How To Make Friends In Hostel?

Hello all fellow shy travelers! Today’s travel post is all for you. As totally introverted and socially awkward person traveling and especially hostel life may feel like a nightmare. You want to make new friends and learn about these amazing different cultures but something inside you just makes it impossible. With these tips you will be step closer to being that social traveler in hostel. (Or at least everyone will think that you are the social one…)

Of course anyone asking themselves the question ‘How to make friends in hostel?’ can follow my tips but these are made especially for all us shy people who wouldn’t usually start conversations with strangers.

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Photos from Unsplash

Everything starts with a smile

Don’t laugh, it’s the truth! With smile you can go a long way making friends in hostel. If you look like you are having the best day of your life, other hostel guests will more likely begin chatting with you than if you are just sulking in the corner. Make eye contact (not too often that’s just creepy) and smile. They will probably answer to your smile and if you are lucky even start talking with you.

This usually works because there is two types of people in hostels. Those who want to talk for others and those who don’t. And then of course those subcategories for people who only talk for pretty girls, with the staff members or when they are intoxicated. So, when you smile people know that they can safely approach you and start talking. Soon you may find yourself with new friend!

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Greet everyone always and everywhere

After smiling greeting other guests is the most important thing in making hostel friends if you ask from me. I have had many people starting interesting conversations with me after I have greeted them for a few mornings and evenings in row. Some people just take longer to warm up for you and greeting them every time you see them is good way to achieve just that.

In the other hand. It’s also the best way to make new friends on your first day in the hostel. And with the people who have just arrived to the hostel and are going to spend there their first night. You could call it the good first impression. You will snatch the best new hostel friends for yourself before they make friends with someone else and starting conversation with them will be harder.

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Easy questions always work

The most usual way to start conversation with someone in hostel is to ask where they are from. You might think that asking persons name would be one of the first questions but surprisingly sometimes it may take hours of talking before thing like that comes up. Crazy, right? But if knowing someone’s name is important you can always tell the “by the way, my name is ____” and they will probably tell you theirs.

The beginning of conversation when making friends in hostel usually goes by asking and answering questions. You will get hold on to it quickly after making your first few hostel friends. Ask them about their home country, how long they are going to stay in the destination, where they are going next, where have they been before, what they know about your home country and even tips for some destination they have been before. After a while the conversation will start flowing on its own. So, don’t worry too much.

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Pay attention to the small details

Paying attention to people around you is important part of making new hostel friends. Why? You may accidentally find reason to start conversation. I just recently talked a little with another hostel guest because we had identical laptops.

A few times I have made friends because I saw someone reading books, watching Youtube videos or talking with someone else about concert they have just been to. If you know something about the subject yourself, feel free to start conversation. “Excuse me, I could not hear you talking about being in the concert. You have good music taste, I love that band.” It may seem hard at first but after a while you will get used to it.

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Ask help or offer help

You are sitting in your dorm room, new guests walks in and you greet them happily. They start searching for their bed but look a little bit confused by the numbering system of your room’s beds. You have been following them in the corner of your eyes while surfing on your computer. Then you ask if they need help and tell them where their bed is. They will probably thank you and you can introduce yourself and ask where they are from. After that it’s easy to start talking and if they don’t look too tired after traveling you can even tell them that you were just leaving to eat something and ask them to join you.

Asking help and offering help is easy way to break the ice and start new friendship with your fellow hostel guest. I think this is one of the most common ways of making friends in hostels.

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Bride with food

You can’t get true friends with money but food is totally different subject. Some of the most interesting hostel friendships I have had have started with food. Recently in Bremen my dorm roommate made me breakfast because I woke up too late to eat it every morning. We talked a lot after that. During my Japan trip I made friends again and again with food. I especially remember the Halloween night when group of us ended up sharing candies to everyone and talked far into the night.

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Everything starts from the common room

After long day adventuring around the new city you are probably ready for the bed. However staying unsocial in your dorm room means no easy friends for you. Buy food or snacks from convenience store, take book or computer with you and set towards the common room or kitchen area. Then just find nice spot for yourself with many seats around you and began your waiting. Eventually someone will start talking with you.

Just remember all the other tips I have shared. Remember to greet every guest arriving to the room. Usually if you greet someone and even more often if you are the only person in the room, they will ask would it be okay to sit with you. Then just start talking. Ask them where they are from and hope for the best.

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The more the merrier

Don’t be scared of big groups. It’s more than normal for hostel friend groups grow uncontrollably. You may talk with one person, then third person starts talking with the two of your, fourth person asks if you know any good restaurants and you start all together planning meal together. Then a few hours later you will find yourself with six other hostel guests from too small restaurant for you all to fit in properly. Just normal hostel life…

So, be prepared to hang out in bigger groups and don’t be scared to start talking with people even if they are already with someone. And if you are asked to join group going out say yes! You can regret later and find stupid excuse to escape.

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It will either work or not

In the end you can’t force hostel friendships and making friends in hostel is more about lucky than social skills. Sometimes you make too many friends to even remember their names and sometimes you will only smile for someone and that’s it. That happened for me in Sweden. During my stay I only talked about two sentences with my roommates and I never met anyone else in the hostel. Bad luck.

My last tip for making friends in hostel for shy people is to just go for it. At first it is hard but you will get used to it quickly. Always keep in mind that if you don’t want you don’t have to see anyone here ever again. Heck, they don’t even know your full name so they will never find you anywhere. You can make fool of yourself or be totally awkward without any consequences. Making friends in hostel is perfect way to learn social skills. Feel free to fail as many times as you need.

And that’s all I have to say now about making friends in hostel from the introvert’s point of view. Do you have any tips or tricks for making friends? Or maybe someone more social person would like to tell how they start the first conversation in hostel? Like always all comments are welcome and thanks or reading.

And btw, don’t forget to follow my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Lost Viivi 

36 thoughts on “How To Make Friends In Hostel?

  1. This is so useful! I’m going to be staying in a hostel on my own for the first time next week and, as a major introvert, am somewhat nervous about it. However, reading this is giving me the confidence to go forth and make new friends. Since I’m generally a solo traveler, I’m always setting myself the goal to be more sociable and meet new people, it sounds like my hostel stay my help me achieve that goal. Thanks for the brilliant advice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just go there bravely and talk with new people! But also remember that if you feel like you don’t want to speak with anyone that is also okay. Sometimes it takes time to get used to hostel life. Even I am shy and antisocial every now and then when in hostel. Good luck with your hostel experience. 🙂

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  2. Thank you, this is such a great guide – I’m very socially anxious (hence the username…), and I’m in the process of getting myself back into travelling, but the idea of hostels has always terrified me! This makes it seem so much less intimidating and achievable – thank you so much! Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Hostels are scary places even now after I have visited in them too many times. But after you get over the first scary day it will be easier. Just try once and remember that whatever you embarrass yourself or not no one knows you so they will forget quickly. I believe you can do it so good luck! 🙂

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    1. Easy questions are easy for the person asking but also for the person answering… Maybe that’s why they work so well when making new friends. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  3. I think your tips can apply to any place. We made friends with a couple that was staying in the same airbnb as us and shares some wine on the rooftop patio. It started with the fact that they had the same keychain as us. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this post! And it’s so true. Being friendly and open is usually enough. Especially when I was alone in a Hostel I ALWAYS managed to meet people, some were Roommates, some friends of Roommates and others just happend to be there at the right time. With some people I am still in contact sometimes, from some I don’t even know their names (funny story: I slept for four days in the bed next to that one guy I talked to everyday and I knew quiet some things about him, when I realised I still had no idea what his name was :D). Lately I am only going camping (and never alone…) and usually I don’t meet too many new people there, but still, somehow there is always somebody around whos willing to talk to you. 🙂
    See you, Saskia xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like my post. These are just things I find helpful in social situations. Making friends in hostels is surprisingly easy and fun! You never know who you meet and you don’t even need to know their name. That story sounds so familiar for me! 😀 Making friends during camping is quite hard because usually we go camping with someone else and not alone. But it is probably possible and at least you have topic to talk right away because both of you like camping. Thank you Saskia! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally. You’re an introvert? You seem so bubbly and charismatic in your writing.

    You’ve given some good advice too. How many countries have you had a hostel experience with??

    Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I am very introverted, shy and socially awkward. Writing has always been a lot easier for me. 🙂
      I’m glad you found my advice useful. These are just things I myself find helpful in social situations. And my longest hostel experience was three months in Japan (living and working) but I have also lived in hostels in London, Brighton, Stockholm, Gdansk and Bremen. Maybe somewhere else too but I have forgotten… 😀
      Thanks for commenting!

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        1. Well, many of those hostels I have visited were interesting and nice BUT my ultimate favorite is the one where I stayed in Kyoto, Japan for over month. That place felt like home and still is one of my favorite places in whole world. 🙂

          And I definitely recommend both Japan and Poland as countries and as hostel destinations.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Well to tell the truth I am no probably the best person to help you because I am still totally lost with my own blog and have no idea how to make “good blog”. But I looked your blog and it seems okay. The best and most important tip I can give to you is to post regularly. At first there will be no one reading but after a while people will get interested. Last year at this time (after blogging for 4 months) I didn’t have even 100 readers and now I have over 2 000 so I think blogging is all about just writing and not caring if anyone reads. 🙂

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  6. Love hostels. So many like-minded people in one place. You’re all visiting the same country! Another one would be to talk about plans for the day/trade tips and advice of your experiences so far. Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, we share our love for hostels then. It’s amazing way to meet people so similar and still so different to ourselves. That’s good tip too. I almost always end up sharing tips for the current place we are both staying. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hah it’s true about the name thing! More often than not, the conversations I’ve had at hostels are so intriguing that we forget to even ask each other’s name!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good, it’s not only me! And sometimes I start wondering after that person has already left that what even was their name. But hey, why do we need names if we are talking about more important matters? Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Somehow, I always end up talking to my roommates in hostels, but not always do I end up being friends with them. I think only in two cases did I really make friends with people and we actually did something together like walking around the city or eating something together outside. Other than that, I have always talked to the people in my room in every hostel, except for one which was one in Shanghai :’D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well saying “friends” in this post is maybe wrong. I don’t of course make real friends with everyone I talk with but I am so shy that even one longer conversation with someone feels like a big win. You are lucky if you always end up talking with your roommates! I am almost jealous 😀 thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I find it difficult to make friends too, but one night in Bergen, one of the room mates brought a bottle of booze, and shared it round. We then ended up going out to all the bars in town.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha alcohol somehow makes us social! In some hostels going for bars all together is normal and that way making new friends is also easy. Thanks for commenting and I hope you will make a lot of travel friends in the future 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I find this hard too, but your tips are spot on. It’s so nice to get talking to new people, I wish I found it easier… Games can be a good way to make friends too, like card games or board games if the hostel has some. People are usually keen to join in, especially in smaller hostels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I totally forgot games! That’s true games are good ways to make new friends 🙂 It’s good to know for all of us that we are not the only ones who find talking for people in hostels hard… Well I hope it will get easier. Thanks for commenting

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