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Advice about making friends in the UK
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This page gives some ideas about how to make friends in the UK. It is written mainly for international students/workers who come to Britain, but the information also applies to British people who want to make friends with people of other nationalities.

Making friends or partners in a foreign country can be difficult, especially when you first arrive. The way that people meet and talk in the UK may be quite different from in your home country, and sometimes language can be a barrier if you are not a native English speaker.

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If you are working or studying overseas in the UK you may at first find it hard to make British friends. These are some things you can try:
- Go up to peopleand introduce yourself, rather than waiting for them to come up to you.
- Keep speaking, without worrying too much about grammar. Often the person can understand what you are saying.
- If you can't remember an English word you want to use, try not to use a dictionary - describe what you mean using other words or pictures.
- If you can't understand the general idea of what the person is saying, ask him or her to explain in a different way.
- If you think you understood but you aren't sure, you can check by asking, "Do you mean ....?"
- Try to be cheerful when you are talking. British people like joking. Don't feel pressure to laugh at their jokes (a confused smile may be enough).
- Don't keep apologising for your poor English. Your English ability is probably much better than the other person's foreign language ability!
- Try not to make the person feel embarrassed if he/she tells a joke or says something you don't understand.
- Practice making small talk, so that you can keep a conversation going (for some ideas about topics, see: Personal/Manners).

In the UK many people go to a pub to socialise. Often they go there with a friend rather than by themselves. You can read more about pubs and pub etiquette on the page: Britain/Food/Pubs.

Social club
You may find it easier to meet people if you join some kind of organised social club or activity.
You can use the Meetup system to find a social meeting in your local area: For example, the author of this website organises the monthly London International Meetup: Other international meetings in London are shown on the page Meetings.
You can find out about other local social clubs in your local newspaper or library, or sometimes on your local council's website.
Social events may be organised by your university/college/school, by your embassy in London (contact their cultural section), by a religious group, or by your country's community in the UK (see: Links).

Social networking websites
The most popular "social networking" websites in the UK are:
Other sites include:
You should be very careful with your privacy settings if you join a social network. It is safer not to publish information or images which you would not be happy to be made public.

Sports club
If you enjoy sports then that can be a good way to get to know other people.
Popular sports in the UK include team sports (eg: football, rugby, hockey, netball or basketball), racket sports (eg: tennis, squash), swimming and walking.
Sports may be organised by your school, local groups or public or private sports clubs.
For more information about sport in the UK, see: Life/Sport.

Group tour
Travelling is another good way to make friends, especially if you join an organised tour. People usually socialise more on trips which include an overnight stay.
For information about tours, see: Travel/Tours.

Host family
If you are a university student, you may be able to make friends with a British family through the HOST scheme (, or through an International Student Friendship scheme run by your university.

International student friendship schemes
Some universities have a mentor scheme for international students, in which British students help you settle in when you arrive. Some Christian groups organise social events for international students, especially in university towns (for example, Friends International:

Personal ad
Another way to make a friend is to put (or reply to) a personal ad in a local newspaper or small ads paper or on the message board of a local website. If you are not interested in a romantic relationship, make this clear from the start.

Safety issues
Take care: there is always a small risk that you will meet someone unpleasant. Be careful about giving out personal contact information, including your address, e-mail address and phone number. If you go to see someone you haven't seen before, always arrange to meet for the first time in a public place, ideally during daytime, and take a friend with you if possible (or tell a friend where you are going). In a pub or club make sure that you do not leave your drink unattended (to prevent the risk that someone adds something to it).
For more information about personal safety, see: Personal/Safety.

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International social groups in London: Meetings
Sport in the UK: Life/Sport
British pubs: Britain/Food/Pubs
Improving your English speaking skills: English/Speaking

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