How to Make Friends in the United States

Moving to a new country is one of the scariest experiences a person can go through. On top of packing, traveling, and setting up your new life in the United States, it’s easy to forget the next and arguably most important step: Making new friends!

Here at Golden Beacon USA, we’re passionate about helping you transition smoothly into your new life in America.

To help make your journey more manageable, we’ve put together this helpful guide on how to make friends in your new home.

 

Where Do I Start?

Get out there and be social! Take a class at the community center, join groups at your place of worship, and introduce yourself to your neighbors. If you see somebody who looks friendly at work, at the grocery store, or in any relaxed environment, don’t be afraid to smile and say hello. Don’t be discouraged if you have one bad experience; you just need to find the right person. Despite today’s political climate, many Americans are open to friendships with newcomers. You can also make a profile on our social forums to meet others like yourself!

One thing to watch out for, however, is how you’re approaching members of the opposite sex. You don’t want the other person to misunderstand your intentions.

How Do I Greet Strangers In The US?

“It’s nice to meet you” is the most common and neutral greeting in the United States. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, men would generally shake hands upon meeting, although women would rarely do so. Now, just a simple “nice to meet you” is sufficient, and remember to keep six feet apart.

Americans will also greet each other with a wave or simple “Hi” or “Hello.” They may also ask, “How are you?” but this is rarely a request for substantial information. Instead, responses like “Good,” “Great,” and “Fine” are generally what’s expected.

How Do I Make Conversation With An American?

With most Americans, you won’t have trouble making conversation. They’ll be interested to know about your experiences, your family, and what your home country was like. With others, however, conversation may be a bit more difficult.

Some people may feel shy and awkward while talking to you. Don’t be alarmed though; this may be the first time they’re talking to someone from another country. After they see how relaxed and easy-going you are, they’ll begin to open up.

If you are having difficulty keeping a conversation going, try asking questions about America. Ask the person you’re talking to about US customs and traditions you’re not sure about. Americans value honesty, and most feel comfortable helping strangers.

What Should I Not Talk To An American About?

Americans are a little awkward around money. You shouldn’t ask somebody how much they earn or ask strangers how much an item they own costs. You also shouldn’t ask adults – especially women – their age.

Finally, although some Americans are incredibly proud of their religion or which political party they belong to, it’s probably best to avoid these topics with people you don’t know yet.

What Do I Do If An American Says Something I Don’t Understand?

Simply ask the person to repeat what they’ve just said but slowly. If you still can’t understand, ask the person to spell it, write it down, or even act it out with gestures.

Summary

Americans value honesty and will often say exactly what they think, without a filter. It can be quite a culture shock at first! At the same time, don’t be afraid that being honest with a friend will insult them. Saying you can’t go to an event because you’re working is far better in an American’s eyes than saying you will come and not showing up.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Americans have lots of people who they’d call acquaintances. These are people they know by name but aren’t incredibly close with. Americans tend to have a few really close friends, so don’t be discouraged if it becomes clear somebody doesn’t want to have a deeper friendship with you. In our experience, you’ll find at least two or three Americans who will want you as a close friend. And that’s really all you need to start making the US feel like home!

 

Are you looking for guidance when it comes to learning about life in America? Need help finding a job or thinking about going back to school? Golden Beacon USA has the services you need! Check out our e-learning videos on American culture and resources, Resource Referrals to find local services, and our career coaching packages. We are here to help make your transition as easy as possible! Contact us today at laura@goldenbeaconusa.com or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!