of. From choirs, volleyball, soccer, mountain biking, hiking, creative works, gliding, gardening and much more.
Leb Bunt e.V. specifically connects people of different nationalities as well as different generations. Therefore, it lays a unique foundation for cultural and at the same time intergenerational exchange of experiences at common activities like cooking evenings or other occasions and gatherings.
TOP 3: Learn new skills and meet new people at the same time – Attend a course at your local adult education center.
The Volkshochschule, or VHS for short, is a communal institution offering a variety of courses for further education at very reasonable prices. It is an ideal place to meet other people with the same interests as yours. Tip: You can easily find your local adult education center by googling: “adult education center + name of your city”.
TOP 4: Join Facebook groups (or other social media) and/or chats. It’s a hundred times easier to meet like-minded people online.
If you have a Facebook account, you can find all kinds of social groups. You can easily search for interest or hobby groups in your area.
When I moved to Karlsruhe during my dual studies, I was in three social media groups, and it was a wonderful way to socialize and network virtually.
Have you heard about Meetup (https://www.meetup.com/) ? It is a well-known website for attending local events close to you. Users organize both online and offline events. You can participate in outdoor and indoor activities, in both English and German.
TOP 5: Just do your thing and meet people along the way. The person sitting next to you on the train could become your best friend.
So who says it’s not so common in today’s digital age to meet people randomly on the street. Let alone making friends with them – a fallacy.
However, it’s not a good idea to regard the workplace as the sole place to make friends – even if some of your colleagues might be your friends.
Last but not least, two personal suggestions.
Volunteering not only provides an ideal opportunity to socialize with other committed people, but also to help others or the environment. Some online platforms offer specific volunteer opportunities in German cities or smaller communities.
Set up a meeting with your neighbor.
After you move into your new apartment, be sure to introduce yourself to the people in your neighborhood. Who knows, you might meet some really nice neighbors! I know a lot of people who get together with their neighbors on a regular basis or organize street parties. They celebrate birthdays and other special occasions together. So don’t be shy. In the worst case, you’ve made a good impression by introducing yourself to them 😉.
Phew, now that was more ways than I thought. Just put together your preferred mix – the friendships will come automatically.
Nevertheless: With all the ways shown, there are three aspects to follow:
1. Learn the German language.
Show willingness to integrate: Locals are more open to foreigners if they make an effort to speak the national language. Therefore, our recommendation is to start learning German as soon as possible to “break the ice”.
2. Be patient if you want to make friends in Germany.
Germans need time to “warm up” to new people. After a few months, a first acquaintance can turn into a real friendship. So be patient and give your counterpart time to learn more about you.
3. Stick to your word and convey credibility.
Trust is the foundation, the cornerstone of any friendship. This may not only be true for Germans, but in general. So make sure that when you promise something, you do it and stick to it.
Conclusion – And what is the “moral of the story” – the takeaway from the reading minutes.
Friendship works differently in every culture. In Germany, it takes time, patience and perseverance to find a true friend. Here at Leb Bunt, we like to compare Germans to coconuts. Because they are hard on the outside, but once you crack the shell, they are sweet. Once you make a German friend, you will have one for life!
During your time in Germany, you’ll probably find that it’s much easier to make friends with other nationalities than with Germans. But don’t get stuck in your expat bubble! We encourage you to get out, settle in, and get to know Germans and their culture. Who knows, maybe your next best friend will be a German 😉.
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Feel free to write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Julia, currently living in Siegen. I love meeting new people and sharing common experiences – The more colorful, the better. Generating knowledge, learning from each other and public relations are close to my heart.
I joined Leb Bunt because it is a great community. Big ups for colorful multicultural initiatives!