Making new friends in a new country can be difficult, especially if you have already completed your education, and even more difficult if your destination is Germany. For ex-pats in Germany, socializing is one of the biggest challenges. It’s not just you; most ex-pats in Germany have this problem as well. In this article, we will give you practical tips on how to meet people and improve your social life in Germany.
What are friendships like in Germany?
Friendships in Germany are characterized by trust, helpfulness and unconditional support, honesty, and reliability. When it comes to making friends in Germany, it is important to have interests in common and a sense of humor that is similar.
Friendship is extremely important in German’s lives. For many Germans, a deep friendship is more important than a love affair. More and more Germans have so-called “friends with benefits” or friendship plus, meaning having friends for sex but with no romantic feelings involved.
Many Germans say they have a best friend, regardless of disagreements or differences between friends. Almost half of Germans count three to five people as their closest friends (source: Statista).
Is it hard to make friends in Germany? Are Germans hard to make friends with?
Yes, you will find it tough to make friends in Germany, especially if you will not be attending school or university in Germany. According to Expat Insider Business Edition, many ex-pats in Germany are primarily concerned with the lack of social contacts. For example, 31 percent of ex-pats living in Germany stated that they had problems making friends in Germany. 27 percent have no access to German culture and 20 percent complain about a lack of social contacts and leisure activities.
Is it possible to make friends in Germany?
Yes, Germany is definitely a country where you can make friends. This will be a lengthy process since locals tend to be cold and not very friendly, especially to ex-pats. Therefore, you should be patient. Listed below are some practical tips that will definitely help you make friends and have a good social life in Germany.
Is it easy to make friends in Berlin? How can I find a friend in Berlin?
Yes, it is relatively difficult to make friends in Berlin. However, Berlin has a much larger ex-pat community than any other German city, making it easy to make friends in Berlin compared to other German cities. Listed below are our practical tips to help you make friends in Berlin.
Let’s learn a little bit more about Germans before we get into practical tips on how to meet people in Germany and how to socialize.
Are Germans friendly to foreigners?
Germans are perceived to be unfriendly, cold, standoffish, and uninviting to foreigners. Don’t be discouraged if some of the locals seem unapproachable or even unfriendly.
Developing good friendships with Germans depends largely on the first impression. It depends on the country from which you are coming whether Germans will be friendly and open to you. Germans tend to be more friendly if you come from western Europe or the United States and less friendly if you are coming from a third country. Possibly, this is because the reputation of foreigners in German society is not good. Many immigrants from third countries are staying unemployed and claiming unemployment benefits, or they are known for their criminal activities. Germans tend to be reserved and cold toward you at the beginning due to these factors. Therefore, establishing a friendship with Germans takes time. Germans are loyal and good friends, so patience pays off.
What you need to know about Germans to make a good first impression
Germans’ privacy should be respected
Germans place a high value on privacy. You should not ask them private questions until you are really close to them. Let me give you a sense of which questions to avoid.
Here are a few examples:
How much do you earn? What is your salary?
What is your rent? You should avoid any questions about personal finance or anything else related to it.
Questions about private life, religion, and politics should be also avoided.
You should also be punctual with your friends in Germany
Punctuality is a characteristic of Germans. Make sure not to be late or if you know that you will be late inform your German friend in advance. Even better try always to arrive a few minutes before your meeting. If you are not punctual this is telling to your friend that you are not respecting him or her and you don’t value their time. Punctuality is a must to make a good first impression in Germany.
Respect German rules and know them
Germans value rules and adhere to rules in both their business and private lives. I know it can be frustrating to follow all these rules in Germany, but this is the best way to earn the respect and trust of Germans.
Don’t break your word in Germany
Keeping your word is an important point to keep in mind in Germany. Whenever you commit to meet someone or do something for German, you should keep your word. The Germans tend to take their word very seriously, and they don’t like when you don’t keep it or change your mind at the last minute.
In the beginning, you should avoid at all costs canceling an invitation you have accepted. Do not cancel meetings at the last minute unless something very bad has happened to you.
17 Practical Tips to meet new people and makes friends in Germany
When it comes to practical tips on how to make friends in Germany you will hear that the number one tip is to focus on learning German to make German friends. However, this is not really true. German language and especially German dialects are very difficult to understand if German is not your mother tongue. Your broken German won’t help you much to make local friends. When people are telling jokes, speaking dialects, and speaking fast you won’t be able to understand that if German is not your mother tongue or your German is really perfect which is a long journey to achieve. German language knowledge won’t bring you much when it comes to making German friends except you are perfectly fluent in German. Your broken German would rather make a bad first impression on Germans until they know you better and hear your story.
- Find roommates and share the apartment or house with them
The best way to meet new people is by sharing a flat. You need to become close to your living partner if you live together. You will be able to expand your circle of friends even further with the help of this person by meeting her or his friends.
Your first thought is probably that you will have trouble finding roommates. WG-Gesucht.de is the platform that deals with this problem. The majority of people on this platform speak English, and you can choose to share a flat only with English speakers if that’s your preferred option.
2. Join Addidas Runners
Addidas Runners is a great running community to join and it is my warm recommendation since I am a member of Addidas runners myself. Addidas Runners community is available in the following German cities: Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich.
This community is sponsored by Adidas and they organize running events and provide trainers.
By joining Addidas runners you are becoming physically active and you are meeting new people and socializing. Joining this community and participating in events is totally free of charge. All you should do is download the Adidas runners app and join the next running event. And don’t worry you can be a complete beginner, your physical condition doesn’t matter but only your wish to join their next run. Here you can expect all kinds of generations, but mostly younger people between 25 and 35. In this community, you can expect both locals and ex-pats. Apart from runs, they organize many other pieces of training and events such as running mechanics, recovery workshops, yoga events, and trail runs (running in mountains).
3. Travel in groups or with singles
If you don’t like being alone, you shouldn’t go on vacation alone. Group tours are now available in a wide range in Germany from language trips, long-distance trips, to hiking and many others. These trips are nowadays available for all generations.
Taking a group trip is a great way to meet new people. After the vacation, you will probably meet up with these people for hiking, chatting, or any other activity.
Many group travel options are available. Join the Crew is my favorite for you.
Join the Crew organizes sailing trips for solo travelers and singles. Meeting new people on sail yachts is an exciting and fun way to spend time with them.
4. Check out Bumble BFF
Bumble BFF offers the opportunity to search for new friends using the swipe principle. By using this app, you will find a workout or splash partner or similar. You should put a bit more effort into your description here so that people can understand what are your interests.
5. GemeinsamErleben App
By using GemeinsamErleben App, individuals and groups with similar interests, goals, and wishes connect to form communities. This app offers various group activities. There are many activities you can do together with other members such as hiking, cycling, photo walks, looking for mushrooms, visiting the zoo, doing yoga in the park, etc.
Volunteering is a good way to meet people also in Germany.
By being a volunteer you get in touch with people who care about something important for you.
When choosing the field or organization to volunteer you should consider your strengths and interests, of course.
Best volunteer organizations and volunteer opportunities in Germany:
With the initiative “Today an Angel”, people from Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg can offer their help to social projects in those cities. This organization collects monetary and material donations as well as voluntary assistance for smaller national and international aid projects. If you want to read aloud in a nursing home, do gardening or play with children, this is the right place for you. They are pretty flexible and you’re not committing to long-term commitments.
Viva con Agua has been advocating for better drinking water supplies in developing countries for ten years. This organization has been founded by ex-professional football player Benny Adrion. They regularly visit the project villages to see for themselves how wells have been built on-site.
People who want to combine their love of legendary parties and cool soccer boys with social engagement will find this organization and its activities suitable. Organize a fundraising run for your university or collect deposit cups at festivals to contribute to the activities of this volunteer organization. The proceeds will be used to build new wells and install drink dispensers. You can also suggest your own actions with which you wish to support the association. Check their website for more information.
The purpose of this organization is that people in need receive food from food banks across the country. The food is collected from bakeries, canteens, and supermarkets by volunteers, then delivered to social institutions.
This organization is perfect for those who enjoy working with people in need, as well as those who can work a whole day. As a driver, in goods distribution or in the warehouse, in the administration, as an external consultant, or in the design of information material – the Tafel will be glad for any assistance.
7. Find your diaspora in Germany
Germany is attracting ex-pats from the whole world. There is a good chance that there is your diaspora in Germany as well. This could be one of the solutions to improve your social life in Germany since you have a lot of things in common.
8. Join A Stammtisch
An informal get-together is called a Stammtisch in German. There is a regular occurrence of this on the same day and at the same place. If you don’t know where Stammtisch is in your city, you can easily Google it. In some Stammtisch, practicing German is the sole purpose. Then, achieving your German goals and meeting new people is sure to be a great experience!
9. Join Facebook Groups for Expats in Germany
Facebook groups for ex-pats in Germany are a good opportunity to meet new people. Many members are asking questions, discussing their challenges and their ex-pat life in Germany, and also looking for friends and people who share their hobbies and interests. These are people similar to you and who are very open to a new friendship.
Here are a few examples of popular Facebook groups for ex-pats in Germany:
10. Make friends at your workplace
If you are employed, you can make friends at work. As coworkers, you have many things in common with each other, so making friends at work is much easier. Take initiative and invite your colleague for a coffee, lunch or join the company’s events. Larger companies often have sports teams, which compete with other companies in business leagues. This is a great way to become closer with your colleagues after work, so discover whether such teams exist within your company and join them.
11. Join A Meetup
The Meetup website is a great place to find local events in your area. The events are organized by users online and offline. Both outside and inside activities are offered on Meetup. The events offering in bigger cities are really various. It is possible to meet both locals and ex-pats at the meetup events.
12. Take a German Course
German courses are practical since you improve your German skills and also make new friends. There is a big offer of german courses and schools. I would recommend choosing a bigger school where the learning groups are big (10 people or more).
13. Language Cafes and Language Tandems
In addition to German courses, there are other ways to learn German and meet new people. Language Cafe (Sprachkaffee) and Tandem are two ways to do so. Language cafes facilitate language exchange and help people get to know each other.
Language tandems are conversations in which two people learn one another’s language (usually their mother tongue).
On the following platforms you can find your Tandem partner:
14. Join amateur sports clubs
Joining an amateur sports club would be a great opportunity to stay active, play your favorite sport make new friends. This is a much better way to socialize in comparison to alternatives such as a gym.
15. Take courses and try new things
Have you ever wanted to participate in an activity but did not have time? We have some good news: the time is right! Don’t hold onto the ideas you had about your hobbies and interests and just say yes to opportunities that come your way.
Start with salsa, hiking, cooking, barista training, or anything else you are interested in, and meeting new people is guaranteed.
Internations in Germany is an online community of ex-pats in Germany and it is available in most of cities. Their events allow you to meet other members in person. In my opinion, this community is better suited to people over 30.
17. Visit libraries and places where you can study and work
A library is a good place to meet other students, but you don’t have to be a student to visit one. In addition, you can meet new people at other places where you work and study.
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