You must have noticed that when you get together with your long-time friends, sooner or later the conversation, and laughs, shift to situations and activities from years past that you shared together. Stories. Friendships are built on great stories. The more stories, the more unusual, the more memorable or humorous, the stronger the friendship. If stories is the glue to great friendships, use this as a tool and tactic when you move to a new locale. Plan to find ways to go and grow a new collection of great friendship stories…activities with other people.
Your motto ought to be, find people you might enjoy being with to do activities.
A good place to start is to go where other people frequently meet for a purpose. Look at anything that relates to your own activities, hobbies, sports interests, charities, political action groups, exercise, cooking, business, and any other interests you may have, and go where those people meet. One executive I know leveraged committee work for local politicians and while doing so discovered a woman who became the love of his life.
If your interests and activities are focused on solitary activities such as reading or cruising social media sites, then get yourself some new interests and hobbies. Find and make ways to become active within your new locale and within committees and meetings of interest to you. Almost every club or association is ripe with opportunities to meet people. It’ll be fun.
Even school can be an opportunity to meet people. Enroll in an evening course where you may meet people. After class visit the student center and boldly introduce yourself to one or two people who you think you might be friendly with or who might share your interests.
If you have children, get involved with school meetings, fund raising events, or anything else that may involve groups of people at the school. Same goes for any religions and religious activities you may be involved with.
At your new locale, tap into the employees at your company. What activities do the employee engage in? What sports? Get yourself invited to join those activities or join company sports teams. Does your company have an expatriate club? If so, be sure to join it and attend all meetings and social events of that club. Contact colleagues and friends back home who know your new locale or people from your new locale. They may be able to suggest people or meeting places to help you. How about your Human Resource department? Do they know of any employees recently relocated to your locale who may share interests with you?
After meeting people, be sure you have a way to contact the people you like and with whom you are compatible and comfortable. Eventually…not immediately, but eventually…ask for email addresses, or social media contact information and be willing to provide yours.
Okay. Now you have plenty of ideas about where to go to do things…just make it a point to become active. You also know that today’s activities are what generates tomorrow’s stories and, thereby, tomorrow’s friendships. Be involved in activities and let stories just happen.
Recently, I had friends visit whose children were interested in the planet Saturn. I took the gang to an observatory. Who knew that the evening would turn out to be a barrel of laughs?! In a nutshell I pleaded and tugged on the heart strings of the astronomer controlling the massive, large telescope to swing the telescope to view Saturn for the evening. The astronomer had fun, the crowd had fun, we had fun and the visiting children could barely sleep from the thrill this created for them. Who could have foreseen that from that simple activity, star gazing with the kids, the adults would have bundles of laughs that we could recall each time we meet?!
Activities speak louder than fine wines and tender steaks. Don’t just eat and drink together. Go do stuff. Stories can happen everywhere…provided you are doing things. Here’s another example. My wife and I went to a Shakespearean play. Boring. right? Who could have foretold that during intermission a person would trip on the stairway and fall prone right beside me in row 1 in front of hundreds of people who groaned a collective “Ouch”. The person was uninjured but what transpired from my attempt to help, and the person’s efforts to recover her dignity, was hilarious.
Do stuff…let life happen…and great stories often result.
When you do meet people whom you enjoy being with, be versatile, flexible and welcoming, but don’t come on too strongly. Try to find an opportunity to invite them into an activity or for you to join one of their activities.
ACTIVITIES make STORIES that make for great FRIENDSHIPS. Have fun doing things in your new locale.