Finding a social circle

27 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

I've lived in Bonn for years now, but still have no real friends here. I speak a little bit of German, but not well enough to be comfortable around Germans and to socialise using it. I have pretty specific hobbies, none of which are team based, so apart from my job and my spare time semi-professional career, I don't really have any friends here. I've had a few girlfriends but none currently, as social situations are basically nonexistent for me here (I only have them when I'm back home in my home country). I'm also an introvert, don't drink or smoke, and don't like engaging in general small talk - if I don't have anything good to say or I'm not interested in the topic of the discussion, I won't say anything. I'd still like to find people to hang around and go out with, to increase my social circle and maybe even find someone special, but the generic MeetUp meetings I don't like (tried it). I also work out at home, to save money by not having to pay for the gym.

Any socialising tips from your experiences?

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1 hour ago, St0rMl0rD said:

Any socialising tips from your experiences?

 

do the opposite of what you're doing..

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6 hours ago, St0rMl0rD said:

I've lived in Bonn for years now, but still have no real friends here. I speak a little bit of German, but not well enough to be comfortable around Germans and to socialise using it.

Maybe actually learning German after years in Germany would help you make friends ?

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39 minutes ago, Keleth said:

Maybe actually learning German after years in Germany would help you make friends ?

 

German is a difficult language and I believe it's probably three years pretty intense study to get to the point of understanding conversation. On the other hand, lots of German are fine speaking English because they like the practice.

 

As for the OP's question, I agree with catjones. You're doing the opposite of what you need to do to meet people. Still, here's a really simple step: join McFit. It costs very little, it'll get you in shape, it'll get you out of the house, and you'll meet lots of people. Most of them will be complaining about how crummy McFit is, but at least you'll have something in common. 

 

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8 hours ago, RomanH said:

German is a difficult language and I believe it's probably three years pretty intense study to get to the point of understanding conversation.

German is a difficult language for English speakers yep but 3 years intense study to understand conversation is bollocks.

8 hours ago, RomanH said:

On the other hand, lots of German are fine speaking English because they like the practice.

This is a very British and American way of thinking.

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11 hours ago, RomanH said:

German is a difficult language and I believe it's probably three years pretty intense study to get to the point of understanding conversation. On the other hand, lots of German are fine speaking English because they like the practice.

 

The only difficult part of German is the grammar because of der, die and das. It's vocabulary that matters. Without vocabulary no conversation, bad grammar doesn't matter. I have a couple of German native speakers coming for English conversation, bad grammer and wrong tenses all the time, but we can still converse in English as iong as the vocabulary is there. Don't be shy, just talk, Germans will forgive bad grammar from a foreigner. 

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Speaking the language, even almost like a native, will not necessarily endear you to the culture and social style/expectations of many people you encounter. Have T-shirt.

 

I apologise for saying this yet again on TT, but American Square Dance (calls are always done in English) associations are great fun, good physical sport, and give you the opportunity to meet and mix with a wide spectrum of people. Conversation not necessarily a priority, as you will be dancing and constantly changing partners. Not as corny as it sounds. Promise.

https://www.bonn-square-dance.de/

 

Join an association (Verein) where you will be doing an activity you like with others who will immediately call you "Du". Gardening? Music making? A choir? Whatever. But gird up those loins and join something.

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How about parkrun?  It is free and is usually a mixture of German and non-German speakers.  If you don't run, you could volunteer.

 

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i think this applies to a universal situation of living in a foreign country: it is hard to socialize with the local people, especially when the local culture is quite different from yours or the local people find it not beneficial to socialize with you (people are nowadays pragmatic and alienated). Just get reconciled with this and find your own people (people feel comfortable in their own community).

changing yourself to socialize , or to cater to the others' need will backfire

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2 hours ago, optimista said:

Not as corny as it sounds. Promise.

https://www.bonn-square-dance.de/

 

Join an association (Verein) where you will be doing an activity you like with others who will immediately call you "Du". Gardening? Music making? A choir? Whatever. But gird up those loins and join something.

That looks really lame to be honest, and yes, extremely corny. I've looked into vereins and there are none for the areas I'm interested in - hell, even only a few people in the major cities nearby do what I do.

And it's not that the language is the biggest issue, it's just that I don't "click" with Germans. So maybe @kevinjoe is right, will just have to hang out more with people from my home country; at least they're way more interesting that the Germans are.

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I'm a shy person by nature and don't go out to clubs or stay out late. However, I took my dad's advice: to have a friend, you have to be a friend and when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I have not changed myself enormously, but I have changed over the years and become a bit more outgoing. I had joined a church and a sport club and that is where I got plenty of contacts and friends. I still have many of these friends.

I am also a slightly different person when I speak German. If I had only spoken a tiny bit of German, I wouldn't have most of my friends, so knowing the language has really helped. My first real friends in Germany were actually people in my language course, from France and Iran. We only spoke German with each other. I'd say learn German and get involved somewhere. It's your choice what you do, of course. 

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6 minutes ago, JN53 said:

I am also a slightly different person when I speak German.

 

Seems a bit weird, but yes, I think that is part of it - still yourself, but a different facet.

 

If you don't try anything new in German, there is no chance of that ever appearing if there are no Vereins for your current interests.

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I've always thought one of the great things about being an introvert is that you don't have to put up with friends, or other people at all. But each to their own.

 

A language course would seem like the obvious thing to do. In my experience you tend to meet interesting people doing this, although obviously you won't get to know Germans on your German course. And knowing the language can only help. 

 

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On 28/02/2020, 14:01:30, St0rMl0rD said:

That looks really lame to be honest, and yes, extremely corny.

 

I agree that is how it looks. But I promise you it is not! Serious physical and mental agility required. It is a challenge and requires a course or three to learn. Most people enjoy rhythm and music and dance... then again, each to his own. Was just a suggestion.

 

Plenty of expats know what you mean about relating to Germans. It may never happen. Don't waste your time if that is how you feel but you may want to plan a future elsewhere. You only live once and life is short.

 

On 28/02/2020, 14:20:18, JN53 said:

...to have a friend, you have to be a friend and when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

 

Best advice.

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OP, not being nosey but what are your current hobbies? If we know what you like doing now, we can suggest related activities maybe.

 

And of course there's nothing to stop you taking up new activities, even to push yourself to do something new..I started indoor climbing when I moved here..something I would not have done in a million years back home (I hate heights!)

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I find a lot of friends in libraries. Here in D'dorf, we have an International English Library and I sit in the back room with a coffee and the latest journals and newspapers and before long, someone else there will strike up a chat, or I will. 

 

I'm also a bit of an introvert and I go and do lots of VHS courses because at least there you are surrounded by people and chat a bit. Sometimes, I might go for a coffee with someone afterwards. 

 

I have a German mother and visited the German grandparents every year when growing up, but I find I don't have many German friends.* Only one. Lots of acquaintances that I can chat with - mostly in my walking group. Nice people. But not friends really. 

 

Most of my friends were made here but now live back in their home countries and I don't see them any more - or very, very rarely. 

 

I think if you can call one, two or three people 'friends', you are doing very well. Otherwise, you have drinking buddies, evening class companions, the person you meet up for an ice-cream and a chinwag, the person you meet up with at the cinema for NT Live broadcasts and so on. But a friend to hang out with and spill your heart out to... difficult. And rare.

 

*Mind you, when I studied in Manchester, I had one English friend, and when I worked in London for 4 years, I had no English friends. I am doomed to only get on with complete foreigners it seems.

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On 2/27/2020, 3:27:59, St0rMl0rD said:

Hi,

 

I've lived in Bonn for years now, but still have no real friends here. I speak a little bit of German, but not well enough to be comfortable around Germans and to socialise using it. I have pretty specific hobbies, none of which are team based, so apart from my job and my spare time semi-professional career, I don't really have any friends here. I've had a few girlfriends but none currently, as social situations are basically nonexistent for me here (I only have them when I'm back home in my home country). I'm also an introvert, don't drink or smoke, and don't like engaging in general small talk - if I don't have anything good to say or I'm not interested in the topic of the discussion, I won't say anything. I'd still like to find people to hang around and go out with, to increase my social circle and maybe even find someone special, but the generic MeetUp meetings I don't like (tried it). I also work out at home, to save money by not having to pay for the gym.

Any socialising tips from your experiences?

 

Start drinking. Practice at home first if you like with maybe some beer or some nice white wine. A glass of sekt also can also go well with a light breakfest in the mornings. Try to build your tolerence up to where you can finish off a bottle by the afternoon and then you should be ready to start taking on your local pubs, clubs, bier gartens, street corners where guys meet up for after work beers and all that.

 

Also important is to be available. Probably you already know at least one person out there who wants to be your friend and you just don't realize it yet. You need to have cell phone, WhatsAp, Facebook and all shit nowadays or people are just going to assume you want to be left alone. Take pictures of yourself and send them out on your phone or put them on Facebook. Especially vacation pics. Germans get a boner for vacation pics. Going to any stupid place in Europe for holidays (except for the UK) and taking a few good selfies there can automatically improve your social status. Plus it gives you something to talk about. ;)

 

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49 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

@Fromm how much did you have today yourself 🍷🍷🍷🍷?

 

I seldom drink anymore than a few beers nowadays. My tolerance to alcohol is so high there is not much point in it anymore. I would literally have to set my alarm to get up extra early and instantly start doing shots of tequila to have any chance at being drunk by the end of the day.

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