Though Sydney is surrounded by water, it’s still a city and has many of the traits of a city – it’s a stressful, fast-paced environment, people are cliquey and it’s really hard to wrestle your way into friendship groups and meet new people.
But after being here a few months and trying to collect new friends like a Pokemon championship, here are six easy ways to meet new people in Sydney…
Whether it’s a local class or a city-based event with thousands of people, getting fit is a sure-fire way to meet new people. Yes you have to invest a little money buying workout gear (head to Kmart!) and signing up for an event or class but if you get to meet new people and get fit at the same time, what’s not to love?
Many body class such as yoga and Pilates etc offer cheap trials to get you going or, if you sign up to the relevant newsletters, can get ‘early bird’ or cheaper tickets to the big events such as City2Surf, Colour Run and the Sydney Marathon. Groupon is a great place to grab a good fitness deal if you’re prepared to turn up somewhere alone!
Sign up for events, talks and classes
One of the best websites for finding out things going on in the city is EventBrite. Whether it’s a marketing event to help your online busuiness or a blogging workshop, there is a little something for everyone on here. Likewise, if you check out Laneway Learning you can learn about anything from how to play a Ukulele to body painting for a small fee or even free. General Assembly in the city centre is another great tool for listening to unusual talks and classes (I went to their very well organised Etsy workshop and learned a lot) or head down to Bondi Beach every Friday morning for some yoga, surf and socialising with the OneWave crew who support mental health awareness.
Spend time in the common room or bar
When you first arrive you’ll likely spend some time in a hostel or have friends who are so why not head into the common room and kitchen (as often as your patience will allow it) and get chatting to other people in the same situation as yourself? Other travellers are inherently easy to connect with because you’re in the same situation as others so it’s easy to head out for dinner with a bunch of people you barely know! If you’re not staying in a hostel, then head to one of the bars that backpackers frequent such as Scary Canary’s, Scubar, Side Bar, Scruffy Murphys, Maloneys etc.
When you do start to meet new people, accept the invitations they extend to you even if they’re a ‘friend of a friend’ or a work colleague you don’t know too well. Go to the party. Pay $9 to join them Dragon Boat Racing (we won!!). Go for a walk in new a suburb or coastal path. Your connection to them may be loose right now but you can strengthen it and who knows what other kinds of people you’ll meet because you said ‘yes’. I met an acquaintance on Twitter when I first arrived and now him and his wife have turned into family for me over here. All because we pushed through our nervousness of meeting new people and turned up to a chocolate café!
Go on a tour/organised trip
These are especially good if you’re alone or just in a pair and want to meet new people. When you arrive in the city, many hostels offer walking tours as part of their welcome package or you can head along to one of the ‘I’m Free’ tours offered around the city. I met two girls on my first very day (both solo travellers like myself) on a tour offered by my hostel and almost 2 years later we still see each other regularly now that we’re all back in Sydney! Likewise, take an organised trip for wine tasting or to the Blue Mountains etc and meet other individuals or small groups of people who want to enjoy themselves with new people!
That sounds like an incredibly dumb cop-out piece of advice doesn’t it?! But do you realise how few of us actually have or even start conversations with new people further than the necessary small talk? When you sit on a bench in a park, do you smile at the person sitting next to you? Do you compliment the stallholder who has incredible jewellery you love? No? Then start because you never know where a conversation could take you. Maybe that stallholder will tell you about a creative workshop that’s happening or the person on the bench will tell you his favourite walking route that visitors don’t know about.
How do you meet new people?