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Is Ireland hard to make friends in?

  • 15-03-2023 5:26pm
    Registered Users Posts: 119 ✭✭

    You hear all the time about how it's hard as a foreigner to make friends in Ireland even though the Irish are friendly. I personally don't really think it's true.

    While people's social circle tends to remain unchanged after secondary school/college, I think a lot of foreigners are put off by Irish drinking culture. Lets be honest, most socialization revolves around the bottle. Many of my foreign friends who don't make Irish friends really dislike alcohol and barely go to any social gatherings.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,317 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

    There you go. Last sentence. Alcohol doesn't need to be involved in a social gathering.

    So your mates aren't social?

  • Registered Users Posts: 347 ✭✭iniscealtra

    It’s easier to make friends in a city as more single people without attachments move there. In the countryside it takes time and effort to make connections as social networks are aiready well established.

  • Registered Users Posts: 267 ✭✭Dslatt

    Like there are plenty of writing groups, hill walking, sports groups to get to meet people. I know heaps of foreign people who dont drink, hell I know plenty of Irish who dont drink, I used to be one and I'd still head to the pub and watch music like

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,628 ✭✭✭✭yourdeadwright

    Depends on age really ,

    Once you hit your 30s with kids , marriage & so on it can be difficult to find time for new Friends , You'll be busy with home life & your own interests & its hard enough to make time for old friends , I reckon iv only made 1 new Friend in my 30's & im almost 40

    Loads of acquaintances & so on but only probably one real friend that was added to the larger group I'd have from my teenage years & 20's

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,768 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    I'm guessing you're Irish, OP?

    Making acquaintances is easy. But its almost impossible to make real friendships with Irish people: they simply don't have the time or energy for anyone they didn't grow up with.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 52 ✭✭DB83

    I agree. I've thought about this recently as I heard it discussed on the radio. I think there's a difference between being friendly and openness to being friends. Irish people can be very friendly on the face of it, but reluctant to grow their group of friends beyond those made in childhood / early adulthood. Having had it brought into my consciousness has definitely made me more aware of other people's circumstances and increased my openness to being more open to new friendships.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,928 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    They elected to go to a country where drinking alcohol and socialising with alcohol in pubs, clubs, homes, and other venues is quite reasonably prevalent, then complain about it ? Hmmm… there is a culture around socialising with alcohol, here and other places.. there is also cultures here that include socialising at dinners, lunches, at / after social occasions, the arts… cinema, live music events etc…

    Complaining just about alcohol be like someone going to Val d'Isere and bitching that people do not do much else apart from skiing.

    the Germans drink more alcohol per capita than ourselves but there is still lots to do there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,893 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    In any country, you're better off joining some sort of a group or club that you have a common interest with and take it from there, rather than trying to strike up conversations with randoms in a bar.

  • Registered Users Posts: 36 batyushki

    Coming from the US many years ago, our initial impression was that many Irish tend to stay closer to their home connections, e.g. living near or visiting home often, and for this reason their early connections remain intact, leaving less room for making friends with newcomers. Over time I've modified this view slightly as I've observed the high number of Irish people who move abroad, usually forever. But I still feel that due to the small size of the island those early life connections remain more important than, say, in a large country like the US where relocation is more common and distances make reconnecting more difficult. My partner and children have made friends almost exclusively with other immigrants that were also looking for new friends.

    That being said, I have made several Irish friends, but they seem to fall into edge cases: they either had lived away from Ireland for an extended period, which broke some of their connections, they are old enough that most of their friends are dead, or they didn't have many friends to start with.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,628 ✭✭✭✭yourdeadwright

    Just to add to my early point , another reason its hard to make real friends in Ireland is in a huge part down to the actual size of the country ,its so small natives are rarely living that far away far from there original friend groups made in there teens or 20's ,So any spare time they have after family & hobbies is used to hang out with the already existing friends ,

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,378 ✭✭✭brokenbad

    It can be difficult for an outsider to make new acquaintances if you don't (1) play GAA or (2) drink alcohol.

    Cliques are formed around these shared interests - particularly in rural communities.

    Outsiders tend to be viewed with suspicion if they do not partake in the above - just an observation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,549 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    I have very close & loved friends that aren't Irish and were never part of my life growing up. I mean proper friends that we holiday with, mind each others kids and help each other out in times of adversity. We all met through shared interests and business but the partners, wives, husbands & kids (some adults) have fell in to the friendships very naturally.

    Tomorrow night we've a gang of Irish, Polish, South African, Italians, Brazilian, English and Lithuanian like minded people in our house for some cracking Irish seafood & whatever surprises they bring.

    But I get where some of you are coming from. It all depends on the social circle, I was on a ski holiday a few years ago with a gang of Irish people that had grown up together in the midlands and even as an Irish person I felt they were a bit sneery and standoffish particularly when they had to much drink taken.

  • Registered Users Posts: 347 ✭✭iniscealtra

    People meet through shared interests. So if they’re interested in the GAA they will hang out with others interested in the GAA. Nothing wrong with that. Same for other interests. If people need to make friends it’s good to get involved in a group and socialise. In Ireland people tend to remain close to their roots due to the size of the country. People have family obligations that many immigrants don’t have to the same extent. This can be looked at in two ways. Immigrants or those not close to their families have more free time to do as they please or those with close family connections spend quality time with their family often. It’s something you often hear Irish emigrants speak about missing funerals, weddings etc. etc. whether that is a good or a bad thing depends on your perspective.

  • Registered Users Posts: 506 ✭✭✭JKerova1

    I've found in Ireland everything revolves around drink. If you don't drink or don't play GAA it can be very lonely, because there isn't really any other way to meet people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,549 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    That's your part of Ireland. Different elsewhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,692 ✭✭✭Wanderer2010

    There is a lot of truth in that. If you arent lucky enough to find a group to pal around with when you are in school then you can be left drifting for many years. So many people in Ireland tend to drink every single week with the same faces they sat next to in school.

    Having said that, there are more options now in Ireland when it comes to socializing than years ago. You have cycling, boxing and fitness clubs, archery, meditation etc. Not all people want to drink.

    Where this is most obvious is a typical Irish wedding: look at who the groom invites. In the majority of cases, its lads they play GAA with or faces going back to when they were 4 or 5. No new connections or new faces. Not saying thats good or bad but its definitely the case that a load of men would literally have no social life if they didnt play GAA.

  • Registered Users Posts: 506 ✭✭✭JKerova1

    I've lived in a few different parts of the country and it's the same everywhere. We just revolve around booze.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,473 ✭✭✭Hamachi

    That’s not a uniquely Irish phenomenon. After a certain age, most people aren’t interested in anything beyond acquaintances. It’s the same the world over.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,473 ✭✭✭Hamachi

    Good for you, expanding your horizons and opening yourself up to others. That’s commendable.

    However, I do feel you are the exception rather than the rule. Most Irish people make their lifelong friends in school, college, and at a stretch, their first jobs. This is pretty evident, even in Dublin.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,616 ✭✭✭maninasia

    Where I lived overseas its exactly the same. The older you are the harder it is to make friends, very generally speaking.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,042 ✭✭✭Mister Vain

    There are definitely more options now alright, especially with regards to fitness. I've found photography clubs to be great too. I wish I had those options when I was in my late teens/early 20's. There really was fúck all to do back then outside of binge drinking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,549 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    It's not the same everywhere, I promise you. There's a huge amount of Irish people who's lives don't revolve around booze and GAA. In my peer group there's a few GAA fans and we all drink, but it's more about the beach, park, mountains, food, weekends away & kids as I get older!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 10 GalaxyExplorer

    Yes it's hard. We may be outwardly social, but we are very insular and form early cliques.

  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭niallpatrick

    It depends on the locale or town, out in the coastal sticks locals tend to be less ignorant or more welcoming if you share a common interest without seeming needy. In town (Belfast) don't even bother saying hello, I think the witty quip I received back was 'way n fck yerself'

  • Registered Users Posts: 183 ✭✭babyducklings1

    Well it depends on the people of course. And also there is the fact that people are now busier than ever, work, kids etc. If you aren’t time poor you can make friends but more through hobbies than the pub I think. There is actually loads to do here, even people make friends through volunteering. Don’t see any barriers except in my own case being time poor. I meet new people all the time through work, my kids friends parents, a hobby I have, but having so many work and family commitments time is very stretched and the weekend is taking kids to their activities, shopping, house chores and getting ready for the next week. Anyone with time for making friends or pursuing new hobbies is already lucky even if they don’t know it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,378 ✭✭✭brokenbad

    Society has changed so much with the advent of Social Media in particular - take a look around your local coffee shop/ pub/ workplace canteen - everyone has their heads buried in their smartphones. Nobody wants to have a face to face conversation anymore unless its absolutely necessary. People don't communicate verbally as much as they did pre social media - its all done via messaging apps now. Throw the pandemic into the mix and people got used to not having to interact with other people outside of their own network for 2 years.....anyone trying to engage with others for genuine friendship are treated with suspicion unless the have shared interests.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,441 ✭✭✭✭murpho999

    This thing about it only revolving around drink is simply not true.

    Take up a hobby and join a club and you'll make friends.

    I lived abroad too in the Netherlands and found it very difficult to make Dutch friends. Before people say it, I learnt the language to a fluent level but when people hit their thirties careers, relationships and kids become a dominant factor in people's life and they already have their social circle and not looking fr expansion and don't have time for it either.

    Truth is that making good friends with people is actually quiet difficult no matter where you are.

    Also, often if you're an emigrant anywhere then the cultural differences are larger than people realise and make it even more difficult.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,189 ✭✭✭✭looksee

    My experience has been that Irish people are very friendly, chatty and sociable at a superficial level, but very self-contained about allowing others into their homes and being pro-active about maintaining any sort of contact. So long as the contact is at the club or pub its fine, great chat, but don't come any closer. All the people I know where I could knock at their door and be sure of a welcome and a chat are not Irish - people who have lived here all their adult lives in most cases, like myself.

    I suspect the same happens in other countries, people who are of the nationality of the country have a framework of relationships set up and don't need any more. People who have come in don't have that essential background from school or college, where I think most most lifelong friendships are made. People who have lived abroad and come 'home' have become accustomed to the idea that there are other societies than their own and are more accepting of 'foreigners', many people who have never stirred outside their own town tend to be suspicious of anything different. I think this has always been the way, in any country.