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Making Friends in Ireland: A Guide for Newcomers

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Moving to a new city, especially in a different country, can be an exciting yet challenging experience. One of the biggest challenges newcomers often face is the task of making new friends. If you've recently arrived in Ireland or any particular city within the country, you're in the right place. In this blog, we'll explore some strategies to help you meet new people and build meaningful friendships.

1. Assume You're Welcomed

The first step in making new friends is to approach the endeavour with a positive mindset. It's natural to feel a bit like the new kid at school, but remember the "liking gap." This cognitive bias makes people underestimate how much others might like them. Instead, choose to assume that others already like you. This optimistic approach can boost your confidence, sociability, and overall presence, making it easier to connect with people. It's what psychologists call the "acceptance prophecy," where believing that others will accept you can lead to greater acceptance.

2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

To expand your social circle, consider stepping outside your comfort zone. One effective way to do this is by engaging with social media or local forums. Express your interest in meeting new people and building connections in your new town. You'll be surprised by the number of people who are in the same boat and are eager to make new friends. This approach can lead to meaningful connections with others who share similar intentions and experiences.

3. Don't Rely on Friendships to Appear Out of Thin Air

It's a common misconception that friendships will spontaneously materialize when you move to a new place. However, reality often requires you to take the initiative actively. Instead of assuming that friends will magically appear, consider embracing the "mere-exposure effect." As people become more familiar to us over time, we tend to naturally like them, even unconsciously. So, why not join a continuous group or engage in ongoing activities? Seek out opportunities where you can interact with people over time, allowing relationships to develop organically.

4. Beware of 'Covert Avoidance'

While attending events outside your comfort zone is commendable, watch out for "covert avoidance." This sneaky behaviour occurs when you attend an event but fail to engage with others, perhaps by remaining glued to your phone or maintaining a distant demeanour. Combat this tendency by simply introducing yourself, striking up conversations, and mustering the courage to say something like, "It was great meeting you; I'd love to stay in touch." Exchanging contact information becomes easier after a few interactions, making continuous group activities an ideal choice.

5. Conquer the Fear of Rejection

Rejection is a potential outcome when you actively shape the life you desire, including building new friendships. Don't let the fear of rejection hold you back, as avoiding it can hinder your journey toward meaningful connections. Building intimacy often requires embracing vulnerability to the possibility of rejection. Remember not to take rejection personally, for you might not be aware of what's happening in the other person's life. A rejection with one person doesn't imply the same outcome with the next potential friend.

6. Cast a Wider Net

Initiate conversations and interactions with people you encounter in your daily life. Express your desire to connect with new people by saying something like, "I recently moved here and am eager to meet new folks. Can you recommend any events or activities?" This approach might lead to suggestions for social gatherings or opportunities. Some individuals even adopt a more direct approach by requesting invitations to social events, and surprisingly, this tactic often yields positive results. Many appreciate honesty when expressing their desire to build new social circles.

7. Integrate into Existing Social Circles

Joining an existing group of friends can be an effective way to meet and connect with multiple individuals, although it comes with its own dynamics. Actively engage with the group by developing individual relationships within it. Getting to know people one-on-one can help you feel more comfortable within the overall group, even as the newcomer.

Bonus Tip: Consider attending events organized by "Make Friends Events" in Ireland. They host gatherings and activities worldwide where newcomers and locals alike can meet and connect. You can find more information on their Facebook page.

In conclusion, making friends in a new city, especially in a foreign country, can be challenging but incredibly rewarding. Approach the process with a positive attitude, be proactive, and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. With time and effort, you'll find that meaningful friendships can blossom in unexpected places, and before you know it, you'll have a vibrant social circle in your new home in Ireland. Welcome to our little Island!

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Fun Times with New Friends!

Photo courtesy of Make Friends Events


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