Some people believe that you have to speak to a person every day to consider them a friend. Over the years I have realized that that’s not the case at all. Many of my good friends don’t live in my city, province or country; they are people I’ve met during our travels. Somewhere in the world we met, formed a connection and shared a moment.
I have a bit of a reputation for making friends on trips.
It’s true that it comes easily to me but I truly believe that any person with a positive attitude won’t have any problems making friends on the road.
Have a great outlook on life and seek out people who have the same and you’ll never be lonely. Here are a few tips on ways to make friends while traveling:
1. Find common ground
People get along when they have things in common. We tend to relate with individuals that share a common interest. When travelling, visit places that you have a passion about and do things that you enjoy. The people who you will meet in those places likely share your interest and people who share the same interests will always have things to talk about.
2. Avoid the hot button issues
Religion and politics. Stay away. The chances that individuals will share the same opinion on these matters is slim. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re uncomfortable change the topic to something less heated. When I find myself being drawn into a conversations about one of these subjects I will change the topic to sports. The trick is to comment on a player from the national team of the country that the person you’re speaking to is from. People like reminders of home when they’re traveling. They appreciate that you know a little bit about where they are from. It always bring a huge smile to the person’s face.
3. Try something new
Don’t be afraid to try a new activity. There is an old cliché that “a friend is a stranger you have not met yet.”
For example: I do not consider myself a great swimmer. I’d say I’m average at best. But when we were in Mombasa, Kenya I saw that water polo was the most popular sport among the travelers at the resort we were visiting. There were no rules that you had to learn; it was all about having fun and trying to make friends. Numerous times in the game I was seriously considering calling it quits because of my swimming ability but with my teammates cheering me on I stuck it out. I had a blast and the bonds forged in the pool made it easier to relate to the individuals when I passed them on land later. We had shared an experience together and it provided enough of an ice breaker to allow us to relate to each other. We spoke about those games for hours and days to come.
Be yourself, do the things you enjoy, stay away from confrontational issues and have fun.