Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 11th 2013 Contents B7
August 11, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Expat life means having to begin
from scratch in various places all
over the world. This does not only
concern practical issues such as
finding a new apartment, but it also
involves your personal relation-
ships. This can be particularly hard
for single expatriates without a
partner or family to come along,
or for shy, more introverted types.
Here are some pointers you can use
for making new friends after you
Before you move to a new city, it
feels like it s going to be a new start
and an opportunity to make new
friends, but once you settle in you
start wondering how to actually
make friends in this new place. A
few months go by and you start to
feel depressed to see friends and
couples laughing and having a good
time on a Friday night.
Why should it be so hard to make
friends in a new city? We learn about
dating, relationships, health, money
and many other useful life skills. But
we act as if the skill of making
friends is something you should be
Making friends in a new city---
revealing the hidden challenge
Not being able to make friends in
your new home is just a surface-
level challenge. But it hides a bigger
problem...Not knowing how to make
friends altogether is the real chal-
Moving to a new city puts you
"on the spot" and you feel stuck.
You don t know where to go, what
to do, and what specific steps to take
to meet new people, socialise and
form personal connections beyond
basic small talk about the weather.
In the next section of this article,
I want to tell you about the steps to
take to get you from loneliness to
having a nice circle of friends.
steps and techniques
As I said before, there are specific
steps you can take to go from a place
where you have no friends, feel lone-
ly, rejected, and literally ostracised
from society (I know, I ve been there),
to a situation you want: a situation
where you have people to go out
with, friends that understand and
support you, friends to celebrate
holidays and have great weekends
These steps are as follows:
• Meeting new people
• Having great conversations
• Keeping in touch and creating a
• Forming a solid group of friends
These are perfectly learnable skills.
If you learn them, you would never
have a problem making friends again,
in your current city or a new one.
For the first of these steps, meeting
new people, I want to share with
you what I call the "join the team"
technique. It works so well that I
like to joke around and say that it s
a "diplomat-level" technique. We
all know how diplomats can make
friends with anyone in the world,
no matter how powerful they are.
Meeting new people---the
"join the team" technique
Everybody tells you that if you
want to meet new friends, you need
to join a club of some kind, like an
expat association or an InterNations
Activity Group. But that takes lots
of motivation and dedication. If you
are a little shy or introverted, it can
be very intimidating to go do that
and fit in with an established group.
There is a way to meet new friends
without much work.
What you can do is find a club
that holds regular get-togethers,
show up once or twice and seek to
join the organising team. Just go to
the people that run the events and
tell them that you re available if they
need some help.
Tell them specifically: "Hey guys,
I really like these events, and I m
starting to think that I could maybe
help you out. I have a little extra
time, and I would love to contribute
to organising these events."
Most teams that manage these
groups love it when new people offer
to help. This works so well because
it obligates you to show up to the
events. If you re not a member of
the organising team, it s easy to pro-
crastinate and stay home. When you
commit to helping the team, you
just go to the event, you don t even
think about it.
It also works well because every-
one becomes grateful for your help.
You don t need to be extroverted or
popular to help, anyone can do it.
The team and the members will nat-
urally come talk to you and meet
you, which makes things even eas-
ier---and the organisational tasks and
shared activities automatically give
you a topic of conversation to break
Now, you might be thinking, "Hey,
wait a minute. I m busy as it is. I
don t have time for extra work!"
If that s the case, then you can
relax. That s what I thought at first.
As it turns out, these teams are
already established, which means
they already share the major tasks
between them, and there is usually
not too much to do for complete
newcomers. I don t think it can get
easier than this. Go ahead and give
it a try---good luck!
Make new friends
without much work
JANICE LEARMOND CRIQUI CPC, ACC
Ideal Life Associate Certified Coach
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