I feel like one topic that always arises in a conversation with my non-German friends living in Germany, is about the difficulties of making German friends. I may not be the most outgoing person you’ll meet, but I’m also not shy. Being someone who’s lived in almost a different city or country for the past five years, I feel like I’ve always made friends effortlessly wherever I went.
Then again, perhaps it helps that the countries I’ve lived in are Canada, the US, and Australia – countries known for very open, friendly and outgoing people. I’ve made friends at uni, work, parties, and even just walking down the street.
Now with Germany, as much as I do like it here, it’s hard to ignore the stereotypes of Germans being cold and unwelcoming. Some of my friends are some of the most outgoing people I know, and yet they still struggle in making German friends. Looking back on all the friends I’ve made since I came here in August, I realized that I do have quite a bit of German friends. True, had I been living in another country, my friends count may be triple of what it is here, but at the same time, I guess I must be doing something right!
So, after brainstorming and thinking back on all the different ways I’ve met all these Germans, here’s a list of things you can possibly do to meet some more Germans! (They’ve worked for me at least!)
Live in a student residence
I subletted a room in a student apartment for the first two months that I came here, from someone who was away in another city for an internship. With so many students living together, it’s not too hard meeting some Germans!
Live in a WG
This is pretty much a shared apartment, and having a few roommates who are German can be a good way of becoming friends with them. While I only live with one other roommate, we’ve become pretty good friends, and through him, I’ve also met all of his friends. I’ve also noticed that when I was apartment searching on wg-gesucht.de, by telling these potential roommates that I’m moving to Germany from Canada, some have offered to show me around the city, or meet up for coffee, even though we didn’t become roommates.
I was pretty lucky that I had a Canadian friend living in Mannheim when I first moved here. Through her, I was also able to become friends with some of her friends. Even if you don’t know anyone living in Germany, it doesn’t hurt to also ask your friends from home. Maybe one of them did an exchange to Germany, or know some Germans that you could potentially meet through them and become friends with.
Dating a German
Ok, maybe I’m jumping ahead a bit, but dating a German is a good way of meeting other Germans!
Going to parties, clubs and bars
While Germans tend to stay within their group of friends when they go out, it is entirely possible to meet them on a night out. Sometimes you may have to be the one to approach them first, but it never hurts to talk to one and see what happens!
Travel to other countries
Yes it does sound ironic, but it works! Germans love to travel, and the ones who go abroad tend to be the most outgoing. Some of my German friends have joked about traveling to Australia to make more German friends, and in a way it’s true! I did become pretty good friends with some German backpackers during my time in Australia, and I’m still good friends with them!
Using the ToyTownGermany forums
True, the site is catered toward English speaking expats living in Germany, so it’s unlikely you’d make any German friends on there. On the other hand, it’s great for making friends in general. I’ve used it and met some girls that I’ve become pretty good friends with. Because it’s a website for expats, most of these people are also probably going through the same feelings of adjusting to living in another country, and also figuring how ways to become friends with the locals. In that case, it’s great to be able to team up, and go out to make some new German friends together!
Have you found it hard making friends in Germany? What thoughts and advice do you have?