Making new friends is never easy, especially when you do not share the same language and the same culture. But do not worry, making British friends is not as difficult as you think.
I am Chloe from France and I have recently moved to the UK to work at UKGuardianship. Before I arrived, I was worried about making new friends so I wrote a list of ways that I am going to try to make British friends and I would like to share it with you. If you have recently moved to the UK for work, school or university, I hope you find these tips useful.
1. Approach people
The first step is always the hardest. Do not be afraid to make the first move. The British are generally very friendly and would really appreciate if someone approached them. You can begin by introducing yourself to someone and chatting to them, perhaps find someone sitting alone rather than a group of people. Difficult but not impossible – the other person will probably be really happy!
2. Small talk
Start with small talk like the hobbies, movies, music, studies or the weather (British people love talking about the weather!). Learn about the other person and see if you share any interests. Maybe both of you love Fantastic Beasts or playing football. This is the best way to break the ice and improve your English!
3. Learn about the British culture…
Before meeting British people, learning about the culture and customs could be really helpful. Each country has its own culture and some of them are really different. Something usual for someone could be weird for others. For example, the British are usually very punctual so if you arrange to meet someone, try to arrive on time!
4. …and share your culture
Being in a new country does not mean you have to deny your culture. On the contrary, share it! You have so much to offer. People are always happy to discover new things and it is a fantastic way to be understood and to understand your new friends!
5. Do not be worried about your English
One of the most difficult parts of the English language is the grammar. Every non-native English speaker makes mistakes in the beginning but making mistakes will not stop someone from understanding what you want to say. Your mistakes should not limit you from meeting new people and your new friends will be happy to help you improve. Do not forget, it is by making mistakes that you learn.
6. Do things with your new friends
After meeting your new friends and finding similar interests, you should go out with them and have fun! Ask them if they want to watch a movie or go for a walk. Share moments with them.
7. Join a club
Gain skills and meet people. Is there a way you like to spend your free time? Sport, art, literature… so many possibilities. If you do not know your hidden passion yet, feel free to ask around in your school, university or workplace, or do some research on the Internet. Do not forget to look at the walls of your school/university, maybe you can find interesting posters!
8. Social media
Not the safest but the easiest way to create new relationships. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are the most used in the UK. You can find students who study in your school/university and discover similar interests with a click. However, be careful who you chat to, do not share private information and always meet a new person in a public place like a busy cafe.
9. Having trouble making friends?
If you are having difficulty making friends in the UK, you may be feeling lonely and homesick. If this is the case, please reach out to someone – your housemaster, teacher, student support counsellor or boss. Alternatively, feel free to contact us at UKG and we will be happy to help.