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This article was updated more than 6 months ago. Some information may be outdated.

When we’re young, making friends comes like second nature. It’s just what we do as humans. We make friends in school, at soccer practice, online, and everywhere else in between. But making friends in Canada as a newcomer can be a challenge.

Your peers in the Canadian town or city you decide to move to are less likely to need you (the newcomer) as much as you may need them. In all likelihood, it will be harder to make new friends than it would have been when you were still in the education system or enjoying your first job as a twentysomething. As people grow older, they are generally more likely to stay later at work or take their relationships more seriously, leaving less time for everything else — like making new friends. But, that does not mean it’s impossible to create a great social life as a newcomer to Canada. In fact, we often hear fulfilling stories from members of our community whose experience in Canada was enriched massively by making friends with locals and other newcomers. But what’s the best way of putting yourself out there and creating your very own Canadian social circle? Here are our four top tips for making friends in Canada.

1. Join a club

This may sound like a pretty obvious suggestion, but is it that easy to pick up knitting or softball if you haven’t done it for years? Well, in a word, yes. No matter where you end up in Canada, the chances are that you will be in close proximity to a club or society that enjoys a particular sport, pastime, or activity that you enjoyed doing when you were younger or before moving to Canada. From athletics clubs and yoga to book clubs, soccer teams, and community activism groups, there are so many opportunities to dive into your new community and make some new friends along the way. All it takes is a quick perusal on the internet or better still, a stroll through your neighbourhood. Soon you’ll not just be hitting a home run or debating the plot twist, but making new friends at the same time.

2. Apps for making friends in Canada

We all know that when most people think about meeting someone online, dating apps are usually what comes to mind first. However, in addition to Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, and Hinge, there are multiple apps available for making friends too. For example, Nextdoor, which connects people living in close proximity with each other, and Bumble BFF, the best friend version of the popular dating app of the same name, do just that.

You may be a little apprehensive when using apps like these for the first time, and that is totally understandable. After all, in your home country you may have never considered taking this approach, as you never had to. However, with more and more relationships starting online these days, why should friendships be any different? Making friends as a newcomer to Canada can be challenging, but it’s a lot easier if you’re willing to use the technology that exists to help you out along the way.

3. Go for drinks with your colleagues

We all know that after-work drinks can often be the worst type of forced fun as you can often feel compelled to engage in small talk with people you’re not very close to. That said, they can also be a lot of real fun, especially if you’re willing to work through the sometimes mundane introductions and make a concerted effort to learn more about the people you share a workspace with. Moreover, as a newcomer to Canada you should treat these social-work crossovers as opportunities to connect with people in your company that you feel you could spend some time with outside the nine-to-five environment. After all, if you are passionate about your job, then there’s a good chance that the interests that you and your colleagues share for your work can be replicated in other aspects of your life.

Also, note that in Canada it is perfectly normal for people who don’t drink alcohol to attend an after-work gathering where alcohol is being consumed. So if you don’t drink, don’t worry – happy hour is for everyone!

4. Adopt a dog

First things first; this tip is only for those who a) like dogs, b) have space for a dog, and c) have the financial and personal capacity to care for one. So, if you don’t fit any of these three criteria, then it’s probably best if you skip this tip altogether!

However, if you satisfy all these requirements, adopting a dog is an excellent way of integrating. Most importantly, there are thousands of beautiful dogs in animal shelters in towns and cities across Canada that are badly in need of a good home. A dog is a perfect companion as you ease into life in a new place and can help provide additional structure as you settle into your new surroundings. Finally, dog parks are the best both for you and your new furry friend. They get to run amok with their buddies, while you get the chance to chat with other dog-parents and, who knows, maybe hit upon a beautiful friendship in the process. But remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. So it’s a good idea to wait until you have secured permanent resident (PR) status in Canada, or are well on the way to PR, before considering adopting a dog or any other pet.

And there you have it, our four simple tips to making new friends in Canada. For the latest blogs on how other newcomers are faring in Canada or to simply get the latest advice for life in the Great White North, visit the Moving2Canada Living section.

If you have a suggestion of other ways that newcomers can make friends in Canada, send an email to [email protected]. Thank you!

Citation "How to make new friends in Canada." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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