How to NOT Make Friends While Traveling

If there’s one thing that I’m truly horrible at, it’s making new friends. During high school, I never noticed my ineptitude because I was forced into friendships through band, and other school activities. My freshman year of college is when I first started to notice how bad at friend-making I truly was. It turns out, if you’re bad at something at home, you’re still bad at it when you travel.

Travel can be a freeing experience. You leave home to explore new parts of the world, new cultures, new foods, new people. I know so many people that have made solid friendships with strangers in foreign countries. They meet casually in a hostel, coffee shop, or bar, and just hit it off. I don’t know how they do it. That’s the real problem, not only am I bad at making friends, I don’t know how to do it.

We went on a few cruises when I was younger, and every time my older brother formed these week-long friendships where he and his new friends would go on adventures together; while I stuck to the library and read through the 10 or so books they had on board that I was interested in. It’s not that I didn’t try to make friends, it just never seemed to work out. I was too awkward, or shy, or uninterested in the group activities the crew put together. I assumed I would get better at making friends as I got older. I was wrong.

Nowadays when I travel, I spend most of my time with a pair of headphones in my ears. I’m sensitive to noise, so I like to block out the irritating sounds people make. That and I enjoy listening to soundtracks while I walk, it makes things more interesting for me. Even in pubs, or restaurants, sometimes I’ll pull out my music and listen to it to deter strangers from approaching me.

That’s one of my main problems, I’m not an approachable person. I ‘m short, chubby, and seem like a cheery little forest fairy, but in reality I am a sewer gremlin with the attention span of a lazy dog. I’d much rather be left alone than have to speak to a new person. Sometimes I don’t even want to be around my friends! Solitude is very important to me, and it tends to bleed into my traveling as well.

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Solo Traveling: Perfecting the Art of the Selfie ft. headphone cords.

These days, I travel in shorts bursts. I don’t know how to connect with people over a span of 48 hours. The only friends I’ve made (and kept) over the years have been through forced relationships (ie. Marching Band, Class, Clubs, Roommates). It takes months, if not years, for me to trust new people.

So, what do I do instead when I find I need conversation? I’m friendly to the strangers that do say hello. I’ve had short conversations with people are bars. I collect minuscule acquaintances. I don’t remember names. We don’t add each other on Facebook, and I can’t call upon them when I need a place to stay. But, I make little memories of conversations, and faces, that seem to fulfill my basic need for friendship/companionship. I don’t need human interaction as much as some; just as they may not need solitude as much as I do. Everyone is different, and sometimes being a loner is just fine.


What’s something you wish you were better at? Sometimes I wish I could make friends easier, but I also enjoy being alone so it’s hard for me to want to try harder.

Want more of my internet rambling? Follow me on Twitter @LittleSliceofBri

Thanks for Reading!

8 Comments on “How to NOT Make Friends While Traveling

  1. Welcome to the introvert’s club! Many people think I am an extrovert but it is my public face and what I really crave is time alone with my spouse and the cat. (Of course when we travel, the cat is not there but we talk about her all the time. Goofy, I know.)

    I like to talk to the people next to us at dinner when we travel but that is about it. In fact, travel allows us the opportunity to be stimulated, to be around other people, but to not have to make a permanent connection. We can slink off on our own any time with no regrets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yes, traveling is the perfect opportunity to not be forced to stay around during a conversation. Definitely easy to slink away. Glad to be part of the club 🙂

      Like

    • Sometimes it does get lonely, but it gets easier to deal with the sadness the older I get–or I just try and be a bit more extroverted to get that human contact my body is missing. It’s definitely a balancing act. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for liking my post on the Queens Zoo . As for making friends while travelling , I’m one of those people who starts the conversation . If I see that you don’t want go engage, I keep it moving. Don’t let me see you wearing a shirt or sports jersey from a team that I like or dislike , I can talk for days about that and usually the person wearing it is just as vocal, so you never know .

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    • Ouch! Never thought about that Maesca, because I speak to EVERYONE when I travel, but you’re right. If someone doesn’t engage at home, they sure aren’t on the road

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      • I do find it easier to speak to people when I’m traveling because I know the encounters will likely be a 1 time thing. but definitely don’t go out of my way to start a conversation besides pleasantries. We can’t all be the silent type though 🙂

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