A vital component of becoming integrated into your new lifestyle in Mexico is to seek out and connect with local people, community groups, and others with similar interests to you.
You’ll be able to find community and social groups to engage with in most Mexican towns and cities where foreigners live in any significant numbers in Mexico; and even in emerging towns and locations off the beaten path, foreign residents tend to find meeting points and gathering places that can include certain local cafés or bistros, or social gatherings organized homes of people already well-established locally.
This article explores common routes and approaches that foreign residents use to discover and cultivate new connections and friendships as part of their lifestyle in Mexico.
Key routes to cultivating social circles in Mexico
You’ll need to make a conscious effort to find and cultivate new social connections in Mexico, and there are various avenues you might explore do this; here are some examples:
If you’ve come to Mexico as part of a work placement, the company you work for might provide a list of existing local social and community groups; larger companies tend to organize ‘away days’ or ‘team building events’ where the employees and their families can meet in a social setting and get to know each other—these connections can lead to other activities, new acquaintances, and potential new friends.
Sports and hobbies
If you play sports and/or have specific hobbies or interests that you pursue, you can search for and find sports teams that you can ask to play on, as well as clubs and societies you can apply to join. Joining a local golf club or the local gym also offers an opportunity to get involved locally and meet others; if you play an instrument, you may find a local band or orchestra to play in.
Walking your dog
If you have a dog, taking it on frequent walks in the local neighborhood or park is a good way of meeting your neighbors and meeting other dog owners. Parks in large towns and cities have ‘dog play areas’ these days which also create a meeting point for humans watching over them. As younger generations use these parks to walk their dogs, they provide an opportunity for older generations to invest in cultivating friendships with younger people.
Hosting parties and events
Hosting a party at your home for your new friends and immediate neighbors helps you get to know them if you’ve recently moved in—as well as to develop friendship and sharing in the longer term. These types of events also carry the potential to present serendipitous opportunities and make new connections locally, especially if your guests are encouraged to bring other people you don’t yet know.
Churches and spiritual centers
If you attend a local church or spiritual center, you will be able to meet new people of faith and through those meetings have an opportunity to make and cultivate new friendships.
Meeting other parents
If you have school-age children, your local school is natural focal point for you to meet other parents, and through school meetings and other events (for example, school camping trips are popular here) there’s an opportunity to find and cultivate new acquaintances and friendships this way.
If you don’t have children, or are retired, there are other ways of finding and joining local groups, and a search online using social media channels, as well as notices on boards posted at popular local stores, cafés, and restaurants may connect you with new people and groups who, in turn, will connect you with others. In time, you’ll become part of the connections chain that introduces future new residents to your community.
Volunteering and community work
Volunteering is a way to give back to your local community and an ideal opportunity for making new friends. Search locally for existing initiatives that might be operating; or consider starting a new initiative of your own.
Some people who are retired and who discover that they have spare time and patient capital in their lives decide to embark on a project to create a small enterprise.
Some might work for a local company to share their life’s knowledge and expertise, others might start a small business of their own—for example, they might open a local shop, or start a local business. They might partner with a Mexican associate to achieve this.
Engaging with these types of self-employment can connect you to new people and opportunities you might not otherwise meet through social groups alone, and the investment you make can create new value for your local community.
Local anchors as connectors
Things come from things. And new connections can emerge from existing connections. An excellent way to begin to develop a circle of new friends is to encourage your existing contacts to introduce you to new people they know locally.
Another anchor you might consider is the realty agent (if you used one) to buy your home in Mexico. That person might be an excellent anchor for helping you to make your first connections when you first move to Mexico, including practical connections like local service suppliers you need as you settle-in.
The good agents will know about the local community groups, may introduce you to some local people they know, and could also help you find domestic helpers like housekeepers and gardeners. These personal introductions can serve as key anchors that enable you to develop your new social networks when you move to Mexico.
Some foreign residents go further and make and concerted effort to integrate with groups and communities beyond those organized by other foreign residents. Local churches, local community groups and associations, and local neighborhood associations are good places to do this. Getting involved locally is also a positive way to develop your Spanish language skills.
Further research and resources
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- Articles about lifestyle planning in Mexico
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- Adapting and settling-in to your lifestyle in Mexico
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- Principal routes to legal residency in Mexico
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