Canberra has a pretty bad rap from non-Canberran’s. But after spending time here, people love it.
People are friendly.
Coffee is good.
Shopping is not too bad either.
There is always something to do and it generally is free!
Many, however, find it hard to break into the Canberra cliques. You know – the mums and bubs, the public servants, the cyclists, the hipsters.
If you haven’t read my first post about How to survive parenthood in Canberra, I recommend you read it before reading this one. Despite the title, it is applicable to everyone, not just parents. This article expands on this and looks at six actions you can take to make friends in Canberra
Get out of your comfort zone
The first key to building a community around yourself, or making friends in Canberra is to get out of your comfort zone. If you’re naturally an introvert like me, it can be challenging. But don’t come to the end of your time here and have regrets. Get over your insecurities about meeting others, swallow your pride and get out of your comfort zone.
Join a play group if you’re looking for other parents, join a triathlon group if you’re looking for an exercise group, or join a chess club at your workplace. Whatever it is, join it and start building your community.
There is a great exercise group for Canberra Mums if you’re interested too.
Make an effort
The second key to building a community is to make an effort. Don’t be lazy. There were times I didn’t want to leave the house due to the cold or basically pure laziness, but I did (most of the time). The times I didn’t, I now regret it as I missed out on opportunities to meet other people in similar situations as me.
Those in my own community who made an effort every single time now have a much larger network of friends than me as exampled by their busy social calendar, and the number of people at their kid’s birthday parties!
Plan to be consistent…
The third key to building a community is to plan to be consistent. Don’t leave a meet up not having penciled in another time to catch up. Those ‘let’s do this again soon’ comments are great but ‘soon’ is never one week, it is usually five or six weeks minimum, and by the time you get to see one another again, you’re on the precipice of having a breakdown from lack of interaction.
Make regular times to go for walks, coffee dates or play dates. Even if it is just to catch up on the weekend quickly. Whatever your preferred catch up is, do it each week or fortnight.
…and also be spontaneous.
Have plans in place, but also be spontaneous. As your day is reaching 5pm, ask a colleague if they want to grab a drink on the way home. If you’re having a lazy weekend call a friend and see if they are free for brunch, or a walk, or just a coffee.
Use different mediums
The fifth way to making friends in Canberra is to use different mediums. Go and join clubs, sign up for classes, invite workmates over for dinners.
You can also find a large Canberra community online. There are plenty of online parent’s groups, fitness groups, book club groups. Whatever your interest is, there will be an online community for you to later branch out to ‘real’ life.
But if there is no online community for your niche – create it yourself! I love the quote, ‘If there’s a book you want to read and it doesn’t exist, you need to write it’. If there is a group you want to join but it doesn’t exist, you need to create it and build the community around you!
The last essential key to making friends in Canberra is to never stop building your community. Don’t stop! Don’t think you’ve got enough friends, or enough dinner dates, or enough weekend activities. Keep building your community as others may need you in theirs.
By building yourself a community you have a greater chance of coping with and enjoying parenthood as you will have a tight little support group wrapped around you. You’ll come to realise that you’re not the only one going through your struggles, and you’ll have access to a wealth of information from others, and your quality of life will greatly improve.
How did you build a community around yourself and make friends in Canberra?
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