Londoners are usually the first people to admit that the citys people have a rather unfriendly reputation. At the same time, theyll probably be able to give you several examples where that myth has been proved wrong. Its true that most people dont strike up conversations with the person sitting next to them on the bus every day but personal moments can happen. A lot of people will appreciate genuinely positive comments about their clothing, what theyre doing at the time or something interesting you notice about them. Sleazy remarks will usually be met with short shrift so if youre approaching a member of the opposite sex, remember to strike a good balance between being friendly but not too forward.
What counts as an opportunity to make a new friend in London?
Absolutely any situation can be an opportunity to make a new friends in London. Quite often, we might notice someone reading a book we once read ourselves and remember how great, terrible, tear-jerking or nonsensical it was. Alternatively, it could be a book weve never read before but one with an interesting title or a provocative cover. Both these instances present opportunities for striking up a conversation. Like a persons boots? Tell them. Want to ask the guy in football gear which local club he plays for? Do it. If youre used to the antisocial nature of commuting, it is easy to get sucked into an unfriendly frame of mind. However, its always worth a try and youll get the message pretty quickly regarding whether the other person wants to talk or not. Even if youre not feeling too enthusiastic about spontaneous chats on the way to work, there will always be plenty of other opportunities down the line.
Where can you find opportunities?
Absolutely anywhere. Cafes, restaurants, public transport, shops, even on the street. I get around by bike and have had a few fun exchanges with fellow cyclists about the weather, the traffic and dodgy places to leave your bicycle. While none of these brief conversations have ever led to friendship, the point is that you never know. Unless you have a bad feeling about someone, theres no harm in engaging and enjoying a short interaction. However, it is important to use your judgement. The fact is that there are some people out there who are best avoided and you can usually tell who they are almost immediately.
While your safety is the highest priority, its also important not to shut yourself off to new experiences. If you have a free evening, find something to do or see. Dont avoid last minute events just because you havent planned to go in advance. London is a great place with loads of cultural events like gigs, exhibitions, tours and talks. These are fantastic places for meeting like-minded people and making the most of your time in the city. After all, even if you dont find any lasting friendships, you can still have a nice evening out.
Finally, keep in mind that although meeting new friends in London might seem like a daunting task, it can happen in the most unexpected of ways.