When you’re new to a city, it can be awfully uncomfortable if you don’t know anyone there. We humans are social creatures and we need that connection in order to thrive.
Maybe you’re considering moving to Canberra or you’ve already settled in there. We’re going to give you some tips on where to make new friends in Canberra so that Australia’s capital will feel more like home in no time at all.
As the nation’s capital, Canberra is an important city. Landlocked and tucked cosily away inland, there are no beaches, although there is a significant waterway and that’s Lake Burley Griffin and the place is surrounded by untouched bushland. Home to Parliament House and many other momentous points of interest, this is a city that takes pride in its responsibility. Manicured landscapes, a neat-as-a-pin city layout and beautiful buildings all reflect its role as the seat of government.
In terms of climate, Canberra enjoys distinct season changes and you can get a good dose of crisp, fresh winter there. There’s a pretty good cycling culture, the wildlife pays regular visits – think kangaroos and wallabies – and the coffee scene is alive and well. On week days, Canberra is busy and bustling, with politicians and their communities going about their daily business. On weekends, things are a little more ‘chill’ and the energy is friendlier and warmer.
Uni students have endless opportunities to make new friends in Canberra. Whether you live on- or off-campus at your university, the campus itself is a hive of activity. There are also tons of special interest groups on campus and there’s bound to be at least one that takes your interest. Join in a social club, play a sport, accept invitations to parties, hang out in the library or the campus café and find out where your peers go for drinks.
Check to see if there’s an intranet noticeboard you can sign up to where information is posted about upcoming events. Or there may be a physical noticeboard somewhere so look for that too.
If English is not your first language, going along for lessons will put you in touch with others who feel similarly to you. You don’t have to speak the same language to understand that expressing yourself can be difficult, so you’ll have that in common and you can work towards improving your skills together.
Working is a great way to meet new people! Workplaces are usually quite social in Australia and there are always opportunities for chats. Eat lunch in the lunch room and when someone joins you, introduce yourself or pay a compliment about what they’re eating. Your workmates may be part of a social club that goes out after work or on weekends. There could be an office picnic or a social get-together for someone’s birthday.
If you work on hospitality such as in a restaurant, café or bar, you’ll often find that your co-workers like to hang out together outside of work. You could always invite yourself along or wait a week or two for others to become familiar with you.
Team sports are, by definition, groups of people wanting to spend time together. If you’re really sporty, you could try out for soccer, rugby or hockey. If you’re into more sedate activities, try ten pin bowling, lawn bowls or cricket.
Sign up for a gym and as you settle into a routine, you’ll start to notice the same people there on a regular basis. There’s no harm in striking up a conversation, or you could ask for or offer advice on specific workout activities. Your gym might also have a swimming pool, sauna or group classes.
Be ready with a smile and don’t expect too much immediately. It’s important that people get a chance to see you around and figure out that you’re a regular.
What do you like to do? Are you interested in dancing? What about fishing, knitting, cooking, reading or gaming? There are groups for all kinds of activities in Canberra and you can find them on meetup.com. This is an online portal where people create groups and invite others to attend events.
You can even create one and invite people! Maybe you’re passionate about photography; well there could be an event where the group meets at the lake to take photos together. But even if you don’t attend events with meetup.com groups, you can still make new friends in Canberra by being in places where your fellow hobbyists go.
Facebook is a gold mine of special interest groups! Type in the kinds of activities you’re interested in; add ‘Canberra’ to your search term and you’re bound to find something you’ll like. Keen anglers might like to see where their fellow fishermen (or women) are throwing their lines in. the Canberra Social Fishing group on Facebook is a good place to start.
When you drop into a café for coffee, sit at the large communal table instead of at an individual table. It’s great for conversation because if other people are choosing to sit there too, they’re interested in talking. Same goes for libraries, bars and other public places.
Sometimes you have to be proactive if you want to make new friends. You can always invite your neighbours, classmates or workmates to your home for a simple dinner or coffee and cake. Keep it small and simple and extend your invitation to three or four people.
Allow plenty of notice so that they can schedule your get-together in their social calendar. One of the best ways of making friends is to offer food and if you can whip up one of your everyday dishes, they’ll probably be highly impressed!
Knowing where to make friends in Canberra is easy! They’re everywhere and all you have to do is break the ice and start a conversation. If even that seems too intimidating, start with a smile and show that you’re approachable.