Making friends in Melbourne
July 25, 2010 7:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm an American guy in my mid-late twenties living in Melbourne, Australia for (at least) the next eight months. My social life was quite exciting when I first moved here during late summer, but lately it feels a bit stagnant at times. I'm looking for ideas of activities to get involved with, to make use of my free time and help me connect with new people (friends of both sexes, plus THE LADIES).

There are quite a few AskMe posts about meeting people in general, but I was hoping that some people could give advice unique to Melbourne, or dealing with living internationally.

Background:

My current social circle consists of a few Americans I met randomly while over here, a few local drinking buddies, and my four local housemates here in Fitzroy. Lovely people, but it would be great to make some more Australian friends through common interests and shared activities.

I go out a lot to pubs/clubs/etc, and MEETING random people is easy, it just doesn't usually lead to much -- for instance I go on a lot of first dates, don't feel much of a connection, and usually don't feel like arranging second dates. I have met a few good folks through random chance at the pubs, but it doesn't seem like a sustainable method for building a friend base. Or perhaps I'm just going to the wrong places.

My accent is the probably biggest double edge sword for me in social situations: I can walk up to a group of people and say almost anything, and someone in the group will say "WAIIIIT, where are you from?". Next comes a conversation about the differences between Melbourne and Los Angeles, and whether I like it here. If I change the subject to something more interesting for me, it'll often be interrupted by a question about how many celebrities I've seen in LA, or if I've been to any of the places shown on Entourage. The more I travel, the more this seems to be the global conversational response to "I've been drinking and someone from Los Angeles is talking to me!"

Things felt better back when the weather was warmer, but maybe that's just in my head. At least it should be warming up in the next few months!

Some more factoids:

I work as a freelance software consultant, and I do a lot of working from home, cafes, etc. I occasionally go into offices to meet with clients, but it's mainly business, and I'm never around long enough to make work buddies. One plus: my schedule is highly flexible during the week, which makes it easy to fit random weekday activities into my life.

I'm heavily involved with improvised comedy, and take classes a few nights a week. The improv stuff I know from Los Angeles isn't taught here, so I'm in the process of starting up my own improv workshop to share it with the locals. This is the most promising thing I have going on, but the people I'm meeting are much older/younger.

I love the local live indie music scene. I'm usually at a gig or two every week. I play guitar, but don't have one here.

I've joined a few interest groups on Meetup.com but haven't been to any events yet.

I'm into running and weight-lifting but I've never played an organized sport, although I'm not against the idea.

I love smart, passionate, artistic people who do interesting things with their lives. And cute hipster girls.
posted by adamk to Human Relations (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
dude.

fitzroy-dwelling ruby-developing beer-drinking music fan right here.

the melbourne ruby community (www.rubyonrails.com.au) is a great starting-point to meet some new folk; there's also a few regular congregations of passionate creative types around the place:

http://socialmediaclubmelbourne.com could be worth checking out - it usually draws an interesting crowd of folk. also connected with that is the social melbourne coffee meetup - http://socialmelb.com/

alternatively, send me a message / hit me up on chat and pick my brains.
posted by cheaily at 8:26 PM on July 25, 2010


You might find some ideas in this question of mine, although it's more oriented towards "fun things you can do alone or once you already know people" as opposed to getting to know them in the first place.

Having said that, Melburnites tend to be very friendly & inclusive, so they could also double as places to meet people - eg Late Nights at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), with performances & a bar could be an OK place to meet a cute hipster girl.

ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) right next door could be another option.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:06 PM on July 25, 2010


Melbourne in winter is, for me and my friends anyway, always pretty low key. It's too damn cold to be in my own house, let alone leave it. I had a drink with some friends the other night and no one has done anything except hibernate for months now. It will start to pick up very quickly once we have more days like today though.

That said, you're more than welcome to email me and maybe we could go for a drink. I'm very attached, but have an awesome group of smart, outgoing and funny friends who like meeting new people. There is even a couple of Americans in there so we are much less likely to ask you stupid questions.
posted by Wantok at 9:30 PM on July 25, 2010


I moved to Melbourne from Boston earlier this year. I joined a soccer team and made a bunch of friends that way. There are tons of indoor soccer (sometimes called futsal) leagues, many of which are co-ed and more social than competitive so they can be beginner friendly. You could look for a running club as well. I find that these types of activities facilitate making actual friends more so than chatting up folks at a gig or whatnot, because you will see the same people over and over again.
posted by emd3737 at 4:29 AM on July 26, 2010


It's really cold right now. I don't think it's in your head that the social scene was better when it was warmer. I don't go out half as much as I do in the summer months.

I also second the idea of joining club-type-organised-thingy groups. I've always wanted to join a book club so if you find a good one, let me know!

I generally make friends through other friends, so maybe you should push your housemates to have some house parties or gatherings along those lines.

The other alternative is setting up a Metafilter meeting. There's a good bunch of Melbourne people on MeFi that seem smart and funny and whatnot.
posted by liquorice at 6:42 AM on July 26, 2010


As a Melburnian - my first two suggestions would be these:

Join a sports club - as you've probably noticed, we here in Melbourne are sports-obsessed. In winter it is football of all sorts and codes, as well as netball.

There are plenty of indoor indoor cricket, mixed netball, basketball and other sportingclubs and teams you could join. You could even take a shot at learning to play Aussie Rules!!!

The second thing is, as you have been doing, get out to the local bar/club/venue scene in and inner-Melbourne. I reckon Melbourne, whilst cold in winter, really has some wonderful life during this time - lots of good places to go to, to stay warm, to catch up with people for an ale or a damn fine coffee.

(Hmm, football and coffee, very Melbourne)

It sounds really basic, but a good Google search for groups in your interest area and geogaphi area should find something. Also look at the places you hang out in an around Fitzroy, as well as other inner-suburban areas - there's usually all manner of posters, notices and other things advertising events, happenings and get-togethers.
posted by chris88 at 7:44 PM on July 26, 2010


Thanks for the advice. I'll look into some of these ideas. I guess I'll just have to try extra hard during winter.

Sports may be a good option, there's a Crossfit gym near my house that seems to have a decent community based around the daily classes.

Definitely looking forward to warmer weather... we have a nice big yard and have been waiting to have our first house party.
posted by adamk at 2:17 AM on July 27, 2010


Melbourne is all about entertainment and food. You couldn't have landed in a better city if you're into theatre, music or comedy. And food.

That said, in the cooler cities we Aussies do tend to hole up for the winter a bit and do more socialising at home than out and about. So start inviting people over for dinner, games nights, dribbling bullshit about politics until dawn...
posted by Lolie at 3:42 PM on July 27, 2010


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