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Hello from American in Kaiserslautern

I relocated to Germany in March 2017 and am having a difficult time meeting new friends.  I researched meetup.com but there were not many choices.  This may sound naive, but how does a foreigner in a new country go about making new friendships?  Please help lol

Seeing as there are tons of Americans there with the U.S military, you shouldn't find it too difficult I'd think.  I had no problem.  Check out some local fests or events, sit down and have a drink and talk with people around.

Thank you for the advice sir.

People don't spontaneously just meet and strike up a conversation and become friends very easily in Germany. Even if it is unconsciously done, people have a bit more security when they get to know you through work or school or membership in some club or organization. There are countless clubs for different sports or chess or whatever interests. Or take classes at the local Volkshochschule (community college) or other places for all kinds of interest. Having a shared interest and the structure of a group is the way it’s done.

In Stuttgart for example there are weekly free meetings in parks in the warmer months, for slack lining, juggling, inline skating and lots of other activities. Or there are lots of clubs through the universities which sometimes accept some non-student members. This fits if one is not too old but it’s especially helpful if you already have experience in an activity.  The advantage to University groups are that they might be more open to foreigners and most students will speak passable English in case your German is not so good. They also tend to be cheaper than say joining a non-university sports club or school.

TominStuttgart :

People don't spontaneously just meet and strike up a conversation and become friends very easily in Germany. Even if it is unconsciously done, people have a bit more security when they get to know you through work or school or membership in some club or organization. There are countless clubs for different sports or chess or whatever interests. Or take classes at the local Volkshochschule (community college) or other places for all kinds of interest. Having a shared interest and the structure of a group is the way it’s done.

In Stuttgart for example there are weekly free meetings in parks in the warmer months, for slack lining, juggling, inline skating and lots of other activities. Or there are lots of clubs through the universities which sometimes accept some non-student members. This fits if one is not too old but it’s especially helpful if you already have experience in an activity.  The advantage to University groups are that they might be more open to foreigners and most students will speak passable English in case your German is not so good. They also tend to be cheaper than say joining a non-university sports club or school.

Tom, the first lines of your response may be true, and the rest of your statement is not disagreeable, but as you note...that's around Stuttgart.  Kaiserslautern has a significantly different dynamic as there are a lot of Americans around there, and a new American to the area can easily fit in I think if they have ties to the military community there, or desire to make friends that are with the military.  I will admit though that going that route does keep you in a expat bubble to some extent.

Speaking from my own experience, I made friends fairly quickly via my co-workers who were both Americans and German nationals, and several friends had German spouses, who introduced me to other Germans, and I was accepted and became friends fairly easily with enough people to stay busy in my off time.  I also certainly did just sit down at a table at a festival or a gasthaus and strike up a conversation over a beer, or someone would ask me for a light and we'd talk and even meet up again.

This was in the late 90's, has it changed that much?  :/

romaniac :
TominStuttgart :

People don't spontaneously just meet and strike up a conversation and become friends very easily in Germany. Even if it is unconsciously done, people have a bit more security when they get to know you through work or school or membership in some club or organization. There are countless clubs for different sports or chess or whatever interests. Or take classes at the local Volkshochschule (community college) or other places for all kinds of interest. Having a shared interest and the structure of a group is the way it’s done.

In Stuttgart for example there are weekly free meetings in parks in the warmer months, for slack lining, juggling, inline skating and lots of other activities. Or there are lots of clubs through the universities which sometimes accept some non-student members. This fits if one is not too old but it’s especially helpful if you already have experience in an activity.  The advantage to University groups are that they might be more open to foreigners and most students will speak passable English in case your German is not so good. They also tend to be cheaper than say joining a non-university sports club or school.

Tom, the first lines of your response may be true, and the rest of your statement is not disagreeable, but as you note...that's around Stuttgart.  Kaiserslautern has a significantly different dynamic as there are a lot of Americans around there, and a new American to the area can easily fit in I think if they have ties to the military community there, or desire to make friends that are with the military.  I will admit though that going that route does keep you in a expat bubble to some extent.

Speaking from my own experience, I made friends fairly quickly via my co-workers who were both Americans and German nationals, and several friends had German spouses, who introduced me to other Germans, and I was accepted and became friends fairly easily with enough people to stay busy in my off time.  I also certainly did just sit down at a table at a festival or a gasthaus and strike up a conversation over a beer, or someone would ask me for a light and we'd talk and even meet up again.

This was in the late 90's, has it changed that much?  :/

What you say is probably true about specifically meeting Americans in Kaiserslautern. The question is if that is one's goal? If so, I don't see why an American would be having trouble! It seems more than obvious that one would merely look to finding US military in places where they have large bases in small communities. My response referred to meeting people in general in Germany - including most foreigners. If one specifically wants to find English speakers just find the nearest Irish pub which tend to be meeting places for such, or  many towns have a Deutsch-Amerikanisches-Institute or similar cultural center. And Romaniac, you mention making friends with co-workers but that is exactly what I said is the normal way people meet here - through work or school.

Thank you for both for your continuing discussion.  I am afraid that I am painfully shy and have a profoundly quiet disposition.  I am actually retired from active duty Air Force so I know all too well that there is a large American presence here.  Even so, it has never been easy for me to meet friends.  Perhaps I am just that odd ball person who will go through life without making friends.  I don't drink or smoke so the pubs and bars have never appealed to me.  Not drinking is somewhat of a handicap, especially here in Germany.

Ty44 :

Thank you for both for your continuing discussion.  I am afraid that I am painfully shy and have a profoundly quiet disposition.  I am actually retired from active duty Air Force so I know all too well that there is a large American presence here.  Even so, it has never been easy for me to meet friends.  Perhaps I am just that odd ball person who will go through life without making friends.  I don't drink or smoke so the pubs and bars have never appealed to me.  Not drinking is somewhat of a handicap, especially here in Germany.

As a non-smoker I can say that it is a great relief that smoking in most bars and restaurants is no longer allowed. I think non-drinkers can also go to bars and not drink but the question is if they like the atmosphere if others are intoxicated. I think a bigger factor might be age. Hanging out in bars or participating in groups catering to students wouldn't seem to fit well once one is at retirement age.

More recommendable might then be groups that discuss books or movies or visit museums together. Or sport wise there are hiking groups or Nordic walking or even bike groups that might be oriented to an older crowd. The question is if older Germans are comfortable with speaking English. Most had it as a subject in school but might have forgotten most of it. Others might have traveled a lot and be rather fluent.

Anyway, there is no magic solution to your problem, the tips I’ve given are just general guidelines. Meeting people when one is older is always more difficult as most people have their routines and social contacts already and while they might not be against making new friends in theory, in practice they see no need to bother. Yet there are always going to be people who have relocated or lost a partner to divorce or death that are in a similar situation.

I am not religious but I think many mature adults would find friends or at least a sense of community through their chosen religious institution. Another possibility is getting involved in social activism. There are volunteer groups for helping refugees or promoting ecology or to lobby against animal cruelty etc. where one would likely meet people of all ages.

I think you can easily find through local community. You can meet new people through your colleges.

Ty44 :

Thank you for both for your continuing discussion.  I am afraid that I am painfully shy and have a profoundly quiet disposition.  I am actually retired from active duty Air Force so I know all too well that there is a large American presence here.  Even so, it has never been easy for me to meet friends.  Perhaps I am just that odd ball person who will go through life without making friends.  I don't drink or smoke so the pubs and bars have never appealed to me.  Not drinking is somewhat of a handicap, especially here in Germany.

Well, you if you don't drink,  you might want to start or you're really missing out :) I'm joking a little.  A cafe on the marktstrasse in K-town might also be a way to sit down and meet someone, there's always people there, natives and foreigners alike.  Of course, it's your personality and willingness to push your comfort zone that may ultimately decide if you make friends or not.

Otherwise, Tom did give a lot of good insight.

Thanks again to both of you for your outstanding advice and insight. I am only 44 btw lol.

Hello.. ı am ret.university educator lady from turkey..maybe we can meet if we want..regards..sye

Hello.. ı am ret.university educator lady from turkey..maybe we can meet if we want..regards..sye

Hello There. That sounds wonderful. How long have you lived in Germany?

I wanted to send this as a private message but you seem to have disabled this option…

I hope some of my suggestions help although I kind of assumed you were older. But your disposition might mean that the advice for older people fits.

A bit of advice. This site is not meant as a dating platform. What you have posted until now is still appropriate but I think I have to give you a warning. Many people come to this site and target people for scams. Someone saying there are lonely is practically setting themselves up for such an attempt. Typical is a person with a sob story looking for a partner and it quickly turns to requests for "sponsorship", money or even a quick marriage so they can get to the country of their choice.

I saw that a Turkish woman proposed to meet up - only thing is that her profile shows her as looking for information about Germany and that see doesn't even live there. She also posted that she will be in England in May through July and is looking to teach there in this time. Already suspect because if she had a work visa, she would already have a job lined up. Iron clad rule. If someone is in Germany, particularly in your city then not much to lose to meet. If someone is somewhere else and tries a long distance "friendship" and then wants help getting to Germany then it is 99.99% certain  to be a scam or one sort or another.

The list is long of the people on the site who have experiences of going from lonely to broken hearted and a lot poorer or even stuck in a sham marriage. Everyone one of them said something like, “yeah I know there are such scams but I believed this was the real thing”. And this happens to even intelligent, successful people. When it comes to matters of the heart many people seem to suspend their caution. But like the scams of winning millions in a lottery one didn’t play, it’s an illusion.

Sorry.........

Hello Tom, I thought I replied but apparently it did not go through. Just wanted to thank you for the warning. I will definitely take it to heart and will exercise extreme caution. Please take care. Ty.

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