If you’re shy, I get that it can be tricky to meet people – I’m actually a fairly shy person myself, although 10 years of travel has done a lot to coax me out of my shell a little.
I find there’s a very simple trick to overcoming that social anxiety while travelling – remember that nothing is permanent.
You don’t have to think about forging life-long friendships – the pressure of achieving that will just make you even more anxious!
You only need to take any relationship moment by moment. The transient nature of travel is fun like that – it takes all the pressure off!
But you do have to be willing to put yourself out there a little. Be gentle with yourself, but maybe try just one challenge. For example, follow through on just one of my suggestions below at first.
So with that in mind, here are some of things you can do to find new friends, even if you’ve got a shy disposition.
My own tried-and-tested friend-making methods:
- Staying in hostels with vibrant atmospheres (plenty of hostels provide private rooms if you’re uncomfortable in dorms).
- Joining expat, digital nomad, or travelling groups on Facebook for the areas you’re visiting. You might find events you can join, or you can simply post a message to see if anyone is interested in a coffee catch up.
- Using Couchsurfing to meet up with locals or other travellers.
- Using Meetup to find events or groups in the areas you’re visiting.
- Using Tinder to find people to adventure with (OK, admittedly I’m too shy for this one … I haven’t tried this personally, but I have many travel buddies who swear by it!).
- Getting to your next destination by carpooling with others with BlaBlaCar.
- Joining city tours, day tours or multi-day tours in the destinations you’re visiting.
- Simply being open to the possibilities of new friendship! Smile at someone in a cafe, strike up conversation on a bus … and never underestimate the friendliness of the locals!
But most importantly, don’t put the pressure on yourself to create lasting relationships. That’s way too stressful. Just be happy with your own company and chances are people will come to you. Anyway, best of luck!