Before we moved over to Amsterdam I knew that making friends would probably be one of the hardest things to do. As a friend back home who is just starting her life outside of college told me, in school and work you basically have automatic friends…at least you are exposed to people and are made to interact. So, what happens when you go somewhere without a job or school lined up? A lot of depending on your partner and not a lot of talking to other people.
I want to make it clear, I am not saying the Dutch are not friendly. They, like most of us, just have no reason to strike up a conversation randomly on a tram or in a restaurant. While sitting in a chinese take-away restaurant with a menu written in Dutch in front of me, I asked for help from the woman next to me. I asked if she spoke English (even though this is a given, I do not like to make assumptions), she said yes, and I asked if she could help me figure out what to get. I am catching onto the language a bit, and found what I wanted, but couldn’t figure out what was chicken, pork, etc. So, she described things to me and then made a recommendation, so I just went with that. We chatted a bit and then her order was ready and she left. But she was incredibly nice and helpful. I didn’t necessarily make a friend, but I had a conversation with someone and that made my day.
There are a couple meet up websites that I browsed through and found a couple meet up groups on meetup.com. There is also Eat to Meet and Saucially (based around food). And since Sean’s a big user of Reddit, we found out there’s a Reddit group in Amsterdam that meet up once a month. We saw that one of the meet up groups was going bowling and there were two spots left. We thought this was a cool way to get to know people since bowling is fun and you are on teams. It ended up being incredibly easy for us to get to since it’s right next to the bus stop on the bus line that runs by us.
We were the first people there along with another American. None of us had been there or been to any meet up before, so we just hung out until other people found us. It was so much fun! We met people from around the world and some locals who just liked to get out and have some fun. I think there were 5 teams of 4-5 people each and that gave us plenty of time to chat and get to know each other with the basic questions. What brought you to Amsterdam? What area do you live in? Have you gone to meet ups before? Where do you work? It was awesome, and not just because I bowled 3 strikes.
We made new friends from our team and other teams. Sean got close with the other American and an Italian and I became friends with those guys and an girl from Indonesia. There were so many great people including a couple local ladies and local guy on our team, but there was only so much time. We really look forward to next month’s game, but are going to hang out with our new friends before then. I just love that there are groups specifically to make new friends and I’m glad we took advantage of them!