Being an expat in Germany can be as exciting as it can be frustrating. One common problem that expats often face is loneliness. Here's how you can make new friends in Germany quickly:
1. Don't take German behaviour personally
Before building a social life in Germany, it's important to understand that the Germans are in general extremely closed off. Especially if you are from an English speaking country, you will most probably perceive the Germans to be slightly unfriendly and cold. Don't take it personally. If you can, ignore it. It has nothing to do with you: Germans are always very cautious towards strangers and they struggle with letting go of control. If you keep that in mind, it will not take long and you will see that Germans are very well able to relax - if you give them the time they need.
2. Join a club
Germans love joining clubs. They engage in sports, books, pets or dining and they commit themselves happily to meeting regularly as a group. This helps to develop friendships with the other members over time. And don't be afraid that your German will not be good enough (or non-existent), because everybody in Germany speaks English and will be more than happy to help you with the language. Try to see it as a free German class.
3. Book a course or evening class
A good way to make new friends in Germany is the "Volkshochschule", which is a well established adult education centre. It offers all sorts of affordable educational courses, from art, to IT, cooking, self-improvement or even gardening. You can find more information on www.volkshochschule.de
4. Learn German
Don't see this as a chore: Learning a new language can be great fun and it definitely will improve your creativity! Find a teacher who can motivate and inspire you, or a course that makes you feel comfortable and welcome. A good way to find a private German teacher in Germany is the website eBay-Kleinanzeigen. If you prefer a class, then you can either search on Volkshochschule (as described above) or at one of the language schools. The best search word for finding a German class on Google would be your city, plus "Deutsch lernen" ("learn German").
5. Imagine your future German friends
What kind of people would you like to meet and be friends with? In my view, this is one of the key success factors of making new friends in general. You have to create these new friends by imagining what they look like, what you like about them, what feeling you want them to give you. This may sound strange if you have never done this before, but it works! Give it a try, take a moment to relax and to imagine yourself with your new German friends. Enjoy the pleasure of this moment and the positive feeling of belonging and having friends around you. I wish you good luck with building a great social life in Germany!
Continue reading: "Why are Germans so closed off?" Tipps for expats living in Germany.
I'm Natalie Marby, an English speaking therapist in Hamburg, Germany. I am half German and half British and I offer psychotherapy in English, especially for expats living in Hamburg. To contact me, you can send me an email or call me: (040) 46090233. (Please don't forget to send me your phone number and the times I can reach you). I look forward to hearing from you!