5 ways to make friends in Oslo

1. Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. When I moved here I didn’t know a single person in Norway. Everyone was a stranger and I had to talk to someone, so I did. I struck up a conversation with a woman who was with her 8-month-old son in the baby section at the grocery store and we’ve been friends since.

2. Get your teeth cleaned. I’m not saying I’m bum-buddies with my hygienist but when I asked around for a trustworthy dentist I got a great recommendation from someone I barely knew. She is now a dear friend that I share coffees and concert tickets with.

3. Make a Facebook blind date. I met a woman who is now my closest pal in Oslo through Facebook. There’s a page for international moms and I saw that my ethnic makeup and background was eerily similar with someone in the group, so we decided to meet. My husband was apprehensive about the setup, saying I could end up meeting a serial killer, but seeing as we chose a popular coffee-house to have a playdate with our toddlers, I wasn’t scared. I haven’t been serially killed yet but I do have a wonderful friend and confidant.

4. Network. You could play a game of “name that acronym” when you start looking into the various professional and social networking groups in Oslo. A few favorites:

      – Norwegian International Network (NIN)
      – American Women’s Club (AWC)
      – International Mother and Baby Group of Oslo (IMOBAGO)
      – Democrats/Republicans Abroad in Norway (DAN or RAN, depending on whether you’re an idiot or a fool)

5. Learn Norwegian. Sign-up for a course and everyone in the class will become an instant friend. Learning to pronounce Ø and U, with the nuance specific to Norwegian, is a team-building activity.

29 thoughts on “5 ways to make friends in Oslo

  1. These are great tips! I live abroad too (in Spain), and it’s tough at first when you hardly know anyone. I should do some more networking. And what a nice surprise to have a future friend show up instead of a serial killer. 🙂

  2. I went to a party in Oslo not knowing a soul and found myself surrounded by so many friendly people that I never had a moment of being a wallflower. Thankfully most everyone I met in Norway spoke english!

  3. i agree with you on every account!

    i have found most of my friends here strangely from my blog. and most of my friends are norwegian, not other expats! i get emails every single day from people living in norway that are either norwegian or from somewhere else and a lot of times people are interested in coffee or drinks. some of those transpire into a good friendship, and some are best left at the one coffee date 😉

    the good thing about being in oslo is that there is such an international community and everyone else out there is doing the same thing when it comes to making friends. bergen was so different in that respect…but perhaps that is why oslo suits me better!

    • I’m going to have to get tips on how to meet more Norwegians. I’ve made a few acquaintances through mom and baby things but nothing really stuck:( I’m determined though. Does Bergen have a smaller international community? I hear Stavanger has a big one, largely because of the oil business.

      • i think bergen’s international community is decent sized, but there are so many people there that are just miserable and it is very unpleasant to be around. many people whine and complain and even the forums on facebook are a drama fest. i had to remove myself from the expats there (with the exception of a few) very quickly.

        i have found that i dont really feel like an expat any longer (i think it took me 6 months of living in norway to feel this way) and when i hang out with expats, our conversations resort to things that are not the typical conversations id be having with friends at age 29. and sometimes…it can turn into a complaining session. i have just found myself to fit better w/ norwegians, which are actually much difficult to get to know, but somehow i make it work. i have also learned that being american helps me…people are fascinated by many things that are american and it is a conversation starter for many norwegians (because many have traveled or studied abroad there). as soon as a norwegian, who is rather reserved and cold at first, can find something in common with you…it plays much to their comfort level in continuing a conversation with you.

        i have found friends at my job, from my blog, through friends of friends, etc. it is nice to feel like i have friendships like i had back home here in norway. i do have a few expat friends here, but i stray far from many because of the complaining factor. negative attitudes are so contagious and i feel better just separating myself from it. 🙂

      • I agree with you about the complaining that expats do. I very quickly extract myself from those conversations/situations. There are some people that will be unhappy anywhere and everywhere, and some who just can’t manage to let go of the little things and just enjoy life. I’ll have to work on getting more local friends!

  4. cool ,,,, i like the topic but i’m still finding it hard to make new friends here
    So if i said I’m looking for friends since i’m new in the town what u guys will say 🙂

  5. Super post 🙂 but it does get more difficult to make friends if you are not staying in one of the bigger cities like for example Oslo or Stavanger anyway it is just the fourth week for me, so I think things will improve once I go to the language class. I totlaly agree with what Megan says I think it is always great to mingle with the local community but it is also a lot harder 🙂

    • It’s definitely harder to befriend locals but its worth the extra effort. Hopefully you’ll meet some interesting people in your language class, I imagine it must be a different experience settling into a smaller city. Best of luck!

    • I know of one called the International Mother and Baby Group of Oslo. Besides that there are these following organizations that probably have their own facebook groups: Norwegian International Network, InterNations.org Oslo, Association of International Professional and Business Women and International Club of Oslo. I hope this helps!

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