Moving to a new city is exciting. And it also means having to find new friends… which can be a daunting task – especially as an adult and working from home… I know from my SWIPES analysis that friends and an active social life are very important to me… I literally get grumpy when I’m left on my own for too long. So I need to address this as a high priority point as soon as moving. Thus, I came up with a few strategies I’ll use when getting to Lisbon (of course, you don’t have to move cities to use these strategies – they work just as well “at home”). As some of these strategies have already worked well in London for me, I’m quite hopeful I can do something similar in Lisbon. Though first, two strategies which seem popular and easy… but I’m more cautious about…
1) Gay Scene
It is normally pretty easy to make friends on the gay scene. The downside is that often friendships are formed only after having slept with the other guy(s). Of course, I’m not against sex (far from it!)… but I know I’m personally much happier not having a 1001 “one night stands” and hope for the best in terms of friendship afterwards. Of course, it doesn’t mean I will stay in all the time or never go out alone, but I think, while it seems the easiest form of making new friends, I’ll proceed with caution on that one (and yes, I’m actually quite happy to go out alone – and I also love going out with friends – but then I’m usually not looking to meet anyone!).
2) Dating Apps/Websites
Oh yes… there are literally plenty of fish out there (pardon the pun). I haven’t really tried those in Lisbon, but to be honest, I have the sneaking suspicion that most of the apps/websites simply don’t do well in the “let’s be friends first” category. If you know of one that is laid back and focused on social contacts, please let me know… but in the meantime, as I find them personally quite frustrating to be honest, apps are probably a no go for social contacts.
So after more or less ruling out those two “traditional” options, I’ll have to explore a few other options (let’s call them “alternative”)…
In my experience in London volunteering is pretty much the secret answer to finding friends: I have met many of my very good friends through volunteering. This is double good: as you are “stocking up” on karma points… you can also meet some great mates.volunteering is pretty much the secret answer to finding friends Click To Tweet
Of course meeting people always depends a bit on the charity: One of the charities I used to volunteer for used to deliver meals to people who were housebound with HIV. There were a lot of different roles for volunteers, but I remember a few people meeting not just friends but also partners there (one of the roles was for two people to jointly drive around and deliver the food … so they spend two hours or so in the same car. Kind of like charity not-quite-so-speed dating…).
In Lisbon I had a look out for a few charities – and will meet a few people to talk over roles once I get there. Often these can be both fun as well as an opportunity to meet friends: For example, I’ll volunteer for the QueerLisboa film festival immediately after arriving in town – which should be both fun (watching films from all over the world, which I like) as well as an opportunity to meet fellow volunteers.
As there are many, many LGBT charities out there – no matter how big or small the place, this seems to be one of the best options to find new friends, no matter where you are – or move to.
2) Social/Sports Clubs
Similar to volunteering, social or sports clubs are a great way to meet people. Firstly because you have at least something in common and secondly because you are literally forced to see each other every meeting or so. In London there is a bunch of sports and social clubs – so it is really easy. In Lisbon the list seems a bit shorter, so I’ll have to see when I get there (that said, if I have noticed one thing about Portugal, it is that relying on internet-based information is useless. It is more often then not out of date, missing information etc… so it is just easiest to go and speak to people).
Again, at least in bigger cities there are often many sports or social clubs. But if not – or none of them is for you, why not start one up yourself (I’ll write about that next time!)….?
An update and list of current sports types is available here!
OK, normally this is another easy way to find new mates. Of course, some people have pretty strict boundaries when it comes to colleagues, some cultures go out after work others think that is strange etc… That said, some of my best friends I have met through work – so at least in the UK that seems to work. Of course, in Lisbon I’ll be working mostly from home/alone on book projects and articles. This makes it somewhat tricky to find people. To avoid being hauled up in my room all day (which can be fun, but really doesn’t always make me productive) I looked at co-working spaces. The good thing is that many of them seem really affordable – so I’ll explore them and report back.
An alternative to this might be LGBT-professional networking groups. Again, check what is available – or maybe just think of starting one yourself!
Finally… courses! Courses of all kinds of course… but in particular for me language courses. I’ve registered for a post work course of Portuguese already. But I’m also thinking of keeping a look out for other courses… (cooking, etc…) not at least because it should give me the chance to practice the language in a particular setting as well meeting new friends. Oh… and it scores brownie points in the SWIPES “Intellectual” area, too!
OK, this is not really a “gay” option at all… but it sure can be fun…
So there we go… 4 “alternative” ways to finding friends and meeting people. Will they work? Well, it remains to be seen – I’ll report back. Of course, those options are not “just” for when you are moving to a new city… in fact, they are good strategies at any time. And as always, if you have some more ideas, why not share them with me?