When you’re struggling to speak or meet people, it’s tempting at times to ask “Do I really want that?” the answer is “Yes, of course I do!” German friends can enhance your experience of living in Munich, whether for short or long-term. They can help you adjust to living here. They can offer tips and advice that make your life easier. They can offer support, fun and a shoulder to cry on – just like any other friend.
Why is it soooo hard?
It might feel like it’s extra difficult here because Germans are ‘cold’ and ‘unfriendly’. When you see grumpy faces riding the tram every morning, it might make you think that maybe you don’t want to mingle with them at all. And then there is the language barrier…! It’s not just a German thing, even though it might feel like one. Expats all over the world struggle to connect with the locals: locals already have friends; speak the language and already know how to do all the things you’re struggling. Expats in your home town are struggling to get to know people you grew up with!
10 ways to meet more Germans
- Use your German connections. If your other half is German, invite their friends around. Throw a dinner party or a BBQ! Mingle with the wives or partners who might not know people well.
- Get to know your colleagues. Using alcohol as facilitator is very common in Germany. Everyone needs help to loosen up a bit sometimes. And while you might stay on “Sie” terms with your work colleagues, getting drunk together is entirely acceptable.
- Be the wife or girlfriend everyone knows. If your other half is working, get to know their colleagues. Participate in after work drinks. Go to the Oktoberfest together. Get your spouse to plan a family day.
- Join a class or a club. Maybe you’ve always wanted to play the guitar. Maybe you always wanted to learn a certain language.
- Volunteer. Maybe you’ve always wanted to get involved with charity or perhaps your kids’ school needs help with a bake sale.
- Talk to your neighbours. You can start small with a comment about the weather or dive right in and ask them in for coffee.
- Don’t worry about your lack of German! Use it as your selling point because it is! It is almost always considered charming. You’re exotic, play that card. They will admire how well you already speak and how well you’re adjusting to living with family and friends far away.
- Swap language skills. When you grow tired of the language, many Germans are eager to speak English with you anyways. Why not meet for a coffee and both learn something new?
- Be up for discussions. While it may be tiring to explain for the umpteenth time the peculiarities of the political culture in your home country, just acknowledge that heated debate is a popular pastime here. Most people are just curious and don’t mean to offend – and if they bother you too much, you can always retaliate. Yes, do mention the war!
- Be approachable. Germans may be slow to start a conversation, which can make them come across as cold, defensive, obnoxious, even rude. Dazzle them with smiles, small talk and humor.
LMBB’s community is made up of expats AND Germans. We welcome women of all nationalities and promote inter-cultural mingling. Your new German best friend might be waiting for you! Check out one of our events or visit our Facebook page and learn more.
Karina worked as TV producer before being cursed with two kids. In her previous life she was used to writing. She’s been in Munich for ten years now but still doesn’t undertstand the menu and probably never will. As a German herself, with close ties to the expat community, she provides LMBB with a different angle on life in Munich.
Photo credit: Yolanda Ng is a cross creative who is a professional fashion designer, stylist, street style blogger for VON ZWEI and a photographer at Corner Store Photography. She is also the Creative and Marketing Director for LMBB.