Expand your social circle in Hungary

Hello everyone,

Moving to Hungary means leaving one's family and friends behind. Creating a circle of friends or joining an existing one should therefore be paramount in order to fight loneliness in your host country.

But how can one develop a social network in Hungary? Where and how to meet people there?

How easy is it to meet locals? What about cultural specificities?

Share your advice and experience!

Many thanks in advance,


I have met 3 people in person through this site, I consider them friends now.
We do things together often from having a drink or going to events around the city.
Even thinking of taking a overseas trip with one if it comes together this winter.
There are a few others on here that I have some contact with over the internet.
Through my 3 new friends I have extending my social network with people they know.
I am married and my husband and I usually are a complete circle but it is nice to have people to share experiences with and know in a time of need we can depend on each other for whatever.
I do find one has to sometimes make the first move to met people, it is hard to know over the internet if one will like each other or have common interests without meeting in person.
Many people are shy and it takes allot to place yourself out there.
For me it is super easy to meet anyone no matter if they are HU , US or from Europe. I have always been around people of a different culture then my own so I never see a barrier about culture.
Age usually doesn't matter but then again it does, hard to keep up with people years younger then one self, one can try but people go through different issues at different times in their lives. Best to not try to party with people 20 or more years younger then oneself.
I did that in Vegas with my niece and her friends, was fun until I overdid it and they had to send my old self home to rest.
Just a word of advice for the older people, one can't party at 60 like they did at age 40.
I think people who are ex pats are usually the sort of people who are open to new experiences so meeting new people shouldn't be that difficult if you met people half way,I met a ton of nice women friends years ago when I joined a HU gym, find a common interest and you can find friends.
There is no replacement for family ties though.

The answer to this question depends on which side of that unspoken bugaboo one wishes to consider:

The Expat Bubble.

If one lives in the expat bubble, then there are are many places to meet and interact with other expats.

Outside the expat bubble, things get complicated very quickly.

First of all, you will do better if you speak the language. But then, maybe only a little bit better than if you did not. Local culture here is about "knowing someone", and that may mean knowing someone either in a family relationship way, or knowing someone in a social way since elementary school: both issues an expat are unlikely to experience.

Considering a local as a friend may be a mistake. They may only see you as merely an "acquaintance". Despite their sociabilities with you, their real loyalties are probably elsewhere.

I have even seen how people in the village where I live, how they act and comment about "outsiders", even though they may be also Hungarians. There is even a local, generic, phrase for many of them: "that Budapest crowd".

In other words, one can not just drop into a locality, society, culture or country and expect to easily get socially attached to the people there. It will take work. Often, a lot of work.

You are so right Klasalle as usual. It is not easy to make real friends with native Hungarians.
My HU born and raised husband and I once tried to take his brother and wife out to dinner in a small town just outside of Erd where they lived.
My husband and I had eaten there twice before and enjoyed the food.( We went during the slow time in the afternoon)
We took them out on a Sat. night,Entered the place and just stood there standing for a few very uncomfortable min. while a room full of village locals just stared at the 4 of us.
So strange because ok, my husband and I may look odd but my in-laws looked very middle class middle aged HU.
We just turned around and walked out, the waitress didn't even bother to try and seat us.The "your not welcome "vibe was very strong.
That's my real impression of how friendly Hungarians really are under neath it all.
The only other time we ever experienced anything as rude was in NM when my husband and I went to a busy Mexican place and stood there far too long with everyone staring at us including the wait staff, like we had entered the wrong place and were just not welcome.
It is true it is all about who you know here, when I was getting desperate 5 years ago with my resident permit my husband almost considered contacting his old school mate to help us out with the BS we were getting from the immigration staff.
He is not at all the sort to call in favors so knowing that he was really mad at them.
His old school mate was at the time still the Health Minister of Hungary. In fact my husband was invited to a old school reunion this past year, we were out of HU or he would of considered going to re connect with his old powerful school mate.
It is all about who you know or who you .... as the say in Hollywood!
The thing most HU do not know is that attitude just doesn't fly outside  of HU.
I had worked in Vegas for a few years at a casino where we had on our shift 2 other HU.
They worked great but their attitude had the two of them working in the casino pit in the back room where no one wanted to work, the bosses has had enough of their ways.
They were far better games dealers then I thought i was but I worked in the front pit and they were stuck in the back with the low life's.
later my HU DIL was hired through me to work at the same casino, she made such a bad impression on all of the Old Boy Italian bosses that they put out word to all hiring staff to never hire another person from HU.
My good friend was very close to the casino manager and told me this bit of under the table news.
These days they have turned into a major corp. and the rules probably are not the same although every time I go into that casino I do not seem to notice anyone from HU.
I find that both sad and at the same time I feel a bit confident that I am not paranoid about how rude some HU are, even people with no connections to them can see right through the attitude.
Embarrassing to know that my husband's fellow countrymen have given HU a bad name in other countries because of their bad behaviors.

Marilyn Tassy :

You are so right Klasalle as usual. It is not easy to make real friends with native Hungarians.....

I read that with sympathy but there's another side to all of this and it's in the same room. 

It is of course, your partner/husband/wife who is an authentic product of Hungary. 

So there are Hungarians who are individually sympatico.   

Mrs Fluffy and I get on like a house on fire. 

The only real "arguments" we have are over trivia. So much so, that it's become a running joke between us. 

We're still taking somewhat contrary positions on if the avocado a fruit or a vegetable. 

Undecided on the tomato.   

But as the Brit here, it's definitely "to-maht-oh", not "toe-mate-oh"  (thank you : Fred and Ginger)

Thanks Fluffy, you have a point once again.
After knowing my husband  for going on 43 years I am probably more Hungarian then I think.
I must say I know more western men married to Hungarian ladies then the other way around, not sure why that is so.
My mother freaked out when I told her in Cal. that I met a HU man. Her own older brother married into a HU family who were recent imports from HU back in the late 1920's. My first cousins are half HU on that side.
Mom really freaked out and wanted me to get my head examined.
I asked her what the problem was and she said HU men were just too bossy for western women, might be true but as a mid child of a huge family I am used to holding my own.
Any one with a weak personality would be stomped on   by me I think.So it is true , every pot has a cover.

fluffy2560 :

It is of course, your partner/husband/wife who is an authentic product of Hungary. 

So there are Hungarians who are individually sympatico.

One's partner/husband/wife should be one's best friend and the most significant social contact in one's life.

But just one person does not make a social circle;)

Of course one must also consider, if one likes one's partner's/husband's/wife's relatives, well then one gets a handy ready made social circle out of the relationship as well.

klsallee :

....One's partner/husband/wife should be one's best friend and the most significant social contact in one's life....

I dunno, I think partner/husband/wife is on a whole different level to best friend. 

John Cleese (yes, him, from Monty Python/Fawlty Towers etc) once said on the radio that it's about "sacrifice".

Would you give your best friend your kidney? Maybe.  Partner/Husband/Wife, yes. Kids, absolutely.  Neighbour, no. My family, yes, probably. Her family, probably not. 

But yes, not entirely a social circle in one person. 

On the other hand, it seems to work both ways. Mrs Fluffy is very well "in" on my family, so much so that they complain about me (to me) and how wonderful she is.  I guess they (and I) have good taste. Haha.

I am glad to hear of any happy marriages. My best friend from age 11 married early at age 17, now she is 61 and they are still together all these years. Through thick and thin, I was with her when she met her husband in our tiny little S. Cal. red neck town. He was an old man  of 21 and a college student from Iran.
I literally was afraid of his dark," old," ( at 17 anyone over 18 is old) strange appearance and as any true friend, I grabbed her arm and tried to drag her away from his glaze.
Didn't work that way, they were drawn together like months to a flame.
Quickie  wedding in her parents house and off she was for adventures in Iran for 5 years.
I am not sure her husband has ever forgiven me for trying to drag her away.
Never know who is just perfect for each other, she a 6 ft. tall blonde German Swed and him pure Persian. She speaks his language perfectly and embraces the culture more then he does.
Very cool really. They are great-grandparents now and I don't even expect a grandkid anytime soon.


Thank you to ask but....Newer More ! (see the joint sheet)***

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