5 Unconventional Ways to Meet New Friends in Any City

How to attract interesting people that will upgrade your life.

Matt Sandrini
Feb 25, 2020 · 5 min read

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to spend five weeks in Barcelona with a friend and fellow Medium writer, Adrian.

We actually met for the first time in Barcelona last month, back when I was convinced that I disliked the city and that it wasn’t for me. Instead, I really enjoyed it and decided to go back. Since Adrian was keen to do that as well, we decided to go together.

This is not the first time that I’ve travelled for extended periods: in fact, in 2018 I spent six months in six different cities throughout Europe.

When you’re travelling to a city for a long time, that new place becomes your temporary home. A new city teaches you so much about who you are and what you like because it starts to challenge your concept of normal.

I want to come prepared, especially because I feel that if I like Barcelona, I would like to go back. I’m based in London, but I would like to use Barcelona as a placeholder to build a multiple-hub lifestyle — which means that I want to meet people and make the city mine.

That being said, here are 5 of my favourite ways to meet people in a new city. These have served me well when travelling, but have also enabled me to meet and attract better people in London.

#1: Attend Events and Classes That You Genuinely Want to Go to

Find classes and events you would not only enjoy going to, but also where the people you want to meet would likely hang out. Look for individual classes that will have people you want to meet. For example, I like yoga classes and business workshops. They are a great way to surround yourself with people with similar interests — the types of people you’d want to talk to and hang out with.

Two great places to start are Meetup and Eventbrite, where you can find lots of different events around you, from music to arts and everything else. In London, I enjoyed going to a cacao ceremony meditation with a friend: I had a great time and met interesting people in my neighbourhood. And guess what? There’s one in Barca too.

You could also seek out language exchange buddies. As a Brit, I can (somehow) speak English; my Spanish may be super basic, but it’s enough to understand a simple conversation and avoid unforgivable faux pas.

When I had a Russian exchange buddy, we created a solid friendship that went beyond our language exchange. Language exchange events are a great way to meet locals when you’re new in a foreign city.

#2: If You Can’t Find an Event, Create Your Own

If you can’t find an event that you and your peeps would like, then you can always organise your own events. Partner up with someone else that already has a following in the city: you can find them on Meetup or Eventbrite, or leverage local coworking spaces to find a space and an audience — and then get busy organising. The key is to post the event early enough, and then promote it using existing communities on and offline.

I like to organise events because they allow you to be the hub, attracting everyone instead of having to reach out to everyone else individually.

In point #5, I’ll show you a great way to organise a quick event (a dinner at a restaurant), that will help you get people together.

#3: See Where ‘Hello’ Can Take You

Talk to people when you feel like you should. This is not super easy to get into. It took me a very long time to get to become as outgoing as I am now and just talk to people when I feel like it.

But if I can do it in reserved London, you can do it anywhere in the world. From meeting people at a park to commenting on a book after boarding a plane, I met new friends and even started dating with a simple “Hello”. While it might be awkward at first, if you don’t speak to people, you’re never going to meet them.

#4: Leverage Your Network (You’ll Be Surprised)

Leveraging your online connections, you can grow your local network before you actually land in your new city. You can do this in advance by using social media, online profiles, LinkedIn, whatever. Send an email or send a tweet or comment on Instagram to people that have similar interests and are in the city that you live in or that you want to go and spend time in.

Here’s an example from my upcoming stay in Spain. A while ago, I listened to a great podcast interview with an entrepreneur based in Barcelona. I’m going to send him an email and invite him to my event. I can then look for groups, look at online hashtags, and even leverage Nomadlist to see if anyone is visiting the city.

If I find anyone who’s maybe running a podcast or having an online business or anyone would really want to talk to, I can reach out and organise a coffee and chat before I get there.

Use your own connections to find new connections. My Airbnb hosts in both Porto (Portugal) and Thessaloniki (Greece) helped me out figure out places to go to in a city. They introduced me to my neighbours and I started meeting people that way.

#5. How to Leverage Degrees of Separation

Once you find some people that you like to hang out with and you’re inspired to spend time with, become a connector and introduce them to each other.

It’s quite difficult and rare to find people that you resonate with, and people that you find interesting have the same issue. By introducing interesting people to other interesting people, you also get access to their friends, which becomes a force multiplier.

One of my most effective ways to connect people is to organise a second-degree dinner. The way it works is you organise it with one other host and each of you brings one person that the other person doesn’t know but should know, then your guests will bring someone that you don’t know but they feel you should know.

This is a great and fun way to multiply your network, and it’s allowed me to meet amazing people in Manchester and London.

So these are some ways you can use to meet people in your city or to meet people in any new city. I’m going to use them for my stay in Barcelona and I hope that Adrian is up for that.

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Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Matt Sandrini

Written by

I will show you how to start earning online and live your best life, anywhere. Join 2k others and get my best tips 💌 mattsss.com

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Matt Sandrini

Written by

I will show you how to start earning online and live your best life, anywhere. Join 2k others and get my best tips 💌 mattsss.com

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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