One of the things a lot of students worry about is making English-speaking friends, or how to find them. It is much the same as finding friends that speak your own language.
Don’t look to people just because they are native English speakers
Have something interesting to talk about
Don’t interrupt busy people
- while waiting in line at the post office or for the ATM,
- while listening to my iPod,
- while I am visibly angry or annoyed
- while I am with my family and my son is not behaving well.
Don’t start a conversation and then get shy
Find something in common
This is a big one. Nobody wants to feel used but this is how it can feel if you just want to speak to people because they are native speakers. Not only this, but you are limiting yourself: there are some great non-native speakers out there and most non-natives tend to speak English most frequently to other non-natives.
When you start a conversation on something that the other person has no idea about or has no experience of, you are starting a conversation that is going to fail. Keep it simple but normal. Ask the other person or people about themselves and be willing to listen but also ready to talk about yourself, too.
I am usually willing to talk to anybody even though giving people the chance to speak English is something I get paid to do. Note that I said ‘usually’. This does not include:
Basically, think about whether you would want to give me a chance to practise my Japanese, or any language I may or may not be learning.
If you have the confidence to start a conversation, keep it going. It is a two-way deal. Ask questions if you don’t have the confidence to say a lot.
If you want to make friends, try to find something in common. If you play sports, why not try to meet people at a sporting event or club? If you like eating and drinking, see if there are any international dining clubs.
I hope this helps. Do you have any tips? Leave a comment to help others!