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Making friends in Munich

When I first came to Munich, in 2008, I didn’t know a soul. No one. And now, when I think about it, I wonder why I wasn’t more terrified. The ignorant bliss of youth, I suppose.

Making friends in a new city isn’t easy – especially when you’re no longer a student. Just where do people make friends? My first point of call was The Internet. I used forums like Toytown and Internations to meet other expats, and a friend put me in touch with a British friend of hers who’d moved to Munich a day before me, but I soon realized that if I was going to have any hope of a long-term life, I needed to meet some Germans. As a side note, Toytown is brilliant for second-hand furniture and stuff (when you’ve arrived in Germany with just a suitcase and the prospect of a ridiculous Ikea bill is too daunting), but I steer clear for “expat advice”. I tend to find it’s full of Germany-haters.

Again, I turned to the internet. My meet-ups with people via Sprachduo provided me with hugely entertaining stories for friends back home (if only I’d been blogging then). I met some right characters, mostly after sex (from a language exchange website, hm), but I did meet a lovely German who’s now a very good friend of mine.

And slowly I started building a social infrastructure. I paused before writing “social infrastructure”, because it sounds like a hugely yuppy thing to write, but it best describes the way I made friends. I made my colleagues go for beers with me after work, having embarrassed myself after asking why they always say “have a nice party evening!” (schönen Feierabend) and why I’m never invited to party with them. I started writing for a magazine (as a hobby), and made some of my closest friends there. The writers and I had shared interests, we went to gigs together, I met their friends and so on.

Moving to a new country and adapting to a new way of life is one thing, but setting up a home, with meaningful friendships is quite another.

I spent a long time hanging on to old friendships back in the UK. It is never worth pushing friendships. The true friends will visit, will send letters via good ol’ fashioned post and will remember your birthday having not been prompted by Facebook. The rest – you can hang onto them for a while – but if I’m brutally honest – don’t waste your time. Immerse yourself in your new life and you’ll be able to reap the rewards much faster.

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I'm Rachel, the author behind Arts in Munich. I moved to Munich in the summer of 2008, and work as an editor in the city. I also do freelance work for the BBC, MONOCLE, Singapore Airlines and Kaltblut, among others, and previously wrote for the Huffington Post and Electronic Beats.

7 comments on “Making friends in Munich

  1. I met most of my friends by attending the German language courses at Deutsche Akademie. Didn’t work out with everyone, but I didn’t give up and in the end made some really great friends! Too bad I am now moving… I would have loved meeting you for a cup of coffee/tea once… 🙂

    • Rachel

      Oh, I would have loved to! Maybe in Abu Dhabi sometime 🙂

  2. Teresatrang

    Hi Rachel,

    I discovered your blog by accident..actually by googling “finding friends in Munich” 🙂 I just moved here few months ago, have been to some meetups but still find it hard to make real connection..
    hey maybe is weird to ask, but do you wanna meet for cofee+cake sometimes? 🙂
    would be nice to hear from you!


    • I’d love to! Send me a message on here and we’ll sort something out 🙂

  3. Hi there,
    I really enjoyed reading this post. I must say I came across the site literally the same way Teresa did up there 4 months ago.
    I’m here on a rather short term programme, currently studying at a language school. I would look forward to your nice posts on cultural events! (you’re a herald of good news.) I did wince at the fact that James Blake had a concert a couple of weeks ago!


    • Thank you so much for your kind words!
      Hope the language course is going well, you’ve chosen a beautiful city for it 🙂

  4. Anastasia


    I read your post when I also google find friends in munich. I am here 8 months and its very difficult to me to do new friends. I will try this seit…. Thanks for your article is very interesting. I hope all the best.

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