10 ways to meet new people

How to create yourself in a new place? How to live a happy social life in a new place not knowing anybody around? In an expat life this is one of the questions you may face, especially if you are a social animal who pines for new people around. Of course, everybody is different and there are the people for whom one or two people to know is enough. Therefore, adjust the list below to your needs.

Coming to a new place some people may lack a fluency in a native tongue of their destination, which may be additional difficulty. I have been moving twice so far, twice to totally new places knowing only one person. I want to share with you some tricks that may help you feel at home quickly even if you are totally new to the city and you are not fluent in the local language. I want to share few tricks that worked for me as an expat. Remember that it is better to be outstanding, than an outsider.

1. Cultivate your passion
This is one of the best sources of new bros. People who are keen on the same things are perfect candidates to become your precious friends.
I love singing so coming to Malaga I was looking for a choir to sing with. I did not find any that is open to take new people on board and that focuses on gospel music only, so I started a new gospel choir. The research time was not a waste of time, though. In the first three months of living in Malaga I found a local private music school where I got to know something more about Malaga and its musical spirit. 

I took part in scat and gospel workshops with Irene Shamps organized in Malaga, and I met a few local bands and artists, owners of music shops. Thanks to the news in the local music world I noticed and enjoyed local choir festival Canta en Primavera, too.

Being in all these places I got to know some people I still keep in touch with. With some of them I meet regularly because of our common interests.

2. Look around professionally
When you visit some business meetings, meetup groups, conferences, you may benefit twice. Firstly because of your business, secondly because of new people you may go running or have fun with. All in all business is built on relations.

I gave some lightning talk at one of them. Visiting such events you get to know the organizers and other visitors, but this is also the awesome chance to learn something new and share your business experiences. A Meetup is usually an awesome chance to meet a lot of people from around the world who do business and live in the city. This way you can also discover various local initiatives, in my case it was e.g. meeting Bolt founders and learning more about local startup accelerator.

If you are a freelancer familiar with coworking spaces, getting to know loads of people can be easier than you thought. Uncle Google will be a great help here. Malaga also has a few coworking spaces worth checking. If you work on contract, be open to what your workplace may offer you. If you look around, for sure you will meet some people worth spending time also after duty hours.

3. Don’t hide yourself in your matrix
When you meet new people and believe this might be a person you want to meet for the second time, don’t feel ashamed to say something more than a casual greeting. I don’t mean revealing the closely guarded secrets from your life. I rather mean being open to what live gives you, taking up a challenge to get to know somebody. Being active in communication, asking to meet the people around you.

If you prefer writing and rethinking beforehand what to say about yourself I suggest starting some blog where you can express what lives mean for you and what kind of values you prefer. It may be additional home for your thoughts and, who knows, it can help you reach your goals, make new acquaintances or even friends.

If you come to a city like Malaga, it’s not a huge problem to meet people from all around the world. Do not be afraid try, you learn by practice. I personally, during the first three months living here, discovered that a lot of people are not from here, they come from Colombia, France, Albania, Australia or USA. They have just lived here for so long their accent is so good that you as a foreigner don’t differentiate it. I love international cities, it makes each day so much more interesting.

It is usually a plus if a local fruit shop seller knows you are new to the city, they are more willing to explain, suggest, offer a help. They remember your preferences and the next time you come they know what you need, and offer you someregalito to make you a satisfied customer. They don’t treat your visit as a single shopping, they start treating you more as a local dweller. People in Andalucia like talking, giving advice and also gossiping, so take benefit of what might serve you a new life here.

4. Be proactive
Be a doer. Use the lack of something as a trigger to create. When a group you want to join doesn’t exist, create one. Really!

Do not complain that you miss something or you can’t find anyone who share your interests. Being a grumpy cat does not help to feel like home in any new place. Of course, if you are an expat, you have to be aware of culture differences, new conditions, and a Spanish character, but there is nothing impossible for those who really try.

In Malaga I met few other doers who are not afraid to devote their time to create something outstanding. It’s not easy to organize something from scratch but, as they say, here you have to do it poco a poco. You need to be patient, openminded and respectful. However you also need to be active if you want to achieve any worth relationships in a den of strangers eating letters at each word ending. Take benefit of what Andalucia can offer you. Do you know the joke talking with God about about winning in a lottery? Yes? So it means you must be aware of the old truth that if you do not try, nothing can help you to reach your goal.

5. Stay in touch with old friends
That will also help you live through the time of change. The first months may be a bit harder because everything around is new and takes time to discover. At the same time you may have the impression that your previous stage of life was so stable and organized, especially when you look at what your friends are up to. 

It doesn’t matter if you stay abroad only for a while or for much longer, having contact with the old good friends through hangouts, skype, twitter, facebook or mails can be awesome. Why? It may help you survive in a moments where you look for understanding, advice, help or a simple talk about anything with a person that knows everything about you. Also, it’s so nice when you can share the news from your expat life with them, your joys, doubts, and also check what’s their perspective on some issues that you find problematic in a new place. Their fresh ideas may help you discover some new ways to the solutions that you haven’t even thought about. Being outside of the situation and also having a status of friends, may make them good advisers. 

There is also, one more down-to-earth factor of keeping in touch: they are your friends! In order to be a friend you cannot forget that they exist just only because you change a place where you live. Greetings to one of them, Ewa I miss you!

6. Smile
Show that you are not a grumpy cat. On the street, in a shop, in a queue, in a bus. You never know whom you may meet, what kind of people they know and how it can change your life. In this way we met Ela and Douglas. 

Doing shopping on a local market we’re using Polish with my husband when suddenly some cheerful person told meCześć. This Polish greeting accompanied with a wide smile of Ela made my day then. It turned out that they live with Douglas in the same borough of Malaga. We still keep in touch, go to the beach to talk how’s life, have some tapas together, and exchange some experiences about life in Malaga. It also turned out that we share some business values, so the conversations seem not to have an end when we meet together.  Smile to people around and catch the moment.

7. Go out for a coffee with social media
When you don’t know where to go to meet the right guys, ask uncle Google, search the social media, look through some local blogs, join forums for expats. Why don’t you ask but also answer and share what you learnt? Look for some expat blogs from the same culture, local expat groups, see how other write about the same problems you may be struggling with. Join forums, help and get a help. Who asks is the winner. Who helps gets a double prize. Look for other newbies around you. Learn the lessons they want to share with you. Of course, do not take each answer for granted, check it out, assess and work out yourown solution based also on what you learnt from others.

8. Join language exchanges
If you don’t know Spanish well and want to live in a city for longer, getting to know the Andalú would be crucial. The city is international and there are the places where you would, without any problem, order a meal or buy something in English. However, if you want to immerse in this culture and get to know local people I strongly recommend looking for language exchange. Why not a private language school? Well, I believe there is no sense to pay for something which may be too formal if you can organize learning a language in a way that fits you and is completely custom-built experience.

I started looking for the language class online and in a short time organized regular meetings with three completely different kinds of people. We found two of them in Intercambio and the third person asked for the class because he found me on a group thanks to the group called English teachers on Facebook.

Learning the language is a marvelous way to get to know new people. It is so easy then to benefit from custom-built and organized way of learning new culture and the Spanish language. Being in Spain you have to be aware of various accents and differences in vocabulary. Therefore all the people we chose are from Andalucia. We didn’t take into consideration people from Madrid or Barcelona.

Two couples that we meet with are from Malaga and the third, Roberto, is the teacher from San Fernando, Cadiz province, Andalucia. It is really awesome way to get to know new people. We had a luck that the descriptions in the portfolios of the people with whom we meet made an easy choice for us. They really turned out to be the kind of people you do not want just only to have a language exchange with, but also go out for tapas and have fun in the weekend.

I have also heard about various group language exchanges organized in the Malaga center in some clubs, hotels, or tapas bars. Having the experience of teaching, we chose option to learn in a smaller groups. Going to meetings that don’t have any bigger plan doesn’t convince me. What’s more, if you have the language exchange with one or two people, you choose the place. I cannot focus much on learning in a typical Spanish tapas bar. Why? They are simply crowded and noisy. I don’t say a definite no for these kind of meetings. However, it is not the best for the level that we are in right now (basic). Below you can see one of our teachers, Roberto. Here, since there is some problem with the distance between San Fernando and Cadiz, we have skype class. During our visit in Cadiz. having this kind of a language teacher and also a city guide was a real pleasure. 

9. Be open
Be open to what a new place can bring you. Being open-minded can for sure serve the moments of cultural shock and make you accept the differences. 

Do not assess, respect, appreciate variety and the fact that there is no pattern that everybody should follow. You will learn a lot then, do not assume, but ask, talk, try to understand. At the same time communicate your needs and point of view, but be open to get an answer that may not fit your attitude. Do not be afraid to give more than you get in a relationship. However, demand the basic respect and engagement if you want to continue the relationship. Be open to what’s going on and react in a way that does not harm anybody, but allows you to feel free in the new relationship, no matter what kind of character it has. 

Huge number of people come to Malaga because of the sunny weather. All the fiestas, beaches, number of sunny hours during a year, delicious cuisine, and much more makes people relaxed and open. Take it as the advantage condition for building new relationships. People are open, people are willing to talk, generally people here feel well, be open for other open people. This is Andalucian culture both of newcommers and the Boquerones.

10. Be patient
Come back in your mind to the previous place where you lived, recall how long did you build a real friendship, what you had to go through to be ready to call a person a friend. Everything that is worth attention grows organically. The same is about any new relationships. 

Create yourself in a new world, accept the challenges, be yourself, don’t be afraid to outstand from the crowd when there is a need, but grow organically.

I hope this list will serve not just only newbies in Malaga, but other expats looking for new relationships. If you liked these tips, please share it, give it a tweet and thumbs up. I am waiting for your comments and suggestions. I am all the time looking for similar tips, but don’t be afraid to add yours.

Published http://theonewhodo.es/malaga/10-ways-to-meet-new-people/

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