Column – By Sam Mednick
I’m finding it exceptionally hard to make and keep friends in this city. For 10 years, I’ve created strong relationships only to see people leave one by one. Now I’m missing my friends and finding it difficult to meet new ones, scared to put myself out there for fear that they’re going to leave as well. How can I create lasting connections in Barcelona?
I feel your pain! Barcelona is an incredibly transient city, which can make it hard to put down social roots. People often come here en route to somewhere else, rarely thinking that Barcelona will become home. When establishing friendships with fellow foreigners, there’s always the risk that someone will soon relocate.
So what can you do?
ACTIONABLE TIPS FOR MAKING IT WORK IN BARCELONA
Accept it: If you’re choosing to call this city home, this is an aspect of living here that you’ll need to learn to live with. Consciously choose your friends: Look for people, whether they’re Catalans or foreigners, who are well established in the city, with jobs they like and even kids and pets. These aren’t foolproof signs, but they minimise the chances that they’ll up and leave on a whim.
Alter your perspective: How can you look at this in another way? Do ‘lasting connections’ mean they have to be in the same city as you? Although it’s not easy constantly saying goodbye, try seeing the benefits of having friends who live all around the world. Don’t write them off once they’re gone either, as there’s a very good chance they’ll return (I’ve seen it happen time and time again).
Stay open: While people coming and going can create cynicism, don’t let it cloud your vision. A potential new friend might be standing right in front of you, sitting at your daily coffee shop, living in your building or working at the restaurant in your neighbourhood.
Show up and get involved! The longer we live in a place, the more potential to be complacent when it comes to meeting new people. If you’re on the ‘friend hunt’, be active about it. Show up to events, parties, exhibitions, lunches and dinners with people you might have never considered sharing a meal with before.
It takes time and effort, but don’t get deterred. If you’ve done it once you can do it again and after a while you’ll establish a solid base of people, many of whom will be Barcelonians for the long haul.
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