How to make new friends
Updated: 7 January 2020
By Evan O'Donoghue
I moved to Christchurch from Australia over ten years ago, but I'll never forget the first few years and how difficult it was to make new friends.
In many ways I was fortunate, having a fiancé from the area who could introduce me to her family, but I needed something more.
Drawn to a broader social network, I reached out. Here are some tips (in no particular order) if you find yourself in a similar situation.
List of tips.
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Meetup is an online directory that can help you find groups of people who share a common interest. The site has an active Christchurch community and there's no shortage of options.
Whether you're a cycling enthusiast, techie, adventurer, food lover, etc. there's something for everyone. You can even join a group based on age.
2. Join a gym.
Going to the gym is a great way to keep in shape, feel good about yourself and meet new people. There are plenty of opportunities to strike up a conversation between sets or at a fitness class.
Stick to a weekly schedule and it won't be long before you recognise some familiar faces.
3. Join a sports club.
Cantabrians love their sport, and the grassroots competition in Christchurch is as diverse as it is numerous.
Join a club in your area and enjoy a winning spirit of camaraderie.
- Table Tennis
If we’re being honest, giving of your spare time to serve others isn’t a very appealing way to meet new people. A regular day job can be busy enough, without having to sacrifice even more time to helping others.
This was my sediment for years, until I finally took the plunge and started volunteering. I never thought I'd say this, but it’s my new favourite pastime.
Over the years I’ve made some amazing friends through serving the community. There’s a real sense of achievement that comes with the role, and opportunities to get involved are just about endless.
5. Rodem House.
Rodem House is a fun international outreach ministry that provides a free meal for students, workers and guests from all over the world.
I've been on a number of occasions and always enjoy myself. The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly, and there are usually a few icebreakers to encourage conversation.
You don't have to be a foreigner to attend.
Rodem House meets once a week and there's even a free optional English class you can attend prior to dinner.
6. Start a hobby.
Learn a new skill while you meet people. Here's a brief list of hobbies to try:
- Cooking or baking
- Music (i.e. learn an instrument)
- Public speaking
- Sewing, knitting & crafts
- Visual Art (painting, sculpting, photography, etc.)
Some of these hobbies might seem autonomous, prima facie, but each skill has a range of clubs and organisations you can join in Christchurch. Search online for options.
7. Socialise with colleagues from work.
Whether it's a casual conversation in the break room, a slice of cake on a colleague's birthday, or a social night out, there are plenty of opportunities to make new friends at work.
Use your 40 hours a week to get to know the team and build a personal rapport.
8. Go to church.
Of all the ways to meet new people, this has been my most successful and enduring.
My whole social life revolves around my local church, which is warm and welcoming to newcomers from all walks of life.
You don’t have to be a Sunday regular to get involved and there are plenty of opportunities to socialise throughout the week including Connect Groups.
9. Connect with other parents.
A playdate for the kids is an excellent opportunity to meet new people, share a hot drink and chat.
Conversation might start over parenthood, but it won't be long before topics broaden and you're talking like old friends.
My wife and I have met a number of couples since our children started attending primary school. The continued interaction between the kids is the perfect impetus for establishing and building new relationships.
10. Join a Facebook group.
Whatever your age, relationship status, nationality, career, hobby, interests, or need, there’s probably a Facebook group for you in Christchurch. It’s a great way to connect with the local community and socialise at a shared event.
Take the first step today.
Making new friends takes time and persistence.
You'll need to move beyond your comfort zone, put yourself out there and introduce yourself. Practice makes perfect, and eventually you'll recognise some familiar faces that develop into friendship and an active social life.
Don't put it off. Start the journey today.