Making friends as an adult can be challenging, especially within a new and unfamiliar culture. However, a great friend can drastically change your life for the better. So to simplify the challenge of making friends abroad, see below for the most powerful method I have found and why most generic methods fail.
A Friend In An Unexpected Place
As I awkwardly sat next to my wife in our prenatal class pretending to understand the Japanese nurse. I began to think about how different and strange my life had become compared to only a year ago.
Luckily, not only was I about to learn a shocking new way to use a tennis ball. I was also about to discover that no matter how odd your life may seem, there is always someone else with a similar or even stranger tale. This is where my good friend Rahmi comes in, see the video above to learn more about our unexpected story.
Why Generic Techniques Fail
Before my unexpected experience of making a new friend within a prenatal class in Tokyo. I had tried many generic techniques that all failed to result with lasting results, including…
- Joining a local day class or workshop.
- Getting together with friends of friends and or relatives.
- Casually talking with locals who understand my language.
From my experience, all of these techniques share the same critical flaw. They more or less force us to interact just because we are supposed to. Rather than engaging out of necessity, authenticity, or support.
My Best Tip On Making Friends Abroad
Surprisingly, the most successful method I found was not a method at all. It was simply the result of staying slightly more open to those around me through necessity, collaboration, and support.
Naturally, when we engage with others by sharing advice, a meaningful experience, or working through similar challenges. Deep connection naturally occurs. Allowing you to skip the awkward ice breakers and eliminate the option of backing out altogether.
In my case, by staying open to the only other English-speaking soon-to-be dad within the prenatal class in Tokyo. We were able to build a strong relationship by sharing the same awkward struggles throughout the day. As well as continue to share advice, food, and adventures long afterward. As we continued to adapt to a new culture and lifestyle in Japan.
In conclusion, my suggestion is rather than try to force interaction, go out and experience life while opening up to those around you just a little bit more. If an opportunity arises to share an experience, helpful advice, or challenge with others, go for it! I’m sure by adopting this mindset you are bound to meet your next great friend when you least expect it. At least I did…