How To Make Friends When Moving Abroad and Why The Right Mindset Is Key

How To Make Friends When Moving Abroad and Why The Right Mindset Is Key

by: Sarah Siegert

Making friends as an adult can be difficult, especially when you move abroad. Saying goodbye to our old life, adjusting to a new life abroad, AND making new friends? That’s a lot! I get you because I’ve been in the same situation. I moved to England 4 years ago and didn’t know anyone apart from my partner when I got here. 

In this article, I want to share some tips on connecting with people and making new friends abroad.

But before we dive in, I want to share with you the most important thing, more important than any hack or tip I can give you. 

You need the right mindset to make friends and maintain those friendships successfully. It’s not enough to follow some actions that I suggest here. You will need to think and feel in a certain way FIRST. And that’s the main thing I support people with as a coach.

The mindset is crucial before you start taking action but maybe even more so while working towards your goals. While you’re on your journey, you will encounter difficulties. Our brain likes to freak out at that point, but barriers and setbacks are normal and okay – nothing has gone wrong. 

For example, there will be times when you would rather stay on the couch and watch Netflix than go to your new yoga group and meet new people, but you need to be committed and go anyway. There will also be times when someone rejects you, and you need to be willing and able to accept that and move on.

There will be times when you meet someone, and you’re just not ‘clicking.’ You will need to be motivated to continue to find YOUR ‘best fit.’ There will be barriers, and there will be thoughts about those barriers; those thoughts will be significant and influence EVERYTHING. That’s why it is so important to get coaching on your thought management because it can make or break your whole emotional well-being, the journey of making friends, and the results you create in your life. 

Alright, let’s dive in!

Make the process and goal of creating new friendships a priority. 

I know you have a lot going on, and it feels like you might not have much free time to dedicate to it, but even setting 30 minutes a day aside to connect with people can be enough. Look at your weekly schedule; how do you actually spend your time? From all those things in your diary: what’s really important stays, and what’s not very important can be shortened or deleted – eliminate all ‘time-wasting ‘ activities.

Then schedule time for friendships, meet people, stay in touch, and connect with them deeper. But scheduling it into your diary is not necessarily enough; you must honor your time and commitment and follow through with it. What are the barriers that could come up for you? It could be a lack of motivation; what can you do to counteract that BEFORE it comes up? Maybe prepare your gym kit beforehand, plan something nice after attending your group, writing post-it notes with motivational quotes. Whatever works for you, it’s important to foresee barriers and plan for them before it happens.


Get yourself out there to meet new people 

You can do this online or in person, whatever you prefer. The main priority is meeting people who could become your friends. Meeting people online might be easy and time effective but less personal.

You can use friendship apps, Facebook groups, or websites. Meeting people in person can be more efficient but requires more time and can seem scary at first. If you prefer to meet people in person, research local groups and activities, join a new gym, or have a chat with your neighbor. You can decide how and who you want to meet; get creative! If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, I have created a free resource on all the best ways to meet new people; you can download it here.

Be yourself when you go out and meet new people

The best thing you can do is show up as your true self. Be goofy if you’re naturally goofy. Be quiet if you’re naturally quiet. Be yourself. Don’t try and be someone you’re not. It will be exhausting to you, and if you befriend the other person, they will find out at some point anyway, which would most likely be very weird. 

Lots of my clients struggle to be themselves because they find it scary. They’re worried about being judged and rejected. So to be yourself, you need to feel confident. You need to accept yourself with all your positive sides and your flaws. Once you get to a place of acceptance and appreciation for yourself, you will show up in a way that will signal other people to treat you the same way. If you struggle to feel confident, ask yourself, ‘what are all the things I like about myself? What are all the things others like about me?’

Write a list of everything that comes to your mind. You can then use this list to remind yourself daily of all the beautiful things about yourself, gradually building up your confidence.


Be patient with yourself and the friendship-making process

The key to making friends is spending a lot of good quality time with the people you meet. We need to spend up to 200 hours of quality time with someone to call them a ‘good friend.’ It might seem like a lot (and it is!), but it’s manageable with the right time management strategies and mindset.

How can you spend quality time with someone? Try and do some fun activities with the other person, something you would do yourself anyway or enjoy doing. Combine chores or tasks you have to do with nurturing your new friendships. For example, ask your friend to join you for a dog walk or do a joint ‘cooking dinner together’ party via videocall. Again, get creative on spending as much quality time as possible with your new friend. 

How to Make Friends When Moving Abroad

Don’t give up if things go wrong. 

Not everyone you’ll meet will like you, and that’s fine. There will be people who won’t like the even juiciest peach, and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean that the peach isn’t good enough or that there is something wrong with it; it just means that that person doesn’t like peaches.

And that’s the same in your situation – if someone doesn’t like you for who you are, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you or that you’re not likable. It just means that you weren’t their cup of tea for this person, but you will find other people who will love you for who you are, so keep showing up and meeting people. 


These are some of my tips for you on how to make new friends abroad. I have more information and resources available on my Instagram account. If you have any questions or need help with anything friendship-related, please email or DM me on Instagram.


Otherwise, good luck, get out there and make lots of new friends! You’ve got this.


This article is a guest post by Sarah Siegert

How to Make Friends Abroad

Hi! My name is Sarah. I’m originally from Germany and moved to England 4 years ago. After overcoming lots of drama in my life and building many amazing connections abroad, I became a friendship coach for expats. I am supporting other people who moved abroad in overcoming their mind drama and other barriers that are keeping them from getting out there, meeting people, making friends, and maintaining deep and meaningful friendships. I’m helping them to feel less lonely and isolated, so they can finally enjoy their life abroad.

Visit her website or follow her on Instagram.


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