Truth: It is hard to make friends in London. Although finding friends in any new city can be daunting, making acquaintances in London is especially challenging. With the list below, it is easy to see why you’re having difficulty building a posse in London as you settle into London expat life. Fear not! There are solutions to overcome these “friend making” difficulties.
1. It’s hard to meet people.
Strangers don’t like to greet you because they’re in a hurry (because their rail or tube line is experiencing delays), they’re preoccupied (grumbling about those transportation delays) or they don’t want to intrude upon your personal quietude (because you’re jammed together in the delayed train, and making friends with someone whose armpit is shoved into your face is difficult).
At my old office, it took some workers 2.5 months before they ventured a “hello” in my direction. It took others more than our 3 month ease to greet me or acknowledge my presence in general.
Solution: Attempt to greet others, but be aware that they might just stare at you warily or duck their heads and mumble a quick “hello.”
2. It’s hard to coordinate schedules.
Congratulations. Somehow you made it to the next stage.
As hinted previously, people who live in London are supposedly busier than those who live in other places. Or at least they have the “busy” pretense to keep up with. Even still, free time is a commodity for folks that work full-time, so everyone is constantly assessing: “Do I really want to spend my leisure time to go out with someone I just met? Is this person actually going to be a friend, or did he/she just manage to mask his/her weirder tendencies on our initial meeting?”
Solution: Assess open dates (“maybe we can meet up next Friday?”) together throughout the week, giving flexibility to all parties. However, always try to keep more concrete dates that have been assigned venues and appointments that have already been pushed back.
3. It’s hard to decide upon a venue.
You’ve found a potential friend and agreed to allot precious free time to spend together, enriching each other’s lives.
The thoughts echoing in your head as you leave your home may sound like, “You want me to take 3 forms of transport to travel and hour each way and spend X pounds to meet you when you’e just going to walk across the street!?” You may even already be cursing your newfound friends as you plan the journey ahead and the longer journey back.
Solution: Suck it up this time and lobby for a more convenient location for next time.