By Sarah Wengert
It can already be harder to make friends as an adult than it was back in the day on the playground — now multiply that by the fact that you’re in an all-new locale every 13 weeks and you have the travel nurse new friend dilemma. The good news is that many travelers actually report meeting lifelong friends while on assignment, so it’s well worth the effort. If you’ve ever faced this difficulty while on assignment, these tips for how to make friends while travel nursing are for you!
Even if you won’t be in town long, it’s good to get involved with a network aligned with your interests. Are you a dog fanatic? Find a local dog bar night or strike up a convo at the dog park. Into the healing arts? Try yoga in the park and chat up your neighbor. Online groups are also a goldmine for finding like-minded folks. Search your interest and your area on Facebook and you’ll likely find a niche group you can join for events and outings. Groups like The Gypsy Nurse on Facebook are a great forum to find other travelers in your area, too.
Don’t have too much of a preconceived idea about exactly whom you want to be friends with. When you’re open to befriending various types of people you will be pleasantly surprised about the gems you will find and befriend. It’s great to make friends with folks who share common interests, but you can also learn a ton and gain great perspective by associating with someone a little outside your regular zone!
Make sure to listen more than you speak when meeting potential friends and acquaintances. Look people in the eye, listen, and respond with thoughtful questions. Being a good listener shows respect and you’ll learn a lot about those around you.
Always be yourself — that’s who everyone truly wants to meet! You meet a lot of different groups and people on the road, but none among them wants to befriend a faker. Just be confident and authentic, and the right folks will be attracted to your sparkling personality!
At the end of the day, whether making friends on assignment is going well or not, you still need your tried and true pals. A good ol’ Facetime sesh with your BFF is a great way to relax, have a laugh, and reconnect with the fact that anyone would be lucky to be your pal!
I hope these tips help get your brain storming about how to make friends while travel nursing! Do you have any tried and true tips or resources that have helped you meet people and make friends while on assignment? Share your thoughts in the comments!