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 

Ups and Downs of Hostel Worker

Hello there! I was going to write this article from tent in the middle of forest (with 17 000 other people) but then my unlucky nature took over. I was on summer camp (that will have its own short post later on) but of course I got sick after the first day. So no more camping for me but rather sleeping and super long Netflix marathon…

But now lets go back to today’s topic and the working in hostels subject. If you haven’t yet, go and read the GOOD and the BAD hostel volunteering memories I shared with you earlier this week. And to clear you more about my own hostel experience:

I worked/volunteered almost two months as housekeeper in small Kyoto based hostel. Before that I had volunteered in another hostel in Tokyo but left after my first week because the place was hell. On both times I lived in the hostels and met a lot of amazing people.

So I have perfect and terrible experience as hostel worker. That’s why I wanted to share with you the pros and cons of hostel volunteering I encountered. Despite all the bad points the goods make up for them and in my opinion everyone should try it at least once in their life.

 

The Bad Points:

  • Being on full time work mode. If you live and work in the same hostel, you are always on work mode. Something is dirty and you will clean it. Someone looks lost so you will help them. You will always have your customer service smile on.
  • Being “conned” to work more than promised before hand. If you are not careful and write contract, there is danger of getting used. This happened to me on my first work place. They promised 3 hours of work but I had to stay in the hostel almost 24 hours to wait for people to come and check-in. So be careful out there.
  • Feeling lonely. If you are traveling solo and only volunteer/long time stayer in your hostel, this may become problem. At day time you have your co-workers and other times there are the quests. However when everyone only stays for short times and no one seems to getwhat you are doing, there si no one to talk about your problems.
  • Sharing the room with bunch of strangers. There is a big probability you will sleep in dorm room. Sometimes it’s nice and way to get better picture of your new friends. Usually it gets annoying quickly.  Snoring people, couples having sex, someone packing at night and lights going on at stupid hours. Lets not even talk about trying to be considering and finding your own bed in the darkness.

 

The Good Points:

  • All the amazing people you meet. Every day new people come and go. There is no way you won’t meet new person every evening.
  • All the interesting stories you hear. Living and sharing the place with always changing travelers grants you an unlimited amount of crazy travel stories.
  • Never being alone. Yes, I know one bad point was being lonely BUT you are never alone when staying in hostel. You may feel like there is no people left in this world however that feeling won’t last a long when you hear someone shouting on the corridor or the man in neighboring bed starts snoring. There is always someone near you and for me it was assuring.
  • Learning new languages and skills. Meeting people around the world is useful. More than once someone wanted to teach me their language. And of course you will learn the language that is major in your work place. For me Thai family taught how to make food and German man told me hiking tips for pilgrims. 
  • You will get inspired and bitten by multiple travel bugs. Hearing about unforgettable travel destinations from people who have first hand experience is lethal. There is (at least for me) no way back to your normal life. Your bucketlist will grow and the travel passion get out of hand.
  • Work experience. When you are seeking for real job in the future, volunteering in exotic country will draw attention. You willeem like someone having life experience and depending on the job you are trying to get you have learned womething fitting from your volunteer. It gives you experience of custom service and making the customers happy. Working hard and in team. Coming to quick learner and proving your skills in surviving any work enviroment. You can basically get anything out of your volunteering time if you are good enough at writing the CV.
  • Being the one others admire. I talked about this in my first hostel volunteering memory. When you tell someone staying in the hostel that “yes I just happen to work and live here” they will right away look you differently. Usually your confession will follow a lot of questions from them or just plain comment how they would love to do what you are doing.

 

Have you ever worked or volunteered in hostel? Or would you like to try? I would love to hear more about your stories and experiences about this subject. So don’t be shy and comment below!

I will post again soon so see you then!

With love,

Viivi Severina