There’s a well-known worldwide stereotype regarding Canadians: they’re one of the nicest people on Earth. However, niceness does not mean friendliness. Niceness is about saying hello when you come into the elevator or a quick thanks to your driver as you leave the bus to name two quick examples. Being friendly is more than just treating others with respect. It’s about caring for other people, treating them in a way because you care about their well-being and isn’t limited to the people you know.
Vancouverites might seem unfriendly because they are always in a race to get ahead: the stress of their daily lives, and the expensive cost of living in this city can make the people more cold than rude.
We noticed, from the first day we moved here, that people would just rather go about their business uninterrupted. Most of them are not fans of small talk and long chats. Unfortunately, people will almost always feel like strangers only want something from them if they’re being talked to.
On the other hand, you can rest assured that if someone needs help or wants to ask for directions, everyone will be more than happy to help out. If you hold the elevator door for someone, and if you’re helping someone carry a heavy load for example, they’ll always thank you and be grateful for your help. However, don’t expect them to suddenly act warm with you for no reason or for those interactions to always lead to long-lasting friendships.
The Stress of Living
The stress of living in a city is generally the reason why the residents are considered some of the unhappiest in Canada. Living in pricey housing markets, constantly worrying about bills and rent, facing longer commutes, and higher population densities all add to the daily struggles people living in the city have to face.
We’ve discovered first-hand how pricey the city is. Although there’s a high standard of living here, the major living expenses such has rent and food are through the roof compared to other Canadian cities. Some people have to work two jobs to make ends meet, add to that having a family and kids to feed.
People Stick To Their Groups
Due to the stress and the rushing around, people stick to their network of friends and connections that they already know. Some, call Vancouver a town disguised as a city. If you think about it, we agree with the fact that people who live in towns usually stick to their own groups and are protective of their communities. Specifically in Vancouver, the transition from a small city where people would watch your back and families genuinely knew each other, to a “metropolis” in just a few years might have caused some confusion to those who had long lasting roots here. They probably did not know how to react to such a huge number of newcomers in such a short period of time.
On the other hand, due to the high cost of rent within the city, a lot of people live outside the city center and commute to work, to shop and do other activities. And so, the city might seem a bit superficial; and is somewhat corporate looking with high rises being built all around.
People here value the healthy and fit lifestyle, attend to their daily runs before and after work, their 2-hour sunrise gym sessions and fill their schedules with activities all year round. They are used to going running, walking, skiing, jogging, and other sports which are more naturally geared towards independence. This shows that the residents of Vancouver are quite reserved but it still doesn’t mean they’re unfriendly.
Outdoorsy cities are naturally geared towards a more independent lifestyle but it’s not that Vancouverites are unfriendly. They simply have a type of lifestyle that doesn’t lend itself to meeting or wanting to meet a lot of other people.
But there is a way to “unlock” some of the friendliness the city residents might hide within themselves.
How To Make Friends In Vancouver?
As newcomers into the city, we have found that the best thing to do is to find social groups and activities that interest you and then become a regular at them. You can find groups based on your religious affiliation, sports teams, spoken languages or even work and career related. To get started, all you have to do is check out and join the available online platforms. You can start by finding and joining groups on meetup.com, Facebook or using Eventbrite to find specific events. There’s something for everyone!
For example, if you are into cycling, running, or hiking groups, you will definitely have the opportunity to meet people who have similar interests or with something in common from the get go. This makes it easier for you to find common ground on issues and strike up interesting conversations. Over time, this will help build relationships with these groups and build your network of friends. People here look out for others who look and act the part of someone from their tribe. Once you’re part of these groups, then they are happy to socialize with you.
Tips On Making Friends
Making friends is a mental game. You have to be in the mood to mingle and socialize. Have a good posture and a confident body language as that helps a lot in how you’re perceived and the way you take space (slouching people give out a “don’t talk to me” vibe). Hold your head high, look around the room: it gives off an energy that says you’re there to have a good time. Don’t forget that everyone around you may be having the same issue!
We know, it’s awkward putting yourself out there. But someone has to be the one who suggests grabbing a coffee or having a beer after work! During a conversation with someone you think may end up being a good friend or someone you’d like to hang out with, see if you can find some talks of shared interests or any intriguing information. This will give you a chance to make a suggestion for another meeting. Be the one that initiates and don’t take a decline personally, it may take a few attempts with different people to find someone with whom you will click!
Another easy way to start building friendly connections is to consider somebody you work with or you see every day at the gym. If there’s somebody you think you like and have things in common with, ask if they want to do something based on a shared interest. Getting into it might feel like a lot of work at first, but things will get much smoother and easier with practice.
If All Else Fails
As a last resort, you might want to consider the help of our furry friends.
Dogs are man’s best friend, and people who have dogs find that it is a nice way to strike up casual conversations in the dog park. That’s why, we recommend this as an additional idea. Man’s best friend will be your instant common point and a great and friendly way to start with some small talk or a simple form of interaction. The dogs will make a new friend and so might you!
In the end, Vancouverites might not be the friendliest at first sight or for someone who’s just moved into the city. But if you share a hobby or a passion for something together, it’s easier to break the ice and that might reveal their friendly side and build a connection that might just transform them into a lively and very friendly people.