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7 Ways to Meet the Locals and Make Friends – in Your Travels and in Everyday Life

shutterstock_66383296I wish I could say that there are many reporters at prestigious publications who routinely write about single people, and do so in enlightened ways. At the moment, there seems to be just one – Stephanie Rosenbloom, a travel writer at the New York Times.

I’ve mentioned her work here before, in this post and this one. Her most recent article about single people and solo travelers is “A solo traveler’s guide to meeting people.” It is worth reading the whole thing. Here I’ll just give you the listicle version of how to meet the locals and make friends, and skip over the safety tips that are also included in the article.

Rosenbloom’s suggestions are addressed to travelers but I think most of them are also relevant to meeting people and making friends in the place where you live.

  1. Say hi to the person next to you. This may seem so obvious that I hesitated to include it. But as social scientists Epley and Shroeder noted in their report of a recent set of studies, strangers who end up next to each other (in planes, trains, while standing in line, and just about anywhere else) typically just ignore each other. Nudged to make an effort to connect as part of an experiment, people typically find those experiences to be positive ones.
  2. Ask the locals what’s great about where they live. They’ll probably enjoy bragging.
  3. Offer some other words of praise. Don’t be phony, though.
  4. Try the various websites and apps that are designed to help you meet the locals. I haven’t tried any of these myself, but Rosenbloom suggests Highlight, Planely, Skout, and Tripr.
  5. Couchsurfing.com can be useful, too, even when there is no couch available. The platform offers events and gatherings as well as places to stay. Also, as Rosenbloom explains, hosts can set their “hosting availability” status to “wants to meet up.” That tells you that they are interested in meeting you or giving suggestions even if they don’t have a couch to offer.
  6. Talk online to people at VirtualTourist.com and maybe you will end up meeting some of them in person.
  7. Don’t forget Meetup.com.

Of course, if you like having your solitude when you travel (or when you don’t), I’m totally in favor of that, too! I wrote about someone who is a great example of that, Karen Hester, in a previous post, “6 weeks of solitude – on another continent.”

Airline passengers photo available from Shutterstock

7 Ways to Meet the Locals and Make Friends – in Your Travels and in Everyday Life


Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard; Academic Affiliate, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara), an expert on single life, is the author of several books, including "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" and "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century." Her TEDx talk is "What no one ever told you about people who are single," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyZysfafOAs. Dr. DePaulo has discussed singles and single life on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and magazines such as Time, Atlantic, the Week, More, the Nation, Business Week, AARP Magazine, and Newsweek. Dr. DePaulo is in her sixties. She has always been single and always will be. She is "single at heart" -- single is how she lives her best and most meaningful life. Visit her website at www.BellaDePaulo.com.


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APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2015). 7 Ways to Meet the Locals and Make Friends – in Your Travels and in Everyday Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2015/03/7-ways-to-meet-the-locals-and-make-friends-in-your-travels-and-in-everyday-life/

 

Last updated: 5 Mar 2015
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