How do you find people in Britain who make you happy when you've just moved?

Posted on March 19, 2009 by peacefulyorkshire

yahooavatar15“Wordgoddess”,  wrote us on our about page last week about being new to Skipton:

“To wit, it seems to be easy to make acquaintances BUT, it’s much harder to make friends. I’m not working so I have no co-workers, I only see my fellow students once a week and I spend most of my time alone. I’ve gone to my local – but people there are already in couples or groups. Since, I’m in my mid-50s, hanging out at a club to meet people isn’t really a viable option. (Not without looking like a cougar in search of young meat – which I’m not.)” I am writing about Wordgoddess because her situation is not a new one for any expat.

There is a really cool blog called Zen Habits, have you seen it? This post (you can see it on his blog here) caught my eye because it seemed really apt to living in a foreign country– the blog’s author Leo writes:

“How do you find amazing people who will make you happy, when you’re in a new city and don’t know anyone?

Recently reader Ting asked:

“I’ve been studying in a new city for about 6 months now, and I’m considering finding a job after my studies are over. I have this conflict, that I can’t seem to resolve in my heart.

I truly believe that the people around you, make your life worth living. I haven’t met the type of people I’d like to in this city, yet. And I’m afraid I won’t after I’ve committed to a job. I want to be able to be okay with myself, without having to depend on friends/people to be happy. I love this city. But I haven’t found the people that I love.

Should I try to stick it out, work towards separating happiness from friends? (Maybe I just haven’t been going the right places?) Or, should I go somewhere else and try something new?”

I was contemplating this reader’s question, trying to think of what I’ve done in my life that has worked. But then I thought, ‘I bet my readers can come up with many more answers, more intelligent answers, than I can.’ And so I’d like to leave this question to you, my wonderful and wise (and incredibly attractive) readers: How would you answer Ting’s question?


Here at She’s not From Yorkshire we had a really caring reader comment on moving to Australia,  and I liked one of her ideas to meet friends. “Happy”, an English expat in Australia writes that she ” invited round practically everyone I met (they must have thought I was mad!)”.

So in keeping to the spirit of Leo’s blog, What are your ideas?

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Miss America October 20, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I know I’m a little late on this one, but here is a great site There are groups for everything and just about everywhere. In theory, these people are also looking to make friends and do fun and exciting things, and there several woman-based or woman-only clubs which (again, in theory) would help meet some local women (or, as I have a sneaking suspicion…lots of other expats and transplants!)

    • peacefulyorkshire October 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks for that suggestion for our readers… yes, if you are lucky to have a Meet-up group in your area for American expats, it can be a winner. or heck, who needs expats there are knitting circles, paranormal groups, yoga classes, bookmeetings…. tons to choose from!

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  3. Stoofy April 30, 2009 at 9:46 am

    There are many good ideas here . I moved away from family and friends to yorkshire from the south two years ago ( ok not a foreign country but may as well be ). There are clubs here for everything from the WI to a walking club. Dont forget there are also service clubs , such as the Lions, so you can meet new people and help others too. My personal favourite, CAMRA, meet new people , see new places and sup ale too. Now that really is an idea only an englishman could come up with!

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  6. peacefulyorkshire April 1, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Another one:
    If you haven’t already read Yankeebean’s suggestion about making friends in Britain, her idea about roller-skates is still one of my favourite and hilarious.

  7. Kristy March 22, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I am loving these suggestions too. Thanks for putting it out there.

    And I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but my answer to your question: RELIGION baby! I’m not a very outgoing person, but I’ve been here for a year and a few months and feel very lucky and blessed to have made so made close friends just through the people I meet at church.

  8. yankeebean March 21, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I am LOVING the suggestions on this page! I’m already planning to find a local walking group of some kind (if they have ‘em down here) and maybe take a knitting class, too…

    Because I’m a musician, I might also look for local jam-nights and see if I can meet anyone on the scene. Musicians are usually open and friendly because meeting new people is built-in to the job.

    I’m gearing up to try these methods first hand in my new surroundings! I’ll keep you posted about the most successful for me personally :)

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  10. Sukey March 21, 2009 at 2:47 am

    Join (or start) a book group. If you cant find an established one with a vacancy, put up a ad in your local library or independent bookshop, asking interested people to phone you. Even if you start with only three people, you will find it will rapidly expand, to the point of having to turn people away. I know, because I did it!

  11. JessicaG March 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Further to the Meet-up group suggestion: I am the organizer of the Americans in Yorkshire Meet-up group. While I will admit I am not always the most creative or organized organizer (!), joining the Meet-up group is one way to meet people! I’ve done a few events so far, with low turnout, but I’m hoping things will pick-up now that better weather is coming (and I am travelling a bit less so will have more time).
    Visit our page on the Meet-up website to email me or get info about our next Meet-up which next Saturday, 28 March in Harrogate!
    So far everyone who’s come to an event has been really friendly and good people. I’ve lived here for four years now, and I can still count the number of good friends I have here on one hand. That’s why I’m trying to put in more of an effort! Next week I am taking my son to Soccatots – I’m going to be a soccer mom! And maybe I’ll meet some British soccermoms. If you have kids, they can be useful for meeting people. ;)

  12. pacificyorkshirebird March 20, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I joined a knitting class and learned a new skill while I met new people. My partner sometimes plays football/soccer (both indoor or outdoor) after work. Usually, your local library will have details of events or groups – once you get involved in one, you start to learn about other things happening in the area.

  13. Wordgoddess March 20, 2009 at 8:05 am

    I’ve found that a women’s group has helped. I started going a few weeks ago and the women are really friendly! I also started attending Quaker meetings – a wonderful chance to sit peacefully for a while and afterward, there’s always a chance to connect with the people there.

    Now sometimes when I walk around town, I run into someone I know. And that’s very nice!

  14. Stiltonlover March 20, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Join a bridge club – this works for both couples and singles (esp. the 40 plus). After a few months you will have a new social circle and will also have a hobby that will last your lifetime.

  15. pacificyorkshirebird March 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Well, Mick took the words right out of my mouth! I practiced being a “Yes Friend” for my first year here. Any invitation I received to do something social (luckily I never had any dodgy ones) I said yes. That way I felt like I was taking every opportunity to get to know people.

    I’ve never tried omitting the word “no” altogether, but I can see where he is coming from.

    Another tip – join a local walking group. Go to this website, use the postcode finder and ring the local coordinator. I made friends that way, and I know lots of other people who made close friendships during led walks.

    Also, I think it is perfectly acceptible to go to your local pub and get to know the regulars there. I also know people who do this and build quite a good social network.

  16. peacefulyorkshire March 19, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Stroppy Rachel, Yes, volunteering is a really good idea, and is destined to have you meet some really lovely people that are also willing to volunteer, like minded!

    I also like the idea of American Meet-up Groups, there is one in London, and one in here in Yorkshire, I know for sure. Its just as important to be able to connect with other Americans as well as the “natives”.

    This comment is from Mick, on Leo’s original post that asked the same question. I loved it!

    There is a really easy way to fix this, but it takes a bit of guts and lots of determination….
    For the next 4 weeks or so, make it a habit to NEVER say “No”.
    “No” stops the flow, it stops conversations and it stops ideas from forming.
    You may imagine that I mean to never say no to an invite, but the invites will only start to come after you make a habit of saying “yes” to earlier parts of a conversation.
    So – if someone begins talking about how much they like wrestling – say “yes” to that idea and see where it leads. If someone asks if you would do their laundry, say “yes” and see where that goes.
    It will not take long to find some people with whom you would like to spend more time…then you may begin to be selective.

    The only note here: don’t say “yes” to anything that would hurt you….goes without saying.

    This worked for me when I moved to Europe ten years ago and had to make friends in a foriegn culture.


  17. Yorkist J March 19, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I’m struggling with this question as well. I’ve been living in York for a year and a half now, and it seems all my friends are university students (I’m in a unique situation where my wife, after working for ten years, has returned to school to get her master’s degree, so I’m generally the oldest person at any university society meetings we attend). I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with university students; I’d just like to befriend some more mature people as well. And I haven’t been able to do that. I too would like to hear suggestions on this question.

  18. Stroppy Rachel March 19, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Volunteering. Offer to do something for an organisation such as the National Trust, or in a charity shop. I’m sure the charity shops in Skipton are pretty upmarket.

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